Here we go, creationists trying to weasel their way into the classroom yet again. So, this one kinda slid in under the radar on us. It has been widely discussed since it's passing on some other websites I am subscribed to, and felt it my duty as a free thinking TN resident, to put it out there, so the rest of us here in TN can get good and fired up, and maybe start sending emails and making a little noise. So maybe TN can get embarrassed into submission the way the gov of Alabama did. Here is a link to the bill
After reading it, I felt like it left a nice sized gap for the go ahead of creationism and the arguments against evolution, (even though they are not based on any real Science that has been recognized in or by actual field experts). It's a slippery slope folks, and I'm really tired of the dumbing down religion has cost this country. I refuse to let this ignorance touch my child. This state already has issues with it's educational capabilities. There were several folks who spoke up against this bill. I will link here to what I know.
Go to HB 0368 on the playlist on the left side of screen and click...you will see Molly Miller of Vanderbilt University addressing the senate:
Email her to let her know she did an awesome job. We gotta let these people know we have their backs!! Rep DeBerry of Memphis completely shows his ass and goes off on a diatribe attacking intellectuals and people with "prefixes or suffixes attached to their names" Send Molly some love. She's fighting the good fight. Email her :) I did and she responded, very thankful to hear people on her side!
I feel it would be worth while to point out to Rep. John DeBerry why what he said is such a dis-service to the TN educational system. I know I took great pleasure in penning this jack wagon an email explaining to him the difference between Scientific theory and Mythology. His email address below and PLEASE, let your voice be heard!!!
Other people who advised against this bill:
Wesley Roberts - Professor of Biology/Astronomy - Hume Foggwesley.firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Kramer Professor of Anthropology - University of Tennessee Knoxvilleakramer@utk.edu
Gary F. McCracken - Department Head of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology - University of Tennessee Knoxville
This is our back yard guys....we have a voice, but only if we make it be heard.
If anyone else has something good to add to what we can do, PLEASE POST IT!!!
Okay, I'm not a Tennessean, but I have about as much patience with this Creation Science / Intelligent Design BS as you do. ANYTIME anyone wants to assert that ID should stand on even terms with the theory of evolution, remind them of what happened in Dover, PA back in 2005.
You might also mention the coverage the trial got by the excellent PBS series, NOVA.
Best wishes from the Buckeye State!
A lot of teachers don't understand evolution well, and many are afraid to teach it. Many more in the South are as brainwashed as these fools in Tennessee. Anyway, following is the email I sent to Rep. Berry a few minutes ago.
Dear Rep. Berry,
After watching your response to Molly Miller of Vanderbilt, I realized that someone should try to fill in some gaps in your education.
You suggested that if the theory of evolution were disproved, that would leave only Biblical creationism to explain the origin of the earth. Fact: the theory of evolution has nothing to do with the creation of the earth. It does not even address the origins of life. It explains how life became so diverse once life was present. We don't yet know how life originated, but that is a separate branch of science called "abiogenesis." In the 1950's scientists were able to create organic compounds capable of self-replication in a laboratory starting with inorganic materials. It is possible for non-life to become life without resorting to a supernatural explanation. By the way, gravity is a theory. We know gravity exists and that it holds the universe together, but we still don't know exactly what it is.
You said that evolution, unlike the "exact" science of physics that addresses atomic structure, is a "theory." In ordinary everyday speech, we often use the word "theory" to describe any kind of untested guess. Scientists use the word differently. A theory is an idea that works, i.e., it explains all the observed data, passes all the tests scientists put it through, and accurately predicts future results. The theory of evolution does just that. It explains why there are so many diverse species, and it is supported by mountains of data from many branches of science. One test it has passed recently involves DNA sequencing. Biologists can observe the DNA of different species and see exactly how they are related. For example, we can see that chimpanzees have 48 chromosomes, while humans have 46, or 23 pairs. We have one pair fewer because two chromosomes common to all the great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and orangutangs) have, in our DNA, become fused. Biologists can see exactly where the fusion occurred. On each end of a chromosome is a cell called a telomere. In the middle of our chromosome 2, instead of seeing a centromere, the type of cell normally found in the middle of a chromosome, we see two telomeres side by side. Two chromosomes have obviously fused. As for predictions, agronomists use the theory of evolution in developing new strains of food; the CDC uses it to predict what type of flu virus we might expect next year.
You suggested that evolution is a flawed theory. It is in no way flawed. Science doesn't know everything yet, and scientists sometimes get things wrong, but because scientists are constantly examining each others' work, errors get corrected. Shoddy research will be found out, though it might take a while. If you or I make a mistake in math, do we conclude that algebra is flawed?
Nearly all scientists accept the theory of evolution. There are a handful who don't, but there are more scientists in the US named Steve than there are scientists who believe intelligent design. The anti-evolution scientists are evangelical Christians or people in the employ of evangelical organizations. They do no research on "intelligent design"; all they do is try--and fail--to disprove evolution, but like you, they are laboring under the misapprehension that disproving evolution would prove creationism. That idea is a false dilemma set up by the Christian right. The "scientific controversy" doesn't exist, but has been manufactured by the religious right in order to influence public opinion.
Evolution works like this: DNA copies itself into the offspring of every species, from mother and father to offspring, but it seldom replicates itself perfectly. Random mutations occur. Most of them have little effect, but some confer an evolutionary advantage to the young. Imagine a hawk with sharper eyesight than other hawks. It has a better chance of surviving long enough to mate and pass its "sharp eyesight" gene to its young, who then pass it to others. After a few dozen generations, the only hawks left will be those with better eyesight. A mutation that weakens a hawk's eyes would pass away after a few generations. The selection in "natural selection" is made blindly be nature. An organism better suited to its environment has a better chance of surviving and passing its superior genes to its young, and if this process continues for millions of years, tiny changes accumulate and make extraordinary changes in species. Anything is possible.
Here is an example that might interest you. Sickle cell anemia is caused by cells in the shape of a sickle. These cells block malarial cells, so sickle cell anemia evolved as a defense against malaria. Malaria kills people of all ages, so susceptibility to the disease is an evolutionary disadvantage. Sickle cell victims often survive into adulthood and reproduce and pass along a terrible disease, but one which is an evolutionary advantage because it fights malaria. Nature works blindly, without a plan.
You seemed quite angry over people with "prefixes and suffixes" treating you like an idiot. Ms. Miller did nothing of the sort. Besides, you are on the educational committee, and those prefixes and suffixes are the result of long years of study and research in the world's best network of universities. I don't know how anyone can work to improve education, but distrust educated people. Science is not democratic; your opinion does not carry the same weight as the opinion of a professional biologist, nor does mine, but I have read a couple of dozen books on evolution to educate myself on the subject before forming an opinion.
Finally, do you really want creationism in the schools, where it will be subjected to the rigors of scientific method? There is no evidence for it outside of religious books, and these are not science texts. Actually, creationism was the dominant belief in the days before Darwin, along with Young Earth hypothesis (it's not a theory because it doesn't work) championed by Bishop James Ussher, an Anglican who used internal Biblical evidence to determine that the earth was created only 6,000 years ago. Darwin and countless others already have subjected creationism to the rigors of scientific method, and they have rejected it because it is not in any way scientific, which is why it is never found in science books and why it has no place in science classrooms. It is not a "competing theory"; it is a religious belief taken from a book written by a collection of primitive people who thought that the stars were "tiny lights" stuck on the inside of a solid dome called "sky." The belief that stars are very small can also be found in Revelation, in which the narrator walks past a fallen star, so even in the first or second century AD, followers of Christ believed that stars were tiny lights . There is no star so small that it wouldn't pulverize the earth even before reaching it, just from the heat. How can you believe the ancient Hebrews were so wrong about that but right about everything else?
Craig A. Milliman, Ph.D. (I apologize for working my butt off during six years of graduate school, and for continuing to study and learn for the past 23 years since receiving my three graduate degrees.
THAT WAS......AWESOME!!!! Craig, you kinda rock my world ;)~
I wonder what he would say to you....since it's obvious that there is no way he would ever even entertain actually trying to understand the very thing he's speaking out against. Probably just insult the letters after your name too. What kills me, is he mislabels intelligence as arrogance, and then exhibits an astounding arrogant ignorance in his brutal diatribe against Ms Miller. (For people smart enough to get it, it's really quite funny to watch, because this jack wagon isn't even sharp enough to understand how ignorant he has just made himself out to be......typical!) I'm hoping your email at least makes him realize how little he really knows or understands about SCIENCE. Yeah this email rocks my world!!! THANKS FOR SHARING :)
Toward this end, teachers shall be permitted to help students
understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths
and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being
Yeah, "strengths and weaknesses." That's boilerplate Discovery Institute language. You should find someone with kids in the public school system to bring this one to court.
This if from the Chattanooga Times Free Press, April 8, 2011:
Biological evolution not ‘controversial’
We feel compelled to respond to the front-page article (March 31) regarding a pending bill in the Legislature, HB 368 and SB 893, to allow teachers to discuss scientific controversies in the classroom. We understand that the bill is not solely focused on the Theory of Evolution; however, biological evolution is singled out as one of the scientific subjects that "can cause controversy."
Dealing with scientific controversies should be part of any science course, but let us be clear on this point — biological evolution is not controversial in any sense within the scientific community. Unfortunately, creationists have used the idea of teaching legitimate scientific controversies as cover to inject their brand of religious thinking into science classrooms, and to undermine the teaching of biological evolution as a scientific theory.
The preponderance of scientific evidence supporting the Theory of Evolution is astounding. Every major scientific professional society (e.g., American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Science, etc.) has endorsed the Theory of Evolution as the best scientific interpretation for the development and diversification of life on Earth.
It has been scientifically tested over and over again, supported every time, for over 150 years. Even the Roman Catholic Church, since its 1950 publication of the encyclical Humani Generis, has concluded that the Theory of Evolution is not in conflict with Christian doctrine.
Additionally the bill also prevents prohibiting teachers of Tennessee from "helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories ...".
Criticism of scientific theories, particularly evolutionary theory, is part of a long tradition of creationist/intelligent design proponents who think that by attacking evolution they are lending support for their own non-scientific ideas. Science, however, does not operate by testing a single theory to death but by comparing alternative theories and provisionally accepting the one that has the stronger evidence.
At a time when science and math education all over the United States is failing to provide students with the necessary tools to be competitive in an increasingly global workforce, students in Tennessee would be further disadvantaged if this proposed legislation were to pass.
We feel that this proposed legislation should be defeated, or at least rewritten to focus on real scientific controversies. Done properly, this might help more Tennesseans understand why creationism and intelligent design are not scientific subjects.
SIGNED: Henry G. Spratt, Jr., Ph.D.; Tim J. Gaudin, Ph.D.; Charles Nelson, Ph.D.; Professor Linda T. Collins; Sean Richards, Ph.D.; Jennifer Boyd, Ph.D.; Helen McDearman, Lecturer; Hill Craddock, Ph.D.; Stylianos Chatzimanolis, Ph.D.; David Abotn, Ph.D.; Callie Montgomery, Lecturer; Mark Schorr, Ph.D.; Ethan Carver, Ph.D.; Joey Shaw, Ph.D.; Margaret Kovach, Ph.D.; John Kimmons, Lecturer; Ms. Carol Kimmons, Lecturer.
All the signees are faculty in UTC’s Biological and Environmental Science department.
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