[FoRK] Science Braces for Second Term

damien morton fork at bitfurnace.com
Wed Nov 17 09:05:48 PST 2004


What also missing is any notion of "testability" in relation to 
theories. A theory isnt worth squat unless theres a way to disprove it.

If this material is going to be included, then it should set in context 
   not with a sticker, but a full semester on the nature of science - 
Thoman Khun, Lakatos, et al.

It always struck me as strange, the religious rejection of evolution. I 
think it has more to do with a rejection of notions about change than a 
problem with evolution itself. To say that history is 6000 years old, 
and we have it all in a book, and people are people like they pretty 
much always have been is a tremendously comforting thing, for some, I 
imagine. To say that we are what we always were and will always be...

Stephen D. Williams wrote:
> You're missing the obvious target of any 'theory' warning label that 
> would go right to the heart of the matter: religion and theism.
> When history/sociology and health (which is where personal psychology 
> and something like philosophy are now taught) classes mention religion, 
> why isn't there a similar disclaimer?
> 
> I could only accept the paragraph if the last sentence began: "This 
> material and other theories with far less factual support like religion 
> and a belief in God should be approached...".  Additionally, I would 
> require two more sentences: "The theory of evolution is supported by 
> many facts and the opinions of nearly all of the most educated 
> scientists.  Religion and belief in God is supported by few if any facts 
> and is taught by those who benefit from its continuance and expansion, 
> not by its truth."  The whole theory vs. fact distinction needs a good 
> discussion of probability, scientific method, etc.  Time-tested theories 
> that best explain something are treated as fact by scientist and most 
> others who simply remain on watch for alternative explanations that have 
> MORE fact to back them up.
> 
> The final paragraph would read:
> 
> "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, 
> not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material and 
> other theories with far less factual support like religion and a belief 
> in God should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and 
> critically considered. The theory of evolution is supported by many 
> facts and the opinions of nearly all of the most educated scientists.  
> Religion and belief in God is supported by few if any facts and is 
> taught by those who benefit from its continuance and expansion, not by 
> its truth."
> Possibly including: "Time-tested theories that best explain something 
> are treated as fact by scientist and most others who simply remain on 
> watch for alternative explanations that have MORE fact to back them up."
> 
> sdw
> 
> Mark Day wrote:
> 
>>> A trial in Cobb County, Georgia, is
>>> currently weighing the legality of adding disclaimers to science 
>>> textbooks
>>> that say evolution is a "theory, not a fact."
>>>   
>>
>>
>> The full label says:
>> "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, 
>> not a
>> fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be
>> approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically 
>> considered."
>> I know the goal of the label is pernicious, but I kind of like the label.
>> In fact, I want to see a deal brokered where the case against the 
>> evolution
>> label is dropped in return for a similar, broader warning label on every
>> aspect of the entire school curriculum.  Advocating the questioning of
>> authority and critical thinking about the material is great, so let's 
>> grab
>> that opening and push it WAY beyond what the label's current advocates 
>> are
>> trying for. 
>> --Mark
>>
>>
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> 
> 



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