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Thursday, August 28, 2003

Quote of the day

This from Paul Meyers at Pharyngula about the push to include Intelligent Design in biology textbooks as a competing theory for the origin of life:

Unfortunately, none of this is what "teach the controversy" means to the Discovery Institute or the Texas Board. What they mean is that we ought to give half-assed, metaphysical speculation about deities or aliens from outer space guiding the history of life on earth all the weight we would give to the RNA World hypothesis or endosymbiosis. Intelligent design has not earned that kind of respect. If I were compelled to address the issue of Intelligent Design in a one hour lecture, it could be nothing but a scathing deconstruction that highlighted the lack of evidence, the lack of research prospects, and the abysmally poor scholarship and misguided sociopolitical motivations of its proponents. It would be a disservice to my students, however, who are presumably in class to learn some real science, rather than hear about the superstitious delusions of a group of politically astute clowns.
Personally, I'd like to see a chapter defining the basic logical fallacies included in all science textbooks. Argumentum ad numerum is currently my favorite, but there are so many others. False dichotomy is also a good one. I wonder how early these could be taught? Fourth grade, maybe? Its possible that early training in logic might prevent people from becoming attached to stupid ideas that they will later hang onto and defend out of nostalgia or sense of tradition.

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