From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
"an unseen force" somehow doesn't sound so "intelligent"

August 3, 2005 12:47 AM

Somehow I find this a really really funny opening paragraph for a front page story in the Washington Post: "President Bush invigorated proponents of teaching alternatives to evolution in public schools with remarks saying that schoolchildren should be taught about 'intelligent design,' a view of creation that challenges established scientific thinking and promotes the idea that an unseen force is behind the development of humanity."

Sometimes, I can totally see what people are talking about when they complain about the "liberal media". Of course, "An unseen force" is totally accurate.. And the creationists have no one to blame but themselves -- they're the ones dumbing down what they believe to reach out to a larger audience. It makes Bush sound like a conspiracy nut though.. which is always amusing. Ha!

More from the archive in Bush, Religion.

"an unseen force" somehow doesn't sound so "intelligent" (08.03.2005)

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Read the 7 comments.

Sponge Bob:

"Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about," he said, according to an official transcript of the session. Bush added: "Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . . You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."

The horrors, exposing children to ideas and asking them to think.

Much like the "sticker shock" that was stamped out by the courts in Georgia:

"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 guess having an open mind and using critical thinking to analyze course material is perilous for the unwashed masses. Good thing the courts stepped in and stopped this dangerous practice.

Wed Aug 3 2005 10:32 AM

Tom from Madison:

Uh Bob,

by your logic physics classes shouldn't teach relativity THEORY either. It's not a "FACT".

You're free to adopt the anti-intellectual mind-set of the Middle Ages if you like, but please keep it out of the public schools.

Right wing-nuts are badly in need of some historical perspective. Science has forced religious educators to drop their positions on the geo-centric universe, the evil of left-handedness, and their insistance that all inherited characteristics come from the male side of the family.

But Hey, guys like Copernicus, Gallileo, Mendel, Darwin, and Einstein were nothng more than secular humanists, right? I'm sure the Attorney General would agree.

Bottom line: Biblical literalism is not science and shouldn't be taught as such.

Wed Aug 3 2005 1:28 PM


Wow, way to stiffle free thought Tom. Any other beliefs of your you want to force down the kids throats? Maybe burn some bibles on lunch break?

Wed Aug 3 2005 1:44 PM

Sponge Bob:

Tome please read my post. Your cut and paste reply does not work in this case. No one advocated that evolution NOT be taught. I understand how liberals are threaten by people that are encouraged to THINK for themselves.

I personally don't think that ID should be taught with the same weight as Evolution. It should be mentioned or discussed at least in passing - much like in history the theory that Oswald did not act alone should be mentioned to students when discussing the Kennedy assassination, complete ignorance of this competing theory (false or not) diminishes the education value. I feel the legal system is doing a disservice by banning the topic from even being discussed in public education.

The "sticker shock" case in Georgia didn't mention ID or any other theory on the origin on species or man, it simply encouraged students to think for themselves. That was too much for the ACLU and they quickly stomped the idea into the ground.

The "disclaimer" was simply a sticker that stated:

"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 guess having an open mind and using critical thinking to analyze course material is perilous for the unwashed masses. Good thing the courts stepped in and stopped this dangerous practice.

Much has been made by MSM of the about the current change in science standards in Kansas. When one finally wades through all the BS being touted by the NEA, MSM and other equally biased and uninformed talking heads the proposed change is quite minor:


1. Change the mission of science education to add the word "informed:"

"Kansas science education contributes to the preparation of all students as lifelong learners who can use science to make informed and reasoned decisions that contribute to their local, state, national and international communities."

Explanation: Proponents say this change reflects their core concern. A "reasoned" decision can be a bad decision if it is not dequately "informed." This is important because scientific explanations have a significant impact on many important decisions, including those about religion, government and ethics.

2. Expand information about the theory of evolution.

Explanation: Proponents claim that their changes to the evolution section seek to more adequately
inform students about the theory of evolution and the assumptions upon which it is predicated. The list on the back explains some of the additional information that students would understand.

3. Change the definition of science.

Current definition: "Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us."

Proposed change: "Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation that uses observation
hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory-building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena."

Explanation: Proponents argue the proposed definition, recently adopted in Ohio, opens scientific inquiry while being religiously neutral.

4. Make it clear that evolution is a theory, not an established fact.

Explanation: Proponents believe this change is important because many fundamental questions remain unanswered regarding the adequacy of evolutionary mechanisms, and because evolution is a subjective, historical science that offers an answer to a question fundamental to theistic and non-theistic religion: "Where did we come from?"

5. Require students to understand how historical and experimental sciences differ.

Explanation. Proponents believe students should understand 1) how geologists, anthropologists,
evolutionary biologists and other historical scientists test their hypotheses, and 2) that explanations of unobserved events occurring in the remote past are necessarily more tentative than those for phenomena that can be observed and tested in real-time under controlled conditions.


If one were to read the NY Times one would think all the science books in Kansas were all about to be burned and the Bible would replace the text (I think this is where Tom is coming from). The long and the short is that students would be taught Darwin's theory but the holes in that theory would also be exposed. No competing theory (Intelligent Design etc.) would be taught or allowed to be taught.

Wed Aug 3 2005 3:15 PM

Tom from Madison:


You continue to miss my point.

What you are referring to as "intelligent design" isn't science at all. It's religious dogma dressed up as science to be appealing to people whose religion refuses to allow them to accept real science. If we're going to start teaching creation myths as scientific theories, that should be handled outside of the science curriculum.

Please don't drag in your hatred of the NY Times. That's irrelevant to this discussion.

Your talking points amount to creation of a straw man for you to set fire to. I can't help but notice that design is FAR FROM INTELLIGENT!

Thu Aug 4 2005 5:12 PM

Sponge Bob:

Tom, YOU continue to miss the point. ID was never part of the argument in Kansas or the Georgia case but was dragged in by the ACLU (and like minded Kooks) simply because it could be related through 7 degrees of separation. MSM has taken their talking points from the NEA and ACLU and run the stories to death without even examining the evidence.

Read my posts above, neither state even mentions ID or even suggests that it should be mentioned as an alternative to evolution. How did that become part of the argument?

Fri Aug 5 2005 6:26 PM

Tom from Madison:


Jim framed the initial discussion. What was previously known as "Creationism" has morphed into "Intelligent Design".

I'm reacting to the notion that exposing people to your assertion that having a different schools of thought is reason enough to teach half-baked theories as science. Evolution is main-stream scientific theory. Deal with it.

I'm all for teaching students about the debate between evolution and other theories. This discussion belongs in a History or Social Science class. Ignoring the fact that Evolutionary theory has been the most useful paradigm for understanding the biological universe would be denying kids the opportunity to study real science.

Evolution needs to fairly reprsented in this discussion as well. Evolution and creation are not mutually exclusive ideas.

Mon Aug 8 2005 11:40 AM

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