Sunday, October 19, 2008

Defend science teaching in Texas

Came across this piece of news which I thought should be shared.

Longtime incumbent faces challenge from former educator in Board of Education race

The candidates running for the District 2 seat of the Texas State Board of Education want students to have the best education possible. But their views on what students should be taught in school differ greatly.

I expect that anyone reading my blog will quickly figure out what this is all about. Someone wants to introduce Intelligent Design (or neo-Creationism as I usually prefer to refer to it) in science class.

And keeping that in mind, I'll say that it's not true that both the candidates wants the students to have the best education possible. One of the candidates wants the students to receive proper education, while the other one wants to peddle nonsense to the students, possible disqualifying them from studying science, if they were so inclined.

So, who are the people involved.

Longtime board member Mary Helen Berlanga, a lawyer from Corpus Christi, faces opposition from Peter H. Johnston, a former educator from Wharton County, about 60 miles southwest of Houston. Johnston now owns The Joseph Group, a research firm that studies legal and public policy issues.

Berlanga is for proper science teaching, while Johnston (perhaps unsurprising given his background) has this to say about science:

Johnston, 55, a former school teacher and interim principal of Living Water Christian School in Rosenberg, said he believes schools should teach the strengths and weaknesses of all theories.

"By law (schools) have to teach the strengths and weaknesses of (all) scientific theories," he said. "A movement to take out the weaknesses, I think, would be a tremendous mistake and detrimental to students to compromise facts. Intelligent design is a bona fide scientific theory."

Scientific theories doesn't have any weaknesses. Otherwise they wouldn't be scientific theories. There might be issues that's unclear, but the overall ideas and concepts have been tried and tested true, and is not only supported by evidence, but have no evidence against them. It's true that there are certain scientific theories which are known to be unable to explain certain aspects, which tells us that there are still some adjustment to be done, but evolution is not one of these. The theory of evolution has been challenged for 150 years, and while it has been expanded, the fundamental idea still remains the same.

Intelligent design on the other hand, has no strengths nor weaknesses, as it's not a scientific theory. Since it explains everything by claiming that a non-defined intelligent designer did it in some non-defined way, it explains nothing. As such, it has nothing to do in science class (nor in philosophy class as some people seem to think).

So, if you're an Texan living in District 2, I urge you to vote for Berlanga.

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