Science is Agnostic
Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education gives an excellent lecture on why the dichotomy presented by the Discovery Institute is false, and why importing atheist philosophy into science class isn’t right either. Eugenie’s new book is also available at Amazon, see the link below the video.
In the wake of the Barack Obama association with Bill Ayers and friends, Zombie pointed out something that many people in the mainstream press conveniently forget or forgive — the Weather Underground wasn’t just anti-war. Instead like ANSWER, WCW, and UFPJ they were, and remain radical communists bent on revolution. Many of their activities occurred after the US had already pulled out of Viet Nam, Zombie recalls a few:
May 18, 1973 – The bombing of the 103rd Police Precinct in New York. WUO states this is in response to the killing of 10-year-old black youth Clifford Glover by police.
September 28, 1973 – The ITT headquarters in New York and Rome, Italy are bombed. WUO states this is in response to ITT’s alleged role in the Chilean coup earlier that month. [NYT, 9/28/73]
March 6, 1974 – Bombing of the Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare offices in San Francisco. WUO states this is to protest alleged sterilization of poor women. In the accompanying communiqué, the Women’s Brigade argues for “the need for women to take control of daycare, healthcare, birth control and other aspects of women’s daily lives.”
May 31, 1974 – The Office of the California Attorney General is bombed. WUO states this is in response to the killing of six members of the Symbionese Liberation Army.
July, 1974 – The WUO releases the book Prairie Fire, in which they indicate the need for a unified Communist Party. They encourage the creation of study groups to discuss their ideology, and continue to stress the need for violent acts. The book also admits WUO responsibility of several actions from previous years. The Prairie Fire Organizing Committee (PFOC) arises from the teachings in this book and is organized by many former WUO members.
September 11, 1974 – Bombing of Anaconda Corporation (part of the Rockefeller Corporation). WUO states this is in retribution for Anaconda’s alleged involvement in the Chilean coup the previous year.
June 16, 1975 – Weathermen bomb a Banco de Ponce (a Puerto Rican bank) in New York, WUO states this is in solidarity with striking Puerto Rican cement workers.
Meanwhile the AP is calling Sarah Palin racist for mentioning this long time associate of Barack Obama’s. Notice that the article fails to mention the Chicago Annenberg Challenge that Barack and Bill worked on together, or the education panel that Michelle Obama asked Bill and Barry both to speak at, or the glowing book review Barrack gave Bill’s book.
NO, they were just acquaintances according to AP, and if you bring this up then you must be racist. The Press is taking Barack Obama from Post-Racial to Most-Racial candidate whether he wants to go there or not. More at LGF
Oh, and for the leftists who think I”m going over the top by calling Ayers a communist, here’s his blog read for yourself, he’s not taking pains to hide it.
h/t Intrepid for the “Post-racial to most-racial” line.
“Chicago’s former schools chief has flunked the education foundation headed by Barack Obama and founded by 1960s terrorist Bill Ayers – saying it failed to monitor projects and funded school ‘reform’ groups that campaigned against boosting academic standards.” — New York Post
“‘F’ For Barack’s School Fix”
By Carl Campanile
New York Post
October 20, 2008
Chicago’s former schools chief has flunked the education foundation headed by Barack Obama and founded by 1960s terrorist Bill Ayers – saying it failed to monitor projects and funded school “reform” groups that campaigned against boosting academic standards.
“There was a total lack of accountability. If you went back and asked, you’d be hard-pressed to find out how the money was spent,” said Paul Vallas, the city’s school superintendent when Obama chaired the Chicago Annenberg Foundation from 1995 to 1999.
Annenberg spent $49.5 million, mostly on grants to 211 public schools that partnered with community-based groups. But despite collecting millions, those schools performed no better than other public schools, a study found.
Ayers, a professor of education at the University of Illinois and an ex-Weather Underground bomber, wrote the grant that won the Windy City funding from the national Annenberg Challenge. He was a key adviser to the Chicago Annenberg board.
While much debate has centered on Obama’s relationship with Ayers, there’s been virtually no discussion about how the Annenberg schools performed.
“Very little of the money found its way directly into the classroom,” Vallas said.
Most frustrating, Vallas said, was that Annenberg under Obama and Ayers funded groups that fought his mission, under Mayor Richard Daley, to impose uniform standards and stricter accountability in low-performing schools.
Many of Vallas’ goals were later adopted by Mayor Bloomberg in Big Apple schools.
“Many of the school-reform groups viewed greater accountability as an infringement of local control. Some opposed ending social promotion and grade retention,” Vallas said.
Last week the McCain campaign released an ad that I also carried stating that Obama supported teaching comprehensive sex education to kindergartners. The Obama camp immediately went into high dudgeon and hysteria, calling the ad a lie, and by implication McCain a liar. The ad turns out to be true, it did miss another Obama education “accomplishment”, but more on that later.
First Byron York at National Review Online investigated the ad, and you can read the article here, below is Byron’s conclusion:
Obama’s explanation for his vote has been accepted by nearly all commentators. And perhaps that is indeed why he voted for Senate Bill 99, although we don’t know for sure. But we do know that the bill itself was much more than that. The fact is, the bill’s intention was to mandate sex education, especially concerning contraception and the prevention of sexually-transmitted diseases, for children before the sixth grade and as early as kindergarten. Obama’s defenders may howl, but the bill is what it is. [* note that the reply is much more extensive than this, please go to the site and read the full detail]
You can also see the key provisions of the K-6 additions that bill 99 added at McCain’s campaign website in their detailed reply:
Please find the facts below:
In the Illinois State Legislature, Barack Obama voted for legislation to alter Illinois’ Sex Education standards to include instruction in any grade from Kindergarten through 12th grade. The legislation passed Barack Obama’s Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee that he chaired. As the Chicago Daily Herald stated, “the legislation included a provision to allow students from kindergarten through fifth grade to be added to the middle and high school students receiving sex education.”
Despite the Obama campaign’s claims, this bill was intended to provide children as young as Kindergarten with sex education. According to the legislation itself, “Each class or course in comprehensive sex education offered in any of grades K through 12 shall include instruction on the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including the prevention, transmission and spread of HIV.” This legislation stated expressly that children in grade 12 were to be education about sexually transmitted diseases.
In 2007, Barack Obama told Planned Parenthood that he supported sex education for Kindergarteners as long as it was “age-appropriate.” Thus on two separate occasions we have Barack Obama supporting the expansion of sex education to Kindergarteners.
Defending Barack Obama’s statement, the Obama campaign cited far-reaching SIECUS curriculum as the model. The SIECUS curriculum goes far beyond appropriate touching. The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) supports a comprehensive approach to sex education, beginning as early as ages 5-8. For Level 1 sex education (ages 5 through 8), the guidelines include much more than appropriate touching. The curriculum includes lines that are not appropriate for us to state here but please see the link to the guidelines here: http://www.siecus.org/_data/global/images/guidelines.pdf. This is the model provided by the Obama campaign and no one else.
You can also reference the Chicago Tribune article on the bill from that time:
Chicago Daily Herald: “At one point, the legislation included a provision to allow students from kindergarten through fifth grade to be added to the middle and high school students receiving sex education. Obama was chairman of the Senate committee that voted along party lines to move along the measure, which ultimately went nowhere.” (Eric Krol, “Obama Clarifies Sex Ed Views At Benedictiine,” Chicago Daily Herald, 10/6/04)
Will Barack Obama’s reply be that this was one of those days when he wasn’t there but voted “present?” There’s no real comeback for Barry, he either was there and wasn’t paying attention even though he was chair, or he supported teaching comprehensive sex ed to Kindergartners.
Barack Obama doesn’t have many actions due to his lack of experience, so we have to judge him by the few we can find — this is one, the only other education accomplishment I can find is his appointment of liberal cronies and leftists as principals in Chicago schools under the Annenberg Challenge with Bill Ayers.
Ouch, that’s not going to sit well with most Americans.
Even though I am atheist, I don’t have a problem with intelligent design, or the existence of G-D: both are distinct possibilities if you are talking about the origin of the universe, or of life itself. The issue isn’t with Intelligent design and belief in a creator as the movie “Expelled” poorly attempts to portray. Ir’s about their markedly political agenda to discredit evolution and to stop its teaching in science class.
When I said poorly above it’s because there is a certain amount of deceit in the movie. You have to wonder why they leave an interview with a Christian evolutionary biologist on the cutting room floor if the movie’s really about academic freedom?
You don’t have to disbelieve G-D to oppose the Discovery Institute and their aims. You don’t get special credit in heaven for supporting them either, because they are attacking truth as scientists know it today through deceit. As the good book says “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
While there certainly are rabid atheist secularists out there like Richard Dawkins, they are the exception, not the rule. Interviewing Dawkins on a subject such as this would be like interviewing Fred Phelps in a documentary about Christianity – you would be guaranteed some juicy bits, but would you really be portraying Christianity truthfully? I think not.
Forty percent of scientists believe in G-D in one form of religion or another. So why would the film attack atheism? Why would it attack science with the blood libel that they created the holocaust?
Those are not rhetorical questions: those are questions you need to ask yourself; and then you need to read the Wedge Document here which was leaked from the Discovery Institute. Before you accuse me of trusting wiki etc. be aware that the Institute, and the documents creators have admitted that it is real, however they do make serious attempts to downplay it, as noted here. (There are plenty of links at the bottom, citations, as well as a photocopy of the cover of the doc.)
The theory of evolution makes no claim to “knowing” how life started, or how the universe originated. How life and the universe began are hot topics of controversy within science, they are unsettled fields, and they are exciting fields. Religious scientists want to find truth every bit as much as the atheist and agnostics do, I would imagine they look upon it as discovery of G-D’s work.
So Ben sets up one strawman argument, and then rebutted himself. The other strawman shaken in our faces in the movie is the assumption that evolutionary theory is never challenged. This is somewhat over the top as it does get challenged regularly, not only by creationists, but also by scientists themselves. The debate over the details and mechanisms of evolution has raged across science for a long time, and it will continue to do so for it helps fuel new discoveries.
One of the strategies of the Discovery Institute is to attack and invalidate evolution by “teaching the controversy” – however when I studied evolution they were ahead of the DI. In other words my teachers did teach that there were gaps in fossil records and that there were controversies in Evolution. Teaching what we don’t know is an important part of science education. The unanswered questions are the exciting parts for scientists and for students after all.
In the end you have to wonder who is closer to G-D – a scientist who studies wonders such as this in daily awe at the universe, or a disingenuous PR flack for a neo-luddite political think-tank?
Expelled exposed – a site that exposes the deceit and flaws in the movie
The Discovery Institute – the think tank
The Panda’s Thumb – an evolution blog
Talk Origins FAQ – records and debunking of the various claims against evolution