Wednesday, November 19, 2014

More Trouble in Texas

Io9 is reporting on a movement afoot to censor the textbooks in Texas of what it considers “Pro-Muslim” bias.
Science groups have been working to prevent the Texas State Board of Education from adopting controversial textbooks that misrepresent climate change. But now another organization has joined the fray, demanding extensive edits in science, geography and history textbooks to purge them of "pro-Muslim" bias.

Six months ago, a self-described grassroots group called Truth in Texas Textbooks (TTT) began mobilizing "volunteer scholars" to conduct a sentence-by-sentence assessment of 32 textbooks being used in the state's schools. They've just published a 469-page review of their research, declaring that they found a pattern of factual omissions motivated by a pernicious leftwing bias.

TTT, which has gotten high marks for its efforts from right wing sites like Breitbart, was, in fact, founded by members of Act! For America.
Act! is a group that is, according to the story, dedicated to defending against radical Islam.  Sure looks like they are just against good science.  One can see the shadow of Don McLeroy looming large.  For example, in the report they make the following notes:
What the textbook says: "Fossils, or preserved remains, found on Java suggest that human life existed there as early as 1.7 million years ago."
What TTT says: Other scientists do not believe the earth is millions of years old. Evolution is a theory not a fact. Students need to be given both theories, creation and evolution.
What the textbook says: "Fossil fuels are formed by buried plants and animals that have been dead for millions of years."
What TTT says: Many scientists do not believe the earth is millions of years old. A growing list of scientists consider young earth creationism (YEC) a fact and evolution as bunk.
In fact, the only scientists that think that the earth is not millions of years old are those that have no education or training in dealing with this record.  These are the same people that claim there are no transitional fossils and the present cannot be used to interpret the past.

But looking at the report, that is not what got me.  What got me was the complete lack of professionalism in listing the complaints, or at least the ones relating to evolution and the age of the earth.  For example, here is the section on the age of the earth:

• Many scientists do not believe the earth is millions of years old.
• Growing list of scientists who consider young earth creationism (YEC) a fact and evolution as bunk
• Young Earth Creationism

An examination of the first page on the growing list of scientists reveals a page with a truly horrible, low-resolution graphic that takes up so much space that one has to scroll way down to get beyond it.  Beyond this is a homegrown page of “biographies” of scientists who reject evolution. The links for the first three don't work. The rest are self-professed creationists and most of the links go directly to biographies on the site of Answers in Genesis, an organization not known for its academic rigor.  The reason for this is, of course, that the nice folks at TTT haven't read any actual science, only the twisted form coming out of AiG. The other section dealing with the age of the earth and evolution reads thus:
• Other scientists do not believe the earth is millions of years old. Evolution is a theory not a fact. Students need to be given both theories, creation and evolution.
• Evidence for a Young Earth (that’s not billions of years old) by Bob Dutko,
• Billions, Millions, or Thousands—Does it Matter? by Kenneth Ham,
The first link, the Bob Dutko page, puts you, after some hunting, to this page: Evidence for a Young Earth (that\\\\\\\'s not billions of years old) That is not a typo. That is what the title looks like.  It has information like this:
I remember one day back in 2004 I was on my way to a speaking engagement when I stopped into a Detroit area science store to browse, and I noticed a fossilized bone sitting on the shelf for sale. The sign said it was “50 million years old”, so I asked the clerk how she knew it was 50 million years old. She said “let me get the owner, he\\\'s a retired scientist”. The owner came out and I politely asked him how he knew the bone was 50 million years old. He said it had been dated to be that. When I reminded him that you can\\\'t radiometrically date organic material to an age in the millions, he said “well, yes, that\\\'s true. It\\\'s dated according to the age of the rocks it was found in”. I thought about bringing up the fact that evolutionary scientists also happen to date the rocks according to how old the fossils are that are found in them, but I didn\\\'t have time to get into that debate. (In the Top Ten Proofs for a Young Earth – 2 CD Set, it explains about the circular reasoning that is actually used to date rocks and fossils by using the so-called “dates” of each other to “date” each other).
Aside from the naked plug for his “2 CD set,” this is mostly nonsense and has been easily refuted. Dating is not circular, and there are plenty of arguments put forth by professional geologists that show that dating is very reliable.  That TTT would be using these sites as authoritative, scientific refutations of material in the textbooks is astounding.  It is difficult to understand why anyone would take these people seriously


  1. Anonymous6:27 PM

    Those who believe that science and religion are not compatible are ignorant fools who are far from understanding the nature of the cosmos. Monkey intelligence disguised as human science and wisdom can be simply viewed as an ape civilization not unlike the movie The Planet Of The Apes.

    Even with man's advanced technology, he is not far removed from apelike thinking when explaining nature's laws that are beyond the reach of physics and quantum mechanics. The spiritual laws of the universe are also universal and omnipresent, but they are much finer than the ordinary human mind can comprehend. And they are also much finer than any atomic instrument can detect. This is why real religion teaches that one should purify, develop and refine one's mind (the ultimate and most precise instrument in the universe) to a point where the most subtle of nature's laws will become intuitively obvious.

    Thankfully, real religion, which is also based on experimentation and observation, can explain the unknown and unknowable that has so far, and always will, elude the science of physical nature alone.

  2. In that response you managed to not define what you think real religion is.