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August 7th, 2010
July 26th, 2006

Peer Review of “The Minority Report”

Ten scientists from around the country submitted critiques of the Minority report.

Review of Minority Report: by Robert Dennison
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“A primary goal of the Kansas Science Standards, like the National Science Standards, is the development of scientifically literate students. All science teachers share this same goal.

Unfortunately, the proposed revisions would seriously undermine the efforts of Kansas science teachers to achieve this critical goal. While a few of the changes seem innocuous at first glance, upon reading the explanations and after considering the sum of those revisions it is clear that the cumulative effect would be to gravely weaken science instruction in the state of Kansas.”

Review of Minority Report: by Joe Heppert
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“The proponent’s proposed changes to the evolution section confuse and obscure the principles of evolutionary theory through the use of erroneous and confusing philosophical language and misinformation. Evolutionary theory is a wellaccepted scientific theory among all mainstream scientific organizations. It is a mature theory that has been refined over the past 150 years. There are no scientifically valid alternatives to evolutionary theory. There is no scientifically or educationally valid rationale for singling out evolutionary theory from among other scientific theories for critical examination.”

Review of Minority Report: by James R. Hoffman
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“Methodological naturalism is simply the search for natural explanations for observed phenomena. It does not entail naturalism, commonly known as materialism, nor does it rule out the existence of supernatural factors that science cannot address.”

Review of Minority Report: by Gary Hurd
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“These proposed alterations to the Draft Standards are a mixture of seemingly innocuous word substitutions and flagrant errors of fact and logic that would, if adopted, result in unusable curriculum standards and costly lawsuits.”

Review of Minority Report: by Douglas L. Theobald
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“These Revisions have been formulated by IDNet, a political “think tank” advocating the pseudoscientific concept of “intelligent design” (ID). While I personally believe that the universe was designed by an intelligence, the current ID political movement has no scientific credibility. ID proponents distort scientific knowledge by claiming that contemporary evolutionary theory cannot explain the diversity of life. So far, the ID movement has failed to provide any scientific evidence to support their claims. ID proponents have never published any original research in peer-reviewed scientific journals providing evidence for ID. Most importantly, ID adherents have not proposed any scientific tests for their claims. ID is therefore rejected by the vast majority of active scientific researchers in the life sciences, not because of any philosophical or religious bias, but rather because ID currently has no scientific support or utility whatsoever.”

Review of Minority Report: by Taner Edis
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“A handful of people who hold scientific credentials disagreeing with evolution is not the same as a scientific disagreement. The “other scientists” in question have not even begun to produce the peer-reviewed research which could eventually lead to a genuine scientific disagreement about evolution.”

Review of Minority Report: by Scott Brande
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“As numerous other scientists have noted, intelligent design isn’t really about science. It’s about religion, and the Intelligent Design Network must believe either that you’re not smart enough to understand this critical distinction, or that you will bow to public pressure…”

“…the core of intelligent design is a master designer who directs the formation of complex life, and indirectly happens to accord with a personal deity and savior for many people. But scientific understanding is not based upon the popularity of religious doctrine.”

Review of Minority Report: by E.O. Wiley
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“…everyone who problem-solves uses methodological naturalism. When we are faced with a puzzle or wish to accomplish some task, we switch to the mode of methodological naturalism and seek natural explanations or solutions. Scientists do this. Bankers do this. Farmers do this. In fact, just about everyone does this. Imagine if I went to my auto mechanic and he said: “Well, it might be the brakes or it might be an evil spirit.”

Should I give equal weight to the “evil spirit” hypothesis? After all, someone probably believes it, this mechanic for one.”

Review of Minority Report: by Karen Bartelt

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“As soon as the “Proponents” come up with evidential verification, have it peer-reviewed, and present it at scientific meetings, such “scientific information” may then rightly be discussed at the high school level and below.”

Review of Minority Report: by Ken Miller
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“Unlike the situation in 1999, the authors of the minority report may have hoped to escape scrutiny by leaving evolution in the curriculum — but what their changes would actually do to Kansas’ science standards is far more radical and much more dangerous.

The goals of the eight dissenters are clear. They plan to use the classroom to undermine evolution in a manner that clears the way for supernatural explanations regarding the origins of species. This would allow them to redefine religious beliefs as scientific ones, misleading students as to the nature of science, and entangling science classrooms throughout Kansas in an endless and unproductive battle between the multiple religious interpretations of origins that characterize our pluralistic society.”

July 8th, 2006

The Wedge Document

According to Phillip Johnson: “The movement we now call the Wedge made its public debut at a conference of scientists and philosophers held at Southern Methodist University in March 1992, following the publication of my book ‘Darwin on Trial’. The conference brought together as speakers some key Wedge figures, particularly Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, and myself.”
This copy of “The Wedge Strategy” was obtained from a reliable source, and is consistent with other published documents about the plans that the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture has for science in America.

Download a copy of this document here.

THE WEDGE STRATEGY
CENTER FOR THE RENEWAL OF SCIENCE AND CULTURE (CSRC)
[Ed. A branch of the Discovery Institute]
INTRODUCTION

The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built. Its influence can be detected in most, if not all, of the West’s greatest achievements, including representative democracy, human rights, free enterprise, and progress in the arts and sciences.

Yet a little over a century ago, this cardinal idea came under wholesale attack by intellectuals drawing on the discoveries of modern science. Debunking the traditional conceptions of both God and man, thinkers such as Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud portrayed humans not as moral and spiritual beings, but as animals or machines who inhabited a universe ruled by purely impersonal forces and whose behavior and very thoughts were dictated by the unbending forces of biology, chemistry, and environment. This materialistic conception of reality eventually infected virtually every area of our culture, from politics and economics to literature and art.

The cultural consequences of this triumph of materialism were devastating. Materialists denied the existence of objective moral standards, claiming that environment dictates our behavior and beliefs. Such moral relativism was uncritically adopted by much of the social sciences, and it still undergirds much of modern economics, political science, psychology and sociology.

Materialists also undermined personal responsibility by asserting that human thoughts and behaviors are dictated by our biology and environment. The results can be seen in modern approaches to criminal justice, product liability, and welfare. In the materialist scheme of things, everyone is a victim and no one can be held accountable for his or her actions.

Finally, materialism spawned a virulent strain of utopianism. Thinking they could engineer the perfect society through the application of scientific knowledge, materialist reformers advocated coercive government programs that falsely promised to create heaven on earth.

Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. Bringing together leading scholars from the natural sciences and those from the humanities and social sciences, the Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature. The Center awards fellowships for original research, holds conferences, and briefs policymakers about the opportunities for life after materialism.

The Center is directed by Discovery Senior Fellow Dr. Stephen Meyer. An Associate Professor of Philosophy at Whitworth College, Dr. Meyer holds a Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge University. He formerly worked as a geophysicist for the Atlantic Richfield Company.
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April 13th, 2006

Nobel Laureate Rejects BOE Re-Definition of Science

Download the letter written by Dr. Robert Horvitz, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology, to the USD383 School Board, supporting the KSU Resolution to reject the BOE’s re-definition of science.

Click here to download the letter

Also available at the USD383 website, District/Board of Education, in the 02-15-06 Board Packet (page 70)

*Note* There are many good letters in this packet of information. They start at page 56, and run through page 74 (which ends with a nice letter by our very own Keith Miller!)

April 4th, 2006

Tower of Babel – The Evidence Against the New Creationism

Tower of Babel – The Evidence Against the New Creationism

From review on MIT Press

Creationism is no longer the simple notion it once was taken to be. Its new advocates have become more sophisticated in how they present their views, speaking of “intelligent design” rather than “creation science” and aiming their arguments against the naturalistic philosophical method that underlies science, proposing to replace it with a “theistic science.” The creationism controversy is not just about the status of Darwinian evolution–it is a clash of religious and philosophical worldviews, for a common underlying fear among Creationists is that evolution undermines both the basis of morality as they understand it and the possibility of purpose in life.

In Tower of Babel, philosopher Robert T. Pennock compares the views of the new creationists with those of the old and reveals the insubstantiality of their arguments. One of Pennock’s major innovations is to turn from biological evolution to the less charged subject of linguistic evolution, which has strong theoretical parallels with biological evolution, both in content and in the sort of evidence scientists use to draw conclusions about origins. Of course, an evolutionary view of language does conflict with the Bible, which says that God created the variety of languages at one time as punishment for the Tower of Babel.

Several chapters deal with the work of Phillip Johnson, a highly influential leader of the new Creationists. Against his and other views, Pennock explains how science uses naturalism and discusses the relationship between factual and moral issues in the creationism-evolution controversy. The book also includes a discussion of Darwin’s own shift from creationist to evolutionist and an extended argument for keeping private religious beliefs separate from public scientific knowledge.

Robert T. Pennock is Associate Professor at the Lyman Briggs School and in the Department of Philosophy at Michigan State University.

April 4th, 2006

Unintelligent Design

Unintelligent Design, by Mark Perakh

From a review on Amazon.com by Gary Hurd

Perakh organized his text into three sections. The first two take up issues of creationism, first Intelligent Design (ID), and second the earlier but still influential Scientific Creationism. Significant authors from each of these pseudosciences are addressed in their own chapters. William Dembski, Michael Behe, and Phillip Johnson are the ID representatives. Perakh’s thorough demolishment of Dembski’s thesis in Chapter 1 (the longest single chapter) alone is worth the price of the book. Not only was Perakh thorough, but understandable using clear language and reasoning. His many years as a teacher are obvious in these pages.

April 4th, 2006

Perspectives on an Evolving Creation

Perspectives on an Evolving Creation

http://www.asa3.org/ASA/education/origins/pec.htm

According to the authors of our book, who explore evolutionary theory from a clear Christian perspective, the common view of conflict between evolutionary theory and Christian faith is mistaken.

Written by contributors representing the natural sciences, philosophy, theology, and the history of science, this thought-provoking work is informed by both solid scientific knowledge and keen theological insight.

The three sections of the book address: (1) relevant biblical, historical, and scientific background, (2) the scientific evidence for an evolving creation, and (3) theological issues commonly raised in connection with evolution, including the nature of God’s creative activity, the meaning of the miraculous, and the uniqueness of humankind. Woven through the volume are short meditations designed to direct readers toward worshiping the God of providence.

April 3rd, 2006

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

The Demon Haunted World

Quite possibly the best, all-around, pro-science book ever written. Absolutely superb!

April 3rd, 2006
April 3rd, 2006

Finding Darwin’s God

Findind Darwin’s God: A Scientist’s Search for Common Ground Between God & Evolution

This book should be a “must read” for anyone interested in the “controversy” over evolution and “Intelligent Design”.

The author is both a scientist, who accepts the Theory of Evolution as the best explanation for the diversity of life we see in the world around us, and a Christian.

The mere existence of this book nicely demolishes any accusations that science (and especially evolution) is, or supports atheism, and in fact shows how an understanding of evolution can lead to a deeper reverence for, a greater faith in, God.