Friday, March 20, 2009

Food for Thought #9: Theoretically Speaking

The irony is different today than when Hugo Rheinhold first sculpted this statue in the 1890s.

Photo Source: Wikipedia

This week, a Texas legislator introduced a bill to allow a Bible institute to offer a Master’s degree in science education without obtaining certification from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. “Why are people who call themselves scientists afraid to hear two sides of a debate?” complained Representative Leo Berman (R-Tyler). Berman introduced his bill after The Institute for Creation Research was denied authority to offer the degree last year.

So that brings me to this week’s menu:

Appetizer: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
A delicious Slimfast bar, Oatmeal Resin. Got to watch my figure!
Soup: Phish or Monkees?
I love the original Monkees, especially their cover of Neil Diamond’s “I’m a Believer.” Phish reminds me of the Grateful Dead: long, rambling, and loose, but the Dead had better vocals.
Salad: What is your first reaction when you hear the phrase, “I don’t believe in evolution”?
—I don’t believe in you, either.” Evolution, like gravity, is not subject to belief or disbelief; it is. We have demonstrable proof that species evolve. We don’t even have to look at the geological record. Species change over centuries, sometimes within a short time than that.
The questions that remain unanswered are:
  • Why did the process start?
  • What does it mean?
  • Where will it go?
Entré: What do you think about attempts to legislate science or even just how science is taught?
We know what happened when the Soviet Union tried to legislate crops to grow during a drought. As a wise man—I won’t say who to avoid displaying my overt geekiness—once said, “Ya canno’ change the laws of physics!”
Similarly, if we pass a law that requires we teach that light travels in a spiral, it won’t mean that kid who learn that will be able to see around corners. All it would accomplish is to prevent those kids from being able to understand how lasers, and therefore CD players, work.
Dessert: Has the word “theory” been stripped of its scientific meaning or become loaded with excess emotional baggage?
I think so. One of the arguments the Luddites make is that we should teach creationism along side evolution because they are both theories. But they are not. Evolution is a theory in that it is backed by empirical research that can be reproduced by anyone willing to do the work. Creationism is a myth backed by a book written long, long ago. Attempts to wrap it in the scientific mantle disrespect the basic tenets both science and Christianity.
That is just one example of how the meaning of “theory” has become degraded.

2 comments:

Lee said...

Here is the code for this week’s menu:

<dl><dt><strong>Appetizer: </strong>What did you have for breakfast this morning? </dt>
<dd>X</dd>
<dt><strong>Soup: </strong>Phish or Monkees? </dt>
<dd>X</dd>
<dt><strong>Salad: </strong>What is your first reaction when you hear the phrase, “I don’t believe in evolution”? </dt>
<dd>X</dd>
<dt><strong>Entré: </strong>What do you think about attempts to legislate science or even just how science is taught? </dt>
<dd>X</dd>
<dt><strong>Dessert: </strong>Has the word “theory” been stripped of its scientific meaning or become loaded with excess emotional baggage? </dt>
<dd>X</dd></dl>

Dragonfly said...

http://dragonflysoars.blogspot.com/2009/03/food-for-thought-9-theoretically.html

Post a Comment