Bill to repeal La Science Education Act deferred

Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Thursday, May 26, 2011 - 12:00pm

UPDATED: Sunday, February 26, 2012 - 1:07pm


SB 70 was introduced to the Senate Education Committee today by Senator Karen Peterson (D), New Orleans. The bill would repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act. After hours of debate, the bill was brought to a vote. Five Senators voted against the bill; Senator Yvonne Dorsey (D), Baton Rouge was the only legislator to vote in favor of the bill. Senator Eric LaFluer (D), Ville Platte did not vote. In a last minute motion, the bill was deferred. 17 year old Zack Kopplin inspired the bill and considers today’s result a victory.


ORIGINAL STORY: Zach Kopplin just graduated from high school last week, and he's not waiting until he graduates college to make his mark. Kopplin is challenging the Louisiana Science Education Act, which allows creationism to be taught in Louisiana schools.

Kopplin says the law is a huge step back for the state and sends the wrong message about the quality of our education system. And he is not alone. So far, Kopplin has gathered 65,000 signatures on a petition to change the law. And he's got support from lawmakers too. Senator Karen Peterson will introduce SB 70 on Thursday, to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act.

Kopplin will testify at the Capitol Thursday in favor of Peterson's bill. He is using social media sites and his own website to get more students involved too. Thursday he plans to pack the committe room where the bill is being read with at least 100 students and recent graduates, all wanting to end the way the world's beginning is taught in louisiana schools.

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What's wrong with ID? Do a search for "Neil deGrasse Tyson Perimeter of Ignorance"

If you're suggesting Neil was arguing "for" ID I think you missed the point of what he was saying. If that's not what you're suggesting, I apologize.

"f you're suggesting Neil was arguing "for" ID I think you missed the point of what he was saying. If that's not what you're suggesting, I apologize."

Tyson has never argued in favor of ID, and in the essay referred to by Rich, Tyson shows where earlier scientists referred to 'God' to explain things beyond their comprehension, but later tended to move away from that premise as mathematical explanations (primarily) came along as explanatory. He uses the example of Newton's formulation of integral and differential calculus to quantify planetary orbital paths.

But what Rich was implying IMO, was that ID is another form of goddidit (Descartes, Newton, Faraday), or essentially an argument from ignorance. This is Tyson's position, and in his talk at the 'Beyond Belief' conference he cites scientists who leaned on relious belief, but tended to shy away from that position as mechanistic explanations were formulated. Whether or not that assessment is valid, Tyson's conclusion that ID is nothing more than a form of incredulity is false. In today's world, if not so much in Newton's, ID per se is more of an 'adjunct' (additional) hypothesis regarding biologic complexity which supplants a totally materialistic explanation. It does not rule out evolution, but augments its purported historical functionality.

So is there in-fact a 'perimeter of ignorance'? Of course, and we are well within that perimeter. Newton summarized that position when late in life he wrote, "I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I appear to have been but a little boy, playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself, in now and then finding a smooth pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."

But does ID summarize that ignorance? In a sense, but if validated, it merely points to evidentiary instances of 'designer input' *, in areas where the carte blanche acceptance of random causation itself, flys in the wind of 'conclusionary ignorance'.

* designer input refers to genetic engineering, rather than the dated and sophmoric idea of holding planets in orbit.


It seems that you are trying to hide your bias toward ID...

Natural selection favors organisms that reproduce best in their environment. It's not much more complicated then that. So if there is a direction "chosen" for evolution, then it's the direction toward better reproduction.

It is thus not surprising to realize that smarter animals evolved and survived better than others... only to comment on a website where they try to reconcile their ancestors' dogma with this new knowledge about the natural world that is not always easy to accept and embrace.

Life is great, lots of things to learn, lots of places to see, and endless scientific discoveries to come. No need to invoke a powerful magic creator mind behind all this...

" ... No need to invoke a powerful magic creator mind behind all this ... "

Agreed, and ID does not make that assumption.

"It seems that you are trying to hide your bias toward ID ... "

Actually, I have no pre-ordained opinion; no bias what-so-ever. If the evidence supports natural (unguided through the ages at all points in time) I will accept it, and conclude accordingly. That is how science works.

I am an empiricist, and yes, a rationalist. I am far from a right-leaning concervative (or far left for that matter). But tell me. What does rational thot encompass? Is it going along with the crowd (religious OR scientific embedded in Darwins dogma) ...

Or should we all strive for honest evaluation of the data? And by honest, I mean from all sides ...

Lee... you're lying. Your name is well-known among science and atheist blogs as a promoter of ID, albeit a non-religious one. Allow me to quote another comment you've made:"

"Regarding predator/ prey and parasite/ host relationships, it's apparent that either a competitive world was intended (one designer or design team), or designs were by competitive designers (or design groups). Over vast time, the second scenario is viable."

So... these multiple designers you believe in, are they aliens?

Plus, there's always your Amazon reviews of pro-ID books:

And your comments on other blogs:

"I am an ID proponent who accepts evolutionary processes, but for 1) adaptation, and 2) biological diversity within species. I disagree with microevolutionary alterations accumulating over time to produce complexity and novelty. My conclusion is based on anatomic observations (morphologies and synergistic functionalities), as well as the DNA coding, and other molecular complexities. My views are subject to change as time (and study/ research) goes on."

Lee, this is the internet. You cannot get away with a lie when you're well-known.

At :26, commentator said, " ... the law allows Creationism to be taught in Louisian public schools ... "

This raises the question, is evolution by natural selection (random mutations that happen to improve a fitness coefficient) all we need to consider to account for ALL taxonomic progressions? Or there even a remote possibility that there was gene tweaking at key points in the past? If so, it cannot be ignored by science, due merely to a possible religious inference to some.

This is teleology by the way, and NOT Creationism, which consists solely of interjecting religious precepts in place of scientific data. Design inferences, if validated, would then be considered valid data.

In essence, that constitutes ID, which if it fails subsequent validation (research and statistical analyses that may ensue), adds support to the current evolutionary synthesis. If design inferences pervade however, then one may conclude that taxonomic progressions have been directed, at least in part. This would not constitute religion, however, since no dogma, rituals, or a priori beliefs would follow, except if one chose to accept any on a personal basis (pick your religion).

Bottom line: IF, and the 'if' is tentative, if ID is allowed discourse, then perhaps down the road a piece it will be allowed into science curriculae (and research programs) as an investigative hypothesis. But never will religion per se be discussed within a science class, since it could never pass constitutional muster. So people, 'where's the beef?'. In short, there is none.

"If so, it cannot be ignored by science, due merely to a possible religious inference to some."

Except... it must be. If you're implying a supernatural intervention, it's meaningless from a scientific standpoint. Science is naturalistic *by necessity*. Once you start allowing for supernatural, undetectable causes, our ability to draw scientific causal relations *disappears*.

"ID, which if it fails subsequent validation"

ID has already failed validation. There are only two ID scholars with any theory that makes predictions, Behe and Dembski. Both of them have made predictions which are wrong.

Behe has predicted that NO satisfactory evolutionary explanation could ever be given for ANY system which meets his definition of irreducible complexity. By his own statements, the blood clotting cascade, the adaptive immune system, and several other systems qualify. Only a few years after Darwin's Black Box, research confirmed a theory that the key event in the creation of the adaptive immune system was a transposon splicing itself into elements of the older innate immune system (a theory which Behe specifically singled out for ridicule). He was wrong. Since his theory makes blanket universal statements which can be falsified by a single counter-example, and this is exactly such a counter-example, Behe's theory is false.

Behe also predicted that the whale was an example of intelligent meddling and that no gradual transitional forms would be found. Since he said that, not one but THREE transitional forms have been discovered, including Ambulocetus Natans ("the walking whale that swims") and Pachycetus. Further, genetic analysis has shown that whales are most closely related to the family of animals which include hippos. This of course falsifies standard creationism (in which whales are clearly supposed to be different "biblical kinds" from all land animals), but also Behe's version.

Dembski's theory has different problems. It states that when we find anything in the universe which is sufficiently unlikely, we can conclude that it could not have happened by chance and that an intelligent agent must have caused it. The first problem is defining the default ("random") hypothesis that gets used to calculate likelihoods. Dembski does not allow for the possibility of spontaneous pattern formation, or any process which "creates information", or any process (like evolution, or the formula to create the Mandelbrot set) which iterates on itself. In a sense, he has "defined out" evolution before he even starts. Anyway, if one takes his theory at face value, we are then forced to conclude that the existence of a raindrop or a soap bubble (both highly unlikely near-perfect spherical arrangements of water) requires an intelligent designer to have specified and created their shapes.

Also, since Dembski has given his theory in mathematical form, it is possible (though painful) to walk through his derivation and figure out where he goes wrong. After a few minor errors that are probably fixable, he at one point gets confused and in effect takes a logarithm twice when he should only have taken it once. This throws off his bound for inferring a designer by a whopping factor of 10^90, i.e. 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. This makes him far more wrong than young earth creationists, who get the age of the earth wrong by "only" a factor of a million or so.

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