Real ID and Fake ID

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Declan McCullagh has a great roundup over at CNET News on the Real ID Act, which passed in the House yesterday as part of an emergency appropriations package. The bill is presumably so-named to distinguish it from the fake ID being debated in Kansas. On the latter front, Kevin Drum highlights this rather disturbing passage from the article linked above:

The hearings in Topeka, scheduled to last several days, are focusing on two proposals. The first recommends that students continue to be taught the theory of evolution because it is key to understanding biology. The other proposes that Kansas alter the definition of science, not limiting it to theories based on natural explanations.

As Will Wilkinson pointed out here back in December, more robust school choice might spare us these circuses. Though it probably won't do much about "Real ID."

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  1. Oh man, is this like “Real Roxanne” vs. “Roxanne Chante?”

    “more robust school choice might spare us these circuses”

    Yes, far more schools educating far more children would be able to replace biology with Jeebus Studies without being called on it. Yipee.

  2. “We can’t ignore that our nation is based on Christianity ? not science.”

    That’s right, folks–if it isn’t in Genesis, you don’t need to know about it.

  3. This is from a state school board member: “We can’t ignore that our nation is based on Christianity ? not science.”

    Holy Christ, that is messed up. I can’t believe I was actually born in that state. Luckily my parents moved away (taking me with them) when I was still a baby.

    As for the Real ID: I thought they told us they weren’t going to go for a national ID system. But hey, if Homeland Security is in control, I should know that it’s for my own good, and the safety of America, right?

    I’m scared. Looks like I’ll be getting extremely drunk after my hockey game tonight!

  4. And I love how only 3 Republicans voted against it…and is it any wonder Ron Paul was one of them?

    And Julian, I’m realising that by putting 2 big news stories in the same post, there may very well be some confusing discussion going on…

  5. “Yes, far more schools educating far more children would be able to replace biology with Jeebus Studies without being called on it.”

    i’m torn up about this. on the one hand, it sort of hurts to pass, say, a parochial school and know the sort of nonsense they’re teaching children in addition to the a’s, b’s and c’s. this stuff manages to be somehow worse than teaching 12 year old boys that masturbation is morally offensive.

    it’s like spelling dictionary dikshunory.

    on the other hand, what business is it of mine? i’m not their parents. in this case, i don’t live in kansas…what business is it of mine? let the kansans-ians fuck with their science curriculum and teach their kids about super invisible space monkeys or whatever the hell this crap is going to actually teach.

    goddamn dikshunory.

  6. You know, I went to catholic school up until the 5th grade. I am now a weak atheist, boozin’, womanisin’, druggie, freak, so I turned out ok, despite my mother’s and early school’s attempts at indoctrinating me into their silly faith.

    Of course, I also almost got kicked out for swearing, forged my parents signature on things, and stole some stupid little wooden blocks from the school, so I guess they were fightin’ and uphill battle.

    Also, I must admit that even my mom wouldn’t approve of this, more than likely (haven’t asked her about her views on it yet).

    But it’s still worrisome…but maybe I shouldn’t judge others, as dhex is saying.

  7. I grew up in Kansas, and don’t remember it being this silly. I’m in Missouri now, and the mood here in regards to KS seems to be a mixture of amusement and revulsion-or maybe I’m just projecting my own feelings.

    This may be a more widespread impulse than I’m aware of, though. I tend not to associate with drooling, bible-thumping christers, so I’m not privy to their thoughts.

  8. I love how the cowards tacked the Real ID nonsense on to the end of a bill that congressmen wouldn’t be caught dead voting against. While these clowns are tinkering with the filibuster, I propose a new rule. One bill for one purpose, if you have another purpose, make another bill.

    As for Kansas, in a contest of faith versus empirical proof, believers will choose faith one hundred times out of a hundred. Scientist don’t get to condemn your soul to hell for disagreeing. Praise Jeebus!

    Looks like I’ll be getting extremely drunk after my hockey game tonight!

    I’ll bet you were going to anyway. I feel like it myself It is friday after all.

  9. I went to two different Catholic schools and neither of them said a peep about creationism. We had one religion course per term, where they always maintained that the literalist interpretation of the Bible was crazy bullshit. I don’t buy the whole school choice = more people believing in creationism deal. In fact, I could see more rational opinions emerging if school choice removed creationism as a cause celebre for anti-science folks to rally around. It’s not like those kids aren’t all having creationism drilled into them by their parents at home.

  10. I think Catholic schools aren’t necessarily the problem. I sent my daughter to a Catholic school for 9th grade (long story, and I’m not Catholic). My fears that she would not be able to speak her mind freely were completely unfounded. As phocion indicated, this particular school was very clear that the Bible should not be literally interpreted.

    They were far more open-minded and accepting of well-reasoned viewpoints than the public high school she now attends. I’m sorry I ran out of funds.

  11. David – you caught me. I almost always get pretty tipsy after I play hockey. I mean, I play hockey… I think every hockey player ever born likes to drink beer. And get drunk.

    phocion – I don’t remember creationism being taught, either, but it was far enough back that I don’t remember if they taught that the literal interpretion was bullshit. I do know that I always got really bad grades in the religion classes (one a year, just like yourself) and that I questioned a thing or two to the nun-teachers and got a “because god made it that way” response, with no explanation.

  12. Damn you to hell, Joe. I’d managed to go twenty years without having to think about those stupid songs.

  13. dhex

    Likewise, I couldn’t care less what kind of bullshit parents have their children taught on their own dime. But I’ll be damned if I want the little shits learning batshit like “intelligent design” or “creationism” at public expense, whether at public schools or with vouchers (which I also oppose).

    Frankly since knowing the origin of life is not really all that crucial to one’s economic well-being maybe they just need to make biology an elective. Then parents who don’t want their darlings corrupted can keep them out and have them privately taught “…and the the Great Turtle crawled across the sky laying its eggs…” or whatever their creation myth is.

    Part of the problem here is that these fundies just took the time and trouble to get elected or appointed (I think the KS board is elected) to a board that most people don’t give a shit about until something like this comes up. Most people don’t seem to have much of a problem with truth being determined by political committees.

    I also object to DARE officers giving children misimformation about drugs, “science” teachers uncritically passing on every facet of the green agenda and uncritical teaching of history. That’s probably why I think it would be better to just abolish the whole government propaganda system.

    But maybe I’d better just shut up, after “Real ID” who the fuck knows what else Big Brother is going to dream up?

  14. My two best friends both went to catholic schools, and I went to a private religious school as well. None of us were taught creationism as science.

    We were taught about the bible and creationism in our theology classes (which is where that stuff should be).

    I think the agenda here is to get creationism taught in public schools to further erode the idea of secular public schools. (Why else all the references to the fact that Christians founded our great republic) I don’t think the Discovery Network folks seem to give a rats ass that other religious schools aren’t doing what they are demanding that public schools do.

    I also believe that most people that go to religious / private schools go there becuase they are expecting a better education along with more moral lessons so I think the people paying private schools would pull their kids from schools that started teaching ID or creationism as “science”.

    As to those who say it doesn’t matter or why should the rest of us care, I think it does matter, because if they are successful here and there, they will be emboldened to try elsewhere.
    And I would hate to think that one day I’m gonna have to show up to these kinds of hearings and be forced to defend why it is I dont want my kids learning that the earth is only a few thousand years old and that a man in a boat saved all the species of animals (and in the process possibly be branded a God-hatin atheist pinko).

    Furthermore, things like this make it awfully more difficult to differentiate us from religious extremists. Esp when we are off liberating the world from tyranny.

  15. If I had kids, I’d home-school ’em, though I suspect my agenda would the polar opposite from most home-schoolin’ types. I’d tell ’em for instance, that religion is a scam, that evolution is a fact, that there’s nothing wrong with being gay, that what two or more consenting adults do in private in nobody else’s business, and that our nation is based on Enlightenment values, not “Christian” ones.

    How long do you suppose they would let me homeschool in Kansas?

  16. If Kansas decides to alter the definition of science, I propose that we alter Kansas. With fire. Holy cleansing fire.

  17. on the one hand, it sort of hurts to pass, say, a parochial school and know the sort of nonsense they’re teaching children in addition to the a’s, b’s and c’s.

    I went to a Catholic grade school. Religion was its own class. They didn’t teach biblical literalism. Science class never had any mention of religion. In social studies we learned more about Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism than I learned in public high school. We also covered the Protestant Reformation without too many gripes.

    And we were taught that Jesus was more interested in charity than sex.

    Really, if you want your kids to get a good grounding in academic subjects while learning about other cultures and religions and developing a sense of tolerance, it’s hard to beat Catholic grade schools nowadays. At least in Milwaukee, anyway, which is where I grew up.

  18. Yeah, I went to Catholic school for 10 years, and we weren’t indoctrinated with creationism. We straight up learned about evolution, too.

    People tend to have knee-jerk reactions about religious schooling, like it’s some Mooney fest where all the kids are drinking God-Aid and that every subject is taught through a religious lens, as if God really gives a fuck about integers and dangling participles.

    Of course, Catholics are old-school and you never know what those protestant rebels are going to do next. I mean, they gave the Pope the finger so things like science are easily dismissed by them.

  19. “The other proposes that Kansas alter the definition of science, not limiting it to theories based on natural explanations”

    There is no such thing as a theory that is not based on natural explanations. It would be called fantasy, or mythology. Or bullshit.

  20. I also went to religious schools. Eight years of my education took place under the Jesuits. In high school, we were taught evolution. If anyone mentioned creationism, I don’t recall it. College was even less doctrinaire, as one would expect at a university.
    Despite suffering bouts of ghastly anti-intellectualism, the Catholic Church has managed to maintain a fairly solid tradition of scholarship, especially among the religious orders of clergy and monks.

    If there is such a thing as fundementalist scholarship, I imagine it bears the same relation to rational thought as christian rock does to rock.

  21. Let’s put it this way: Catholic schools in Milwaukee are so vastly superior to public schools that my graduating class was approximately half Protestant. They still had to go to Mass and take religious ed, but their parents didn’t mind because the school was so strong on the standard academic subjects.

    Oh, and the school spent half as much per pupil as the public schools.

    Granted, it would be hard to not be better than the Milwaukee Public Schools, but still.

  22. Will Wilkinson is very good at starting with a conclusion and working his way backwards.

  23. “The other proposes that Kansas alter the definition of science, not limiting it to theories based on natural explanations.”

    And once that is done, they will alter the definition of “public school”, not limiting it to non-religious institutions. And then they will alter the definition of “dog”, not limiting it to canine species.

    And then they will alter the definition of “laughingstock”, to automatically include the entire Kansas legislature. OK, they probably won’t need hearings for that one.

    Oh yeah, joe: at least if they have their own schools to teach Jeebus Studies in, they won’t be trying to mandate it for everyone else. We hope.

  24. Kansas: Paying no attention to the man behind the curtain since 1900.

  25. I’ve changed my mind on this. Schools teach so much as fact that is essentially myth that they might as well include creation, too.

    Look in on any history class, then do a little research and compare what’s being taught to what really happened. Look how they’ve evicerated mathemathics, physics, art, & literature, stripped them of any meaning and practicality. Might as well include creation of the world myths, and throw in a line about how god’s providence killed the Natives with disease so the Christians could found a great nation free from persecution. That would tie it all up with neat little bow.

    BTW, I too went to a Catholic High School and was taught evolution. Our theology classes discussed the bible in terms of metaphor, parable and practical application. The evolution fight is strictly a fundimentalist one.

  26. Actually, I went to a Catholic high school, and they taught evolution. We got the lecture on the Church’s position on evolution (perfectly compatible with Catholic teaching) in biology class.

    But that’s a school that existed in the universal public school system. Somehow, I suspect that we’d see a lot more Jeebus Highs if all schools were private.

  27. We also had a class called “Morality.” It was taught by the craziest nun of them all. It’s true what they say about nuns driving.

    So one day in Morality class, this nun draws a chart. At the top was a cross, then an arrow pointing down to a flag, then an arrow pointing from a flag to a stick figure, helpfully labelled “You.”

    She tapped her chalk on the board a few times, and sputtered “Do you get it?” and nodded vigorously a few times.

    I don’t know why I’m telling you these things, except that nuns are funny. In retrospect.

  28. Kansas: Paying no attention to the man behind the curtain since 1900.

    And thus, the important discussion on the back door to a National ID Card was hidden behind the desire to feel morally superior to Kansans.

  29. And thus, the important discussion on the back door to a National ID Card was hidden behind the desire to feel morally superior to Kansans

    No, just intellectually superior. And hey, a National ID Card? What a shitty idea!

  30. I suspect that the ID fetishists are simply a very vocal minority in Kansas, and I would never presume to look down on the majority of Kansas residents.

    However, with regard to that vocal minority, I am most definitely their intellectual superior.

  31. Why does anyone give a shit about Kansas? It seems to be such a shittly little place, full of morons and the like.

  32. i brought up catholic schools for the beating off/bastshit crazy condom conspiracies my wife was taught during her middle and high school years in an otherwise regular academic environment.

    what turned me on to “oh let them do what the fuck ever” was remember just how fucking retarded my “social studies” classes were…it went something like this:

    columbus discovers america
    indians catch bad colds, occassional fight wars
    the civil war kicks slavery’s ass
    robber barons who own trains!
    world war I
    the great depression!
    FDR saves universe
    vietnam debuts; spawns rock music and long hair
    the space shuttle is invented/communism collapses

    yay america!

  33. and at the end of the day, these folks pay taxes, so like everyone else who objects to fine literature with dirty words and other perils of modern life, they should have their say in how their kids schools are run. if they want to totally hate on being monkeys, it’s no real skin off my nose. it’s not like schools will run out of stupid myths to teach children while sapping them of their creativity or anything.

  34. columbus discovers america
    indians catch bad colds, occassional fight wars
    the civil war kicks slavery’s ass
    robber barons who own trains!
    world war I
    the great depression!
    FDR saves universe
    vietnam debuts; spawns rock music and long hair

    Hey, we had the same social studies/history teacher!

  35. I propose that we alter Kansas. With fire. Holy cleansing fire.

    They made a movie about that…

  36. columbus discovers america
    indians catch bad colds, occassional fight wars
    the civil war kicks slavery’s ass
    robber barons who own trains!
    world war I
    the great depression!
    FDR saves universe
    vietnam debuts; spawns rock music and long hair
    the space shuttle is invented/communism collapses

    My high school social studies class stopped at world war II, Once the great FDR saved the Universe we lived happily ever after…(well there was that cold war thing, but since we had already defeated communism we didn’t need to learn about it)
    And Don’t forget the courageous anti-trust warriors who took down those evil robber barons (I vaguely remember a political cartoon with Teddy and a sword that said anti-trust, maybe it was a club, yeah it might have been a big stick, but I think Teddy was tiny, and the robber barons were huge, but were still frightened of him)

  37. robber barons who own trains!

    No no, Captains of Industry. I used to really piss off my Social(ist) Studies teachers by correcting them every time they said “robber barrons”, it became quite a game.

  38. Your social studies teachers were faster than mine. We had to go through the ordeal of having the shittiest students read aloud from the textbook. One year I was stuck in a class of sloooooow readers who never found out how the Civil War ended. I never saw any class reach World War I.

  39. As a solipsist…

    For centuries various “intelligent-design” theories were taught. They worked. Since Darwin, the theory of evolution. It works. Perhaps in a hundred years, someone will come up with a new theory which works better.

    For centuries Newtonian physics was “it”. Then, Einstein. And now, physics which is so poetic that “The Dancing Wu Li Masters” seems staid.

    I don’t think a scientist ever actually knows anything. I think a scientist is one who doubts. Everything.

    Les id?es re?ues are the target of any self-respecting scientist (as opposed to “technician”). He will use his “knowledge” just so long as it works, and no longer.

    Today, the theory of evolution is the id?e re?ue of biology. It works. It’s useful. It’s intellectually satisfying. But that doesn’t mean it’s “true” or that we should accept it on blind faith forever, which is what fundamentalist darwinians would have us do.

    I see no problem with a public school including intelligent design in its biology classes. Doing so would only stimulate doubt. And that’d be a good thing.

    It is my opinion that those who insist that the theory of evolution is the only real teachable truth are as close-minded and as fundamentalist as the creationists.

    (“God created everything. He probably used evolution and the Big Bang to do it. Now let’s learn evolution.” That’s the Catholic approach I got in high school.)

  40. There’s a big difference between the Newton->Einstein transition and the ID->Evolution transition.

    Not for someone who believes in a Creator there’s not. For a Jewish/Christian/Hindu biologist, evolution adds to; it doesn’t obliterate.

    Einstein showed that Newton was still incredibly accurate in a whole lot of important cases… (my emphasis)

    And Hawking et al. show that Einstein was incredibly wrong about some pretty significant things.

    …just not in certain domains that hadn’t been experimentally accessible in Newton’s time.

    Like the origin of the species?

    Evolution, OTOH, utterly and completely trounces ID.

    Mother Nature is God in drag.

    In popular language, nature always has a purpose. “Those berries are red to warn…” “These petals are shaped like this so that…” “Birds migrate in order to…”

    We humans like to impose order. And we understand in metaphors and similes and by analogy. (I think that’s where religion comes from. These two tendencies.) We want things to work like _us_. So we see “intelligent design” wherever we look. We see it so clearly sometimes that we even get the occasional glimmer of “natural law”.

    In the popular mind, evolution is nowhere near to trouncing ID.

    Scientists have popular minds, too. Nor are all scientists atheistic. And among those who aren’t, I’d give you good odds that belief in intelligent design is pretty widespread.

    As an aside, I wish people were taught that Einstein didn’t replace Newton. In almost all cases Newton’s results are still just as useful both quantitatively and conceptually as they were in Newton’s day.

    If you’re trying to get to Rigel 13, don’t count on Newton. OR Einstein.

  41. Today, the theory of evolution is the id?e re?ue of biology. It works. It’s useful. It’s intellectually satisfying. But that doesn’t mean it’s “true” or that we should accept it on blind faith forever, which is what fundamentalist darwinians would have us do.

    I don’t know of anyone who wants people to accept darwinian theory on blind faith (blind faith being the only way to accept creationism). If you could name one, that would be helpful. Mind you, Darwinism does not equal evolution. Evolution happened and Darwinism is one theory of how it happened. The reason we know it happened, the reason we know it’s true, is because there is an abundance of evidence to support it.

    I see no problem with a public school including intelligent design in its biology classes. Doing so would only stimulate doubt. And that’d be a good thing.

    Then I take it you have no problem including theories that LBJ and the CIA killed JFK in history classes? Or that the U.S. was aware of the 9/11 attacks before they happened? Like ID, those theories would certainly stimulate doubt, and, like ID, there’s no evidence to support them.

    It is my opinion that those who insist that the theory of evolution is the only real teachable truth are as close-minded and as fundamentalist as the creationists.

    Do you believe that it’s closed-minded and fundamentalist to teach students that the earth revolving around the sun is the only real, teachable truth? Do you believe that it’s closed-minded and fundamentalist to teach students that the earth is billions, not thousands of years old? That evolution occurred is as well established as those facts are.

    Asimov wrote an essay called the “The Relativity of Wrong.” I recommend it.

    http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/RelativityofWrong.htm

  42. Sorry, I forgot the “s” at the end of my name.

  43. Evolution happened and Darwinism is one theory of how it happened.

    I think that’s an excellent point. In optics class we don’t debate whether there is light around us, we just ask how it is produced, how it propagates, and how we detect it. In chemistry class we don’t ask whether substances undergo changes when mixed, we seek to understand how those changes occur. In electronics class we don’t ask whether current flows, we ask why it flows the way it does and how it can be controlled. In biology we don’t ask whether blood carries oxygen or whether nerves stimulate muscles or whether bacteria can cause disease. Instead we ask how the cells absorb and deliver oxygen, how the muscle fibers contract, and how the bacteria invade the cells.

    Yet as soon as somebody points to fossils that show a clear history of descent with modification, rather than asking how it happened there’s a bunch of idiots that want to deny that it even happened in the first place.

    Once upon a time that was indeed a matter for debate, back when methods for dating fossils were first being developed. But now it’s a settled matter.

  44. …I take it you have no problem including theories that LBJ and the CIA killed JFK in history classes? Or that the U.S. was aware of the 9/11 attacks before they happened?

    Discussing them? Sure, why not. (Although I think the theory that Roosevelt knew about the coming attack on Pearl Harbour is far more interesting than the 9/11 one you propose.)

    But History isn’t science. It’s the subjective presentation and interpretation of “facts”. We don’t learn history for truth. We take most history on… faith.

    Like ID, those theories would certainly stimulate doubt, and, like ID, there’s no evidence to support them.

    I just got back from a walk with doggie. The billions of dandelions in the fields are perfect. Each one, a marvel of design. My feet and legs carried me along for kilometres. Flawlessly. My doggie… Well. Perfection personified.

    Did I note evidence that he, the dandelion and I were all descendents of the same protozoon? Was my delight the result of our kinship? O casus felix!

    I don’t know of anyone who wants people to accept darwinian theory on blind faith (blind faith being the only way to accept creationism).

    I wasn’t talking about creationism. I was talking about “intelligent design”, which, according to the article…

    … is a concept that asserts that life on Earth is so complex that a higher power must have played a role in its creation.

    Nuance.

    Not an impossible concept. Not, perhaps, scientifically provable (unless that intelligence manifests itself really really clearly). But no more impossible and no less provable than the concept that life is the result of happy accident.

    And that’s where the “blind faith” comes in. Either/or. Those are the only 2 possibilities I can think of.

    The other [proposal before the board] proposes that Kansas alter the definition of science, not limiting it to theories based on natural explanations.

    This, of course, is just plain dumb. I wonder it the article is accurate.

    Do you believe that it’s closed-minded and fundamentalist to teach students that the earth revolving around the sun is the only real, teachable truth?

    Well, as a solipsist, I tend to think the universe revolves around _me_. The maths is a bit more complicated, but no pain no gain.

    Do you believe that it’s closed-minded and fundamentalist to teach students that the earth is billions, not thousands of years old?

    That’s not “intelligent design”. That’s creationism. Nuance.

    That evolution occurred is as well established as those facts are.

    Actually, I don’t think it is. You see, intelligent design doesn’t rule out most of evolution.

    I still think my priestly teachers got it just right.

  45. Actually, I don’t think it is. You see, intelligent design doesn’t rule out most of evolution.

    It certainly doesn’t. But the necessary and allowable scope for this designer gets smaller with every passing year.

  46. Discussing them? Sure, why not. (Although I think the theory that Roosevelt knew about the coming attack on Pearl Harbour is far more interesting than the 9/11 one you propose.)

    I agree with you about that, but unfortunately history teachers have a finite amount of time to teach things we know happened, just as science teachers have a finite amount of time to do the same.

    Not an impossible concept. Not, perhaps, scientifically provable (unless that intelligence manifests itself really really clearly). But no more impossible and no less provable than the concept that life is the result of happy accident.

    We agree that ID is not an impossible concept and that it’s not scientifically provable. But evolution has absolutely nothing to say about the origin of life. Evolution speaks only of the development of life.

    It’s important to note that most people who are pushing for ID in schools are creationists, fundamentalists with such a weak faith that they can’t accept a world without physical evidence of their God.

    Well, as a solipsist, I tend to think the universe revolves around _me_. The maths is a bit more complicated, but no pain no gain.

    Smart ass. 😉

    When I said that evolution was proven as well as the age of the earth and the paths of the planets, you said,

    Actually, I don’t think it is.

    Then you are mistaken. You should take the time to read up on the subject.

    You see, intelligent design doesn’t rule out most of evolution.

    It doesn’t rule out any of evolution, actually. It’s quite possible that someone or something designed the universe and used evolution to develop humanity. But then, who designed the designer?

  47. Then you are mistaken.

    It won’t be the first time.

    However, if the theory has been proven, well… To what degree of certainty?

    The central idea of biological evolution is that all life on Earth shares a common ancestor, just as you and your cousins share a common grandmother. Evolution 101

    I doubt that central idea has been “proven”. I doubt it _can_ be proven.

    who designed the designer?

    Aristotle would say that he is the unmoved mover.

    So we’ll just say he’s the undesigned designer.

    The symmetry pleases me.

  48. dhex

    I was educated at a parochial high school and there was never any mention of intelligent design. I was having a conversation about evolution and human origins the other day with some friends from town who went to the local public high school, and most of the stuff that I had learned in my freshman year biology class, and then again a couple of years later in the advanced placement class that was offered, they had never even touched on. Now, I’ve had four years of catholic education, so I think it goes without saying that I’m I’m firmly irreligious and can see the whole thing for the sham it is, but for all the things catholics do horribly wrong, they mostly do education right.

  49. The national ID card bill is far too important to combine with a discussion of intellegent design. It matters far more that what it taught in any low quality excuse for a public school in Kansas.

  50. Reading on, I’ve changed my mind again but I think I have a compromise.

    I don’t see why the “designer” needs to be mentioned. What can be empirically proven is that changes have taken place in species over time. The key is that the animal exhibiting characteristic A has a better chance at survival that the animal without. Whether the changes are simply random mutation or the work of guiding creator is irrelevant to the theory, and better discussed in a philosophy class.

    Here’s my compromise, a bio-philosophy class to discuss the various opinions regarding evolution, ID, cloning, abortion etc. Somethig that throws all the opinion out there and kids and lets them sift through and decide for themselves.

    An off topic question:

    Since more people survive to procreate now with characteristics that would have reduced their chances in the past, has human evolution stopped? I mean in terms of thing like natural resistence to disease and such.

  51. The fine folks at UnRealID.com have a way to write your Senator:

    http://www.unrealid.com

  52. Since more people survive to procreate now with characteristics that would have reduced their chances in the past, has human evolution stopped?

    The distribution of children among my cousins is very disturbing. The responsible people in my generation of the family (i.e. the ones who are independent of their parents and pursuing higher education and/or working decent jobs) have relatively few (if any) kids.

    Meanwhile, there’s a few idiots spawning left and right. The convicted sex offender has 6 or 7 kids by almost as many women. (And the answer to your next question is yes, it was a “real” sex offense, not a case of an 18 year-old guy with his 17 year-old girlfriend.) The welfare mother has 3 kids by as many men. The guy who faked a mental illness to get disability payments (I kid you not) has 2 kids by different women.

    I want to get one of those tranquilizer dart guns and bring it to a family reunion. But instead of putting tranquilizers in the darts I’ll put something in the darts that renders the victim unable to reproduce.

  53. Have you considered lead?

  54. David-

    If I kill them I’m a murderer. If I sterilize them it’s community service.

  55. Raymond,

    I don’t think the word “proof” is used scientifically, other than in math. But evolution can be demonstrated. The best explainers on the web that I’ve found are at http://www.talkorigins.org. Still, it’s fun disagreeing with you!

  56. Ah, for the heady days of eugenics.

  57. I don’t think the word “proof” is used scientifically, other than in math.

    This page is pretty clear and useful on the subject of “proof”. And this one‘s good on the differences between hypothesis, theory and law.

    (In my defence, I did use quotation marks. [Not, unfortunately, consistently.])

    Whether the changes are simply random mutation or the work of guiding creator is irrelevant to the theory, and better discussed in a philosophy class.

    I would agree with that. However, I think “Theory of Knowledge” courses are probably very rare in public high schools.

    The ID-Senate thing is far more important, as someone said. So I’ll close this chapter of my life with the following remark.

    It is my opinion that school should be the safe place to doubt. Kids should never be taught to take what their teachers or their textbooks say as “truth”. In _any_ subject.

    With any luck, kids thus taught will bring this skill of doubt to their relationship with other “knowledge”, with news and with authority (“authority”) of all sorts.

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