Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

How the science teachers lobby misrepresents intelligent design

From Evolution News.

Excerpt:

Science Teachers Association (NSTA), which stands alongside the rest of the Darwin lobby in holding that neo-Darwinian evolution should be taught in a one-sided, pro-evolution-only fashion.

[...]But the Darwin lobby is smart. While it is trying to ban and censor the views of its opponents, the Darwin lobby has a particular narrative which tries to paint its opponents as the censors and the extremists. The narrative goes something like this (my paraphrase): ‘Dark forces of intelligent design and creationism are seeking to ban evolution from public schools and then force their religious beliefs into the science classroom. We must stand against censorship and religious agendas, so we must fight their agenda at any cost. Stand with us, the guardians of freedom of thought and the First Amendment.’

[...]The article goes on to cover recent debates in Texas over teaching evolution. The reality, of course, is that NO leading Darwin-critics in Texas sought try to censor evolution. Evolution is still a required part of the curriculum in Texas, and the new TEKS that continue to teach evolution were eagerly adopted by the Texas State Board of Education members who were skeptics of neo-Darwinian evolution.

McKee’s strategy is thus one of the oldest in the books: deflect away from the fact that she herself advocates an extreme position by painting her opponents as extremists.

The reality is that leading groups that doubt neo-Darwinian evolution (like Discovery Institute) strongly oppose any attempts to ban evolution or remove it from the curriculum in schools. We also oppose teaching creationism in the science classroom because it’s a religious viewpoint. As for ID, we feel it’s science and constitutional to teach, but we want the debate over ID to be a scientific one and not a political one, so we oppose attempts to push ID into public schools. Instead, we think that public schools should simply teach the scientific evidence both for and against neo-Darwinian evolution.

So where does that leave us? Leading Darwin-critics aren’t seeking to introduce creationism or ID into public schools, and they would vehemently oppose attempts to ban evolution. Rather, they seek to increase coverage of evolution by teaching both the evidence for and against neo-Darwinism.

The Darwin lobby wants only the pro-Darwin-only viewpoint taught. They want to censor any science that challenges neo-Darwinian evolution.

The whole article is good to read, and especially this picture that summarizes their view and my view.

It’s important to understand that conservative pro-ID people like me are not trying to get rid of evolution. We want it taught as the best available theory that naturalists can invent after their faith commitment that the universe is eternal and matter is all that there is. And then we want the scientific evidence against evolution taught. That’s it. Period. Teach the controversy. Don’t distort the evidence to fit the pre-supposition of naturalism. Teach the evidence that the universe had a beginning, and that life exhibits characteristics of information. If nature is hostile to naturalism, then so much the worse for naturalists. Leave religion (naturalism) out of the classroom, and go where the evidence leads.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Several states considering bills to promote academic freedom

From Evolution News.

Excerpt:

Across the country legislation is moving forward that will protect teachers and students who want the freedom to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of modern evolutionary theory.

[...]To help combat the dogmatism that presently pervades evolution-education, Discovery Institute supports legislation that protects academic freedom for teachers who would dare to challenge Darwin in the classroom. There are presently academic freedom bills in Oklahoma, Tennessee, New Mexico, Kentucky, and Missouri.

As is expected, misinformation is already being spread about the bills. Yesterday I was informed that Oklahoma evolutionists are continuing to spread the myth that Louisiana’s Academic Freedom Law was declared unconstitutional. The truth is that the law hasn’t even been challenged in court. As I discuss here, ACLU Executive Director Marjorie Esman reportedly acknowledged that “if the Act is utilized as written, it should be fine; though she is not sure it will be handled that way.”

ClimateProgress is putting out the false claim that the legislation “forces teachers to question evolution.” That’s false. An academic freedom bill does not require teachers to teach anything differently. Topics like evolution will still be taught as a matter of required state law. All students will still need to learn and will be tested upon all aspects of state science standards. The bill still mandates that teachers follow the curriculum and teach the pro-evolution evidence. But it also gives teachers academic freedom to teach about credible scientific viewpoints that challenge the neo-Darwinian “consensus”–if they choose to do so.

And of course, we’re also hearing the standard false claim that the bills allow the teaching of creationism or religion. Despite the talking points of critics, academic freedom bills would not authorize or protect the teaching of creationism or any other religious viewpoint. According to a number of federal court rulings, creationism is a religious viewpoint that is illegal to advocate in public schools. Consistent with these rulings, most academic freedom bills contain language that expressly excludes the teaching of religion and only protects the teaching of scientific information.

I’m sure that if I looked at those bills that they are being sponsored by Republicans. Academic freedom – the freedom to question authority about evidence – is very important to conservatives.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tammy Bruce on how the left treats conservative gays

Tammy Bruce

Tammy Bruce

In the ultra-left-wing UK Guardian, Tammy Bruce explains why disagreement with homosexuality is not “hate”. (H/T Ari from Ruth Blog)

Excerpt:

The real story of bigotry and intolerance is the fact that it lives and thrives on the left. As a gay woman who spent most of her adult life pushing the cart for liberal causes with liberal friends in a liberal city, I found that sexism, racism and homophobia are staples in the liberal world. The huge irony is liberals spend every ounce of energy promoting the notion that they are the banner carriers of individualism and personal freedom, yet the hammer comes down on anyone who dares not to conform to, or who dissents even in part from, the liberal agenda.

Think about what would happen if you did act up? If you dared to say you like Sarah Palin, or admire Margaret Thatcher, or think global warming is a hoax, or think Bill Clinton is a sexual predator, or that George W Bush isn’t to blame for everything, or that Barack Obama has absolutely no clue what he’s doing, you know there would be a price to pay. Odds are that your “liberal” friends would very liberally hate you. At the very least, being shunned would be your new experience, condemning you to suffer that horrific liberal malady called social death.

So, when it comes to my comfort level as a conservative who happens to be gay, here’s what I know: while many conservatives are people of faith and their religion promotes a very different point of view than mine on homosexuality (and a few other things!), I have found conservatives to be more tolerant, more curious and more understanding of those who are different to them than I ever did when ensconced in US liberal leadership.

You can read a biography of Tammy Bruce here. I have heard her guest hosting for Laura Ingraham on her popular national radio show many times.

I noticed that Neil Simpson’s latest round-up linked to this article in HillBuzz, a political blog run by two gay guys who agree with Tammy Bruce.

Excerpt:

Here in Boystown, the only hostility we’ve ever received has been from the Left.

The worst religious people will ever say to us, for being gay, is that they will “pray for us” because they wish we were straight…not out of some meanness, but because they believe being straight would mean a happier life and they don’t want to see people unhappy.  So, this is a little ignorant on their parts to presume that the only definition of happiness is for us to like girls…but it’s not coming from an evil place.

I don’t think that people who disagree with homosexuality and same-sex marriage want anyone to feel bad. You can’t really persuade someone if you treat them badly – everyone knows that. And when you disagree with someone, you want to persuade them, so that means you have to treat them nicely. In fact, with people I disagree with, we usually compete to see who can be the nicest.

By the way, Neil has a book review of Tammy Bruce’s book “The Death of Right and Wrong”. I have the audio book of that!

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How universities block conservatives in the admissions process

Wow, here is an interesting article by Russel K. Neil that I found on Minding the Campus. Before you read the excerpt, you should know that ROTC is short for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, and that 4-H clubs are organizations that teach children practical skills with an emphasis on rural farming skills.

Excerpt:

Besides the bias against lower-class whites, the private colleges in the Espenshade/Radford study seem to display what might be called an urban/Blue State bias against rural and Red State occupations and values. This is most clearly shown in a little remarked statistic in the study’s treatment of the admissions advantage of participation in various high school extra-curricular activities. In the competitive private schools surveyed participation in many types of extra-curricular activities — including community service activities, performing arts activities, and “cultural diversity” activities — conferred a substantial improvement in an applicant’s chances of admission. The admissions advantage was usually greatest for those who held leadership positions or who received awards or honors associated with their activities. No surprise here — every student applying to competitive colleges knows about the importance of extracurriculars.

But what Espenshade and Radford found in regard to what they call “career-oriented activities” was truly shocking even to this hardened veteran of the campus ideological and cultural wars. Participation in such Red State activities as high school ROTC, 4-H clubs, or the Future Farmers of America was found to reduce very substantially a student’s chances of gaining admission to the competitive private colleges in the NSCE database on an all-other-things-considered basis. The admissions disadvantage was greatest for those in leadership positions in these activities or those winning honors and awards. “Being an officer or winning awards” for such career-oriented activities as junior ROTC, 4-H, or Future Farmers of America, say Espenshade and Radford, “has a significantly negative association with admission outcomes at highly selective institutions.” Excelling in these activities “is associated with 60 or 65 percent lower odds of admission.”

Espenshade and Radford don’t have much of an explanation for this find, which seems to place the private colleges even more at variance with their stated commitment to broadly based campus diversity. In his Bakke ruling Lewis Powell was impressed by the argument Harvard College offered defending the educational value of a demographically diverse student body: “A farm boy from Idaho can bring something to Harvard College that a Bostonian cannot offer. Similarly, a black student can usually bring something that a white person cannot offer.” The Espenshade/Radford study suggests that those farm boys from Idaho would do well to stay out of their local 4-H clubs or FFA organizations — or if they do join, they had better not list their membership on their college application forms. This is especially true if they were officers in any of these organizations. Future farmers of America don’t seem to count in the diversity-enhancement game played out at some of our more competitive private colleges, and are not only not recruited, but seem to be actually shunned. It is hard to explain this development other than as a case of ideological and cultural bias.

This same kind of bias seems to lurk behind the negative association found between acceptance odds and holding leadership positions in high school ROTC. This is most troubling because a divorce between the campus culture of its universities and its military is poisonous for any society, and doesn’t do the military or the civilian society any good. The lack of comfort with many military commanders that our current president is said to have seems to be due not only to his own lack of military experience but to the fact of having spent so many of his formative years on university campuses like Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Chicago, where people with military experience are largely absent and the campus culture is often hostile to military values and military personnel.

So this is why so many people in power today have no understanding of the kinds of things that we believe in.

When you’re arguing with people on the left, there are two questions you need to ask them all the time. 1) Who are the best scholars who disagree with you and what have you read by those scholars?, 2) Name actual people who are your good long-term friends who hold the views that you don’t hold to, 3) Name some debates that you have heard between people that you agree with and people you disagree with.

Right now on Facebook, there’s a woman I am debating who read Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus” book. I listed 5 debates between Bart Ehrman and other scholars who agree with me, all of which I blogged on. She doesn’t appear to have heard any of them, nor is she interested in engaging with them. When someone wants to eject the moral demands of Christianity from their lives, they gravitate towards Dan Brown and Bart Ehrman to try to weaken the hold of the truth on their decision making by making it optional. Usually what precipitates it is the desire to just have fun without rules, or a disappointment with God because they think he should make them happy.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , ,

How the left-wing media lowers the level of civil discourse

Here’s MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Republican Scott Brown. (H/T Newsbusters)

Excerpt:

Lost in the angst about Obama and Coakley is the little-recognized real headline of this vote. You have heard Scott Brown speculating, talking out of his bare bottom, about whether or not the President of the United States was born out of wedlock. You have heard Scott Brown respond to the shout from a supporter that they should stick a curling iron into Ms. Coakley’s rectum with the answer, “We can do this.”

You may not have heard Scott Brown support a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, or describing two women having a child as being quote, “Just not normal.” You may not have heard Scott Brown associating himself with the Tea Party movement, perhaps the saddest collection of people who don’t want to admit why they really hate since the racists of the South in the sixties insisted they were really just concerned about states’ rights. You may not of heard Scott Brown voting against paid leaves of absence for Massachusetts Red Cross workers who had gone to New York to help after 9/11.

In short, in Scott Brown we have an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against woman and against politicians with whom he disagrees. In any other time in our history, this man would have been laughed off the stage as an unqualified and a disaster in the making by the most conservative of conservatives. Instead, the commonwealth of Massachusetts is close to sending this bad joke to the Senate of the United States.

News Busters has the video. This is what happens when you only listen to people who agree with you. It becomes impossible to focus on substantive policy debates and evidence, and you start to go after people personally. The way to stop it is to seek out the best people on the other side and to read their work, or better yet, see them in a debate. Leftists shouldn’t look at tea party protesters, they should look at Thomas Sowell.

In one way, this suits me well. Brown is going to get elected to the Senate today in Massachusetts, and I hope that the way that the left wing media portrays him will drive him further to the right, and make him more concerned about bypassing the media to talk to the people directly. The more they insult him, the less sympathy he will have for compromise, and the less he will be influenced by what the elite think of him.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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