Texas Committee: High Schoolers Can’t Handle Evidence Against Darwinism

By Jonathan Witt Published on November 20, 2016

On Thursday, I testified in Austin, Texas about the latest skirmish over how evolution is taught in Texas public high schools. I want it taught, warts and all. Darwinists want it taught as airbrushed and unquestionable dogma.

The state school board meeting was called to consider initial steps to streamline the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Streamlining is fine, in principle. The problem is that some of the proposed changes to the evolution section water down four passages that call on students to learn about, analyze and evaluate some of the growing evidential challenges to modern evolutionary theory.

So, for instance, what are we to make of the sudden appearance of new species and fundamentally new body plans in the fossil record? Neo-Darwinism says these animal forms evolved very gradually as part of the evolutionary tree of life, but the pattern in the geological column paints a different picture. Shouldn’t biology students be able to exercise their critical thinking skills by wrestling with this conundrum? The majority on the biology committee weren’t keen on that idea. They struck the sudden appearance language from the TEKS and argued that high school students aren’t mature enough to hear about it and ask intelligent questions. Not “developmentally appropriate,” the committee report said.

And, besides, said Karyn Ard, the chair of the biology curriculum review committee, there’s not enough time to cover it during the school year. There’s too much other material they have to cover. Ditto the growing mystery surrounding the origin of the first life.

Since I substitute taught in the Austin Independent School District for a year before I started graduate school, I could sympathize with Ard when she emphasized the wide disparity in student ability and the challenge teachers face to cover all the assigned material adequately. At the same time, the very real effect of the committee’s streamlining is to get rid of just those areas that best expose kids to the growing evidential challenges facing evolution, while leaving behind all kinds of pro-Darwinian propaganda woven into the fabric of the leading high school biology textbooks.

Covering for Darwin

Significantly, the pro-Darwin Texas Freedom Network (TFN) has had it in for these four hot-button passages ever since the passages made their way into the TEKS a few years ago. So it’s no surprise that TFN is celebrating the proposed deletions.

Ard told the board that the biology committee’s motives were focused squarely on streamlining, that she wasn’t even aware of the TFN until recently, and that their proposed deletions were not in any way politically motivated. My first reaction was: Really? The committee just happened to water down precisely the four passages the pro-Darwin TFN named as public enemy number 1, and the committee includes a vocal Darwin defender, Ron Wetherington, but somehow it was never the committee’s intent to put a giant thumb on the scale for Darwin?

Wetherington himself testified a bit later and made it abundantly obvious that he’s had it in for these four passages since they first made it into the TEKS. Some able cross-examination from conservative state school board member Marty Rowley (Amarillo) further underscored this fact.

In all fairness, Ard may indeed have been largely unaware of what was at stake, or at least had little interest in or knowledge about the origins controversy and was merely happy not to have to cover it during a biology course jam packed with other material. She insisted that when Wetherington debated evolution with molecular biologist Ray Bohlin and Baylor University chemistry professor Charles Garner during their curriculum revision meetings, she and several of the other committee members were at sea, unable to follow the discussion.

OK, but that brings me to the second thought I had on hearing Ard’s plea of non-political motives: Intent is secondary. The primary issue is effect. And the effect of watering down these four sections of the TEKS would be to give biology teachers who want to teach the scientific controversy over modern evolutionary theory less cover than they have now.

And here’s why that’s a problem. The national Darwin lobby is in the habit of targeting and persecuting teachers and professors who dare call into question Darwinian dogma. The Discovery Institute, where I now work, has come to the aid of many teachers and professors who have been targeted by militant Darwinists intent on suppressing the evidence against modern evolutionary theory. That pattern of attack and suppression is why Texas biology teachers with the courage to teach the controversy can use all the cover that the state board of education and the TEKS can give them.

More hearings are set for early next year, and a final meeting and decision in April. It’s in Texas’ best interest that at least eight members of the board (a majority) find the clarity and courage to do the right thing by voting to preserve these key passages in the current standards, standards that free biology teachers to safely teach students to critically scrutinize evolutionary theory, warts and all.

 

Jonathan Witt is a senior fellow of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, and author, with Benjamin Wiker, of A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature (IVP).

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  • Az1seeit

    When I was in school, evolution was taught as a theory, not fact. If it was still taught as theory – which it still is – the challenges to it would follow naturally in the lesson.

    • Randy Wanat

      Evolution IS a fact. The theory of evolution explains the fact of evolution.

      • Kevin Quillen

        is it observable and testable? No. Therefore not a scientific fact. Period.

        • Randy Wanat

          Actually, change in allelic frequencies within a population over time IS observable. Evolution is the observation, or fact. The theory of evolution is the explanation for how it occurs.

          Do you accept that DNA testing is an reliably accurate means of determining paternity? Simple question. Yes or no.

          • Gary

            If living things evolve, does it happen “by chance”, or do they make themselves evolve, or does someone, or some thing else make them evolve?

          • Randy Wanat

            So, are you conceding that evolution does occur, and that it is an observed fact?

          • m-nj

            Gary, ssshhhh… you are trying to ask taboo questions to a group of people that have closed their minds to ANYTHING that is outside their materialistic mindset 😉 they dare not let a Divine foot in the door, lest their whole worldview fall to pieces.

          • johndoe

            Yep, because talking snakes, water walkers, and an invisible diety who created an entire world and its inhabitants makes far more sense. Talking about closed minds, it seems as though anyone with an opposing viewpoint on this forum are flagged…hypocrites much?

          • Gary

            Did the Earth and the Universe come to exist by chance? Or did it create itself? Or did someone outside of it make it?

          • Did the river meander by itself? Did the sand dune get created by itself?? Did the rain condense and fall by itself?!

            Well, yeah. They kinda did do that by themselves. That is, by following natural laws. No Creator required.

          • Gary

            Laws don’t happen by chance. There must be a lawmaker. That lawmaker has to be a thinking being with the ability to make AND enforce the laws.

          • Timothy Horton

            Which thinking being enforces the Law of Gravity? Do you think there are tiny invisible pixies pushing the planets around in their orbits?

          • Sand dunes don’t happen by chance. There must be a sand duner.

          • Ryan

            Does water flow uphill? or does it flow downhill?
            Does the sand pile up[ by itself? or does the wind help it?
            Does the rain condense in a clear sky or does it condense in a cloud until it has enough weight to fall?
            Who wrote the natural laws?

          • Who wrote the natural laws? I dunno–who? Where is the evidence for any divine lawmaker?

          • harbidoll

            Im not surprised U dont believe in God. Im sad He hasnt revealed Himself to you. Either He knows it to be a waste of time or Hes waiting for the right time, like He did me.

          • johndoe

            There’s no evidence for ANY supernatural beings.

          • Gary

            Everything that exists is evidence for a supernatural being. Nothing “natural” would exist unless a supernatural being made it.

          • johndoe

            Nonsense. No proof. No evidence.

          • Gary

            Then you are burdened with explaining why things exist, and how they came to exist. I’m pretty sure you have no answers to either of those questions that make any sense.

          • johndoe

            Anything is better than “poof there it is “

          • Kevin Carr

            No evidence that life arose from non-life.

          • johndoe

            No evidence of any gods

          • Kevin Carr

            You have already made that assertion, can life come from non-life?

          • Surely this isn’t your argument: “Science can’t explain abiogenesis; therefore, God did it.”

            Are you saying that when there is a scientific consensus on abiogenesis that you’ll drop your God beliefs? If not, then this is just a red herring. You’ll simply find some other scientific puzzle. Your argument devolves to, “Science has unanswered questions; therefore, God.”

            Not much of an argument, I’m afraid.

          • Kevin Carr

            And your explanation is, it happened by itself. How often does that happen? Why isn’t it still happening? Question, out of all there is to know, do you know everything or is it possible God could exist outside your body of knowledge?

          • My explanation is: it happened according to laws of nature; it’s still happening; and why are we even talking about this when the people who understand this stuff (I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a doctorate in biology) have come to a consensus. I suggest you leave the nice scientists alone.

            do you know everything or is it possible God could exist outside your body of knowledge?

            No thoughtful person says, “Well, I don’t know that leprechauns don’t exist … so I’ll believe that they do.” Ditto God.

          • Timothy Horton

            Actual evolutionary theory and the huge amount of positive supporting evidence it has amassed over the past 150+ years is sure outside your body of knowledge.

          • Az1seeit

            With respect, you made that up, not Mr. Karr. Strawman.

          • Nope, not a strawman. If I misunderstood where he was going, I welcome the clarification.

            And I think we’ll agree that the argument I laid out was ridiculous. Perhaps we can at least agree on that.

          • Ryan

            According to the laws of nature, evolution could only occur if the possibility existed that information could arise by itself out of matter.
            The first law of scientific information; A material entity cannot generate a non-material entity.

          • Timothy Horton

            That’s one of the dumber creationist claims I’ve heard. Natural processes create new information all the time. Hook up a Geiger Counter and measure the decay of uranium. Every decayed particle is new information.

            In biology every new random genetic variation that occurs during reproduction is new information.

          • Ryan

            Decay doesn’t create anything, it is decayed, dead.

          • It’s easy to see how mutation and natural selection create new information in DNA.

            Are you asking where the DNA came from in the first place?

          • Ryan

            Mutation does not create new information, it subtracts. Natural selection occurs only within its kind. It does not create new species.

          • And yet evolution is the consensus view of the people who actually understand the evidence. Sorry.

          • Ryan

            consensus, isn’t science.

          • Science’s consensus views are never guaranteed to be correct or constant in the face of new evidence, but that’s how we laymen ought to bet. We can’t properly evaluate the evidence ourselves, being outsiders to the discipline, and the consensus is our proxy.

            You have a better way to get at the truth?

          • Ryan

            There is no discipline in a consensus group, just a herd mentality. If you really wanted to know the truth you would find it just like you know how to find the lies of evolution. I have read your replies on this and other threads and know you really don’t want to know the truth or you would have found it by now.
            There isn’t a whole lot of time left in this world, hindsight is as always 20/20 but it will do you no good at that point in time. To be in a consensus crowd then will be of very little value, then you will know the truth but it won’t set you free.

          • Timothy Horton

            Typical creationist ignorance. Evolution isn’t true because it’s the consensus. It’s the consensus because it has amassed an overwhelming amount of positive evidence. If you YEC dimbulbs would take your finger out of your nose long enough to use a search engine you could easily find the evidence yourself. But you’re way too lazy; willful ignorance is much easier.

          • Ryan

            If you would use the same search engines and look at the other side of the story of the same evidence you would see what it is you are so against in another light. I have looked at your side and at the other side, The creation side makes so much more sense and doesn’t rely on people not knowing the truth, as does evolution.

          • Timothy Horton

            You can look through the professional science literature all day long and not find a single thing supporting Creationist idiocy. But keep up the lying for Jesus, it will get you into heaven for sure!

          • Ryan

            You are correct in that you won’t find anything supporting creationist findings, but, if you go to the creation sites you will find both sides of the story. You won’t find that on evolution sites. That is because they are scared you will find where they don’t hold to the truth on the evolution side of the argument.
            Creation scientists aren’t afraid of comparing information, but the evolutionists are. Apparently, you are too.
            BTW have you found out how long it would take for a living cell to evolve?

          • Timothy Horton

            Creationists don’t submit their garbage to professional science journals because they know their horsecrap and lies won’t withstand the slightest bit of critical scientific scrutiny. So they preach to the choir with their own anti-science websites, counting on scientifically illiterate rubes like Ryan to spread the manure around.

          • Ryan

            So, I see you found that living cells didn’t evolve, nor did anything else. It’s too bad you don’t know how to seek the truth on your own, you are content to let someone who knows how to spread crap lead you around by the nose so you don’t get a spine and look for the truth yourself.
            Too bad you might learn something.

          • Ryan

            Is evolution science or religion? because it will take a lot of faith to believe the nonsense they put out. Theory, isn’t science, that is about all you have to go on, theory.

          • Timothy Horton

            Actually there’s quite a large body of research on abiogenesis. Science hasn’t identified the complete end-to-end pathways involved yet but there’s plenty of evidence for specific pieces of the process.

          • harbidoll

            when this Spirit enters your mind, it is such a mind – altering experience its called born Again, of the Spirit. One is no longer alone in this world,His Presence is & will be with you for EVER! & it feels like Love , (better than sex) lol.

          • Kevin Quillen

            Romans 1. He has revealed Himself to Johndoe. Johndoe just refuses to see. He will someday. When he stands before God and answers for his life.

        • Tom Rath

          This misconception encompasses two incorrect ideas: (1) that all science
          depends on controlled laboratory experiments, and (2) that evolution
          cannot be studied with such experiments. First, many scientific
          investigations do not involve experiments or direct observation.
          Astronomers cannot hold stars in their hands and geologists cannot go
          back in time, but both scientists can learn a great deal about the
          universe through observation and comparison. In the same way,
          evolutionary biologists can test their ideas about the history of life
          on Earth by making observations in the real world. Second, though we
          can’t run an experiment that will tell us how the dinosaur lineage
          radiated, we can study many aspects of evolution with controlled
          experiments in a laboratory setting. In organisms with short generation
          times (e.g., bacteria or fruit flies), we can actually observe
          evolution in action over the course of an experiment. And in some
          cases, biologists have observed evolution occurring in the wild.

          • Gary

            Isn’t it true that bacteria never evolve into anything other than bacteria, and fruit flies never evolve into anything other than fruit flies?

          • ?? Bacteria is an entire domain of life! One bacteria evolving into another kind of bacteria could mean an enormous amount of change.

          • Gary

            But does one kind of bacterial evolve into another kind of bacteria? Not likely since that would require a change in DNA. Bacteria don’t have the ability to change their DNA, and “chance” can’t make it happen either. So, if it ever happens, who is changing the DNA?

          • Timothy Horton

            There’s no such thing in biology as a “kind”. That’s a made up meaningless Creationist term.

            When any living thing reproduces from bacteria to blue whale there is produced a small percentage of new genetic variation in the copy. The mechanisms which produce this copying with random variation are well known and are inherent in the duplication process.

          • Gary

            It is a duplication process. Bacteria never reproduce anything other than bacteria. Whales never reproduce anything but whales. And since that is true, and it is, it means that molecules to man evolution cannot be true.

          • phillytrue

            Tom, believe that you may confused about the differences between macro-evolution and micro-evolution. Micro-evolution is an observable phenomena based on the genetic variability inherent in all organisms. Marco-evolution (Darwinian evolution) is the fallacy of molecules-to-man which is neither observable or testable.

          • m-nj

            I am a Ph.D. microbiologist. Your statement, ” In organisms with short generation times (e.g., bacteria or fruit flies), we can actually observe evolution in action over the course of an experiment,” is FALSE! While we do see minor variations within a range, no “evolution” in the sense that accords with Darwinian thinking, e.g., the rise of a new species, has EVER been observed. This is called “adaptation”, not “evolution”.

            The problem with evolutionary thinking across all the sciences is the entrenched a priori explanation of “gradual change over time”, which has been proven wrong not only in biology (the Cambrian explosion), but also in aspects of geology (like how long it takes for sedimentary strata to build up, e.g., the Mt. St. Helen eruption).

          • Tom Rath

            Oh, look…a “young earther”.

            It’s flat, too, ya’ know.

          • Kevin Quillen

            typical reply of a defeated foe. Cannot defeat the argument so name call and belittle.

          • Not the development of nylonase? Not Lenski’s bacteria experiments? Perhaps we’re just quibbling over the definition of “species.”

          • harbidoll

            why would a lizard start growing little stubs of feathers, knowing it would take centuries to grow long enough to have any effect. Oh & dont forget start Hollowing out his bones!!! LOL LOL LOL At best Intelligent Designer who knew the outcome He wanted!

          • And yet evolution is the consensus view of the people who are actually qualified to evaluate the evidence. Sorry.

          • harbidoll

            Whatever.. sad. Evidence= when 1 is dying ,in pain or fear for their lives, or having sex, 1 doesnt cry out “Oh Darwin” now does 1? lol

          • God belief is cultural. It’s often one way here and another way over in some other country. We need evidence to say that any god actually exists.

          • Az1seeit

            I’m sorry too, as they conveniently ignore any evidence that disproves their theory, and do not want it taught in the schools, as is the point here in this article. The simple reality here is there is no evidence proving evolution is how we came to be, and requires as much faith to accept as fact, as creationists theory supposedly does. It is not “settled science” and should not be taught as such.

          • Timothy Horton

            Once again, if you had any evidence which disproved current evolutionary theory you’d become the most famous scientists on the planet. But you have no such evidence. All you have is the bog standard Creationist arguments from ignorance based personal incredulity.

          • Az1seeit

            A. You are assuming facts about me not in evidence.
            B. The article is about how evidence against the theory of evolution is not being included. If it didn’t exist, why write the article?

          • Timothy Horton

            The article was written because Creationists are always lying about the actual science to help get their unscientific religious beliefs pushed into public school science classes. It’s a battle we in the scientific community have to fight every day. Sadly it often costs real time and real money to fight such Creationist willful ignorance, time and money that could be much better spent on actual research.

          • Az1seeit

            Okay. If I accept your position, then that would mean things like the Cambrian explosion and its ramifications re evolution is a lie made up by willfully ignorant creationists?

          • Timothy Horton

            The Cambrian explosion IS taught in all paleontology classes. It isn’t skipped over. What is not taught is the Creationist lie Cambrian animals magically POOFED into existence one day 525 MYA. We have over 3 billion years of evidence of life before the Cambrian including over 200 million years of complex multicellular life. Google “Ediacaran biota”. Just because the fossil record is too spotty to positively identify every ancestral lineage DOESN’T negate all the positive evidence for evolution we do have.

            Sorry but this whole thing about “hiding evidence against evolution” is one big Creationist lie

          • Remember how Sputnick gave the US the kick it needed to put education first? You wouldn’t want those darn Ruskies to beat us to the moon (or get a military advantage).

            It’s bizarre now how they don’t see that dismissing science is giving us a national handicap. Aren’t they the ones who are whining about China eating our lunch?

          • It is not “settled science” and should not be taught as such.

            How much more settled could it be? It’s the overwhelming consensus of the scientists that matter.

          • Kevin Quillen

            B.S. bacteria remain bacteria and fruit flies remain fruit flies. Always have, always will. You ever see a creature that is half one thing and half another? Didn’t think so.

    • Yes, it’s a scientific theory. You seem to think that there’s something that it could graduate to if were better supported by evidence. There isn’t. It’s at the pinnacle already.

      • Az1seeit

        Yes it is, and no I don’t. In the article they said there was not time to address the challenges to it, or something along those lines. My point is, if it was still taught as it is – scientific theory – the challenges would naturally follow, as in: because of this and this, evolution is only a theory.

        • You’ve lost me. What could “evolution is only a theory” mean unless it means that there’s something else that it could graduate to. It couldn’t–a scientific theory is as good as it gets!

          If there are challenges to evolution, that’s great. The science classroom isn’t where they get discussed. You don’t toss out various options–the Big Bang, Genesis, whatever the Iroquois creation myth is, and so on and so on–and let the students pick. That’s not science. (And how would you even grade the tests?!)

          • Az1seeit

            Well, and you’ve lost me. Let me try again. In my understanding theory is an idea that is eventually either proven or not. Evolution has so far “graduated” – or remained – unproven. In my mind, if it must be taught at all, it should be mentioned in the science classroom as such – theory – and these are the developments that pose the challenges that keep it a theory, i.e., still an idea and not fact. Peace.

          • Timothy Horton

            You need to go look up the scientific definition of theory because you have it all wrong. A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge.

            All scientific theories no matter how well supported are subject to change pending the introduction of new discoveries which the current theory can’t handle. That’s how all science works, not just evolution.

          • Az1seeit

            Well then, these new discoveries should then be presented. That is the point here.

          • Timothy Horton

            They are. But they are vetted first and presented in the professional scientific literature, not published as unsubstantiated woo in popular press books which is all Creationists do.

          • Az1seeit

            But not in the schools, giving the impression that evolution is not a theory, but a fact. It isn’t, and shouldn’t be presented that way. Whatever your take on creationists, the implications are important to honest minds who truly have doubts about the entire question. If challenges and inconsistencies are out there, why not discuss them rather than casting aspersions on anyone that raises the questions? That just changes the subject.

          • Timothy Horton

            Evolution is a fact and a theory. The fact is taught as a fact, the theory is taught as theory. Creationists lie about the evidence of the fact to try and cast doubt on the theory, the end goal of which is to replace the theory with GODDIDIT! Not on my watch.

          • Ryan

            Vetting through a consensus is not vetting, it is just agreeing to keep things as they are without looking for the truth.

          • Ryan

            Evolutionists believe that if they put up enough smoke and mirrors no one will see what t is they are trying to hide.

          • A scientific theory is and explanation (contrast that with a law like f = ma or PV = NRT which are scientific laws but don’t explain anything) and it’s also well tested.

            Saying, “Ah, but that’s only a (scientific) theory” is like saying, “Ah, but he only has a billion dollars and a Nobel Prize.” It doesn’t get much better.

            Everything within science is unproven. Science doesn’t prove things–math and logic do.

  • Wayne Cook

    I would venture to say the high schoolers are more intelligent than the committee.

    Evolution was hammered at my high school in NC, by a decidedly leftist teacher, even in the mid 60’s. In his class, you didn’t challenge evolution, Period.

  • Tom Rath

    Suggested reading/viewing: “Your Inner Fish”, by Dr. Neil Shubin

    • Just finished it, in fact. Great book.

      • Tom Rath

        All 3 episodes of the PBS series are online (and free) too.

  • Mike

    The complexities of the human eye, the bee or even an eagle’s eye are beyond marvel. The scope of design and functionality, of just these eyes, are incredibly complex. Yet we are led to believe that this all happened by nothing more than blind luck, (Pun intended) Evolutionist believe and stake their whole purpose in life on nothing more than chance.… That a single organism, mutated over time to create not just the variety of creatures that exists and the complexity of those living creatures but the incredibly balanced ecosystem that sustains the entire planet. Modern science is teaching us new things that have been hidden due to a lack of knowledge and technology. Because of this, evolutionist know that the sand around them is eroding away. Their only salvation is to attack any dissenting voice, hoping to silence it, because their “facts” are turning to myths.

    • Bezukhov

      You know, it’s one thing to argue for a “First Cause”. It’s something else entirely to prove that it was your version of this “First Cause” who was responsible.

    • Kevin Quillen

      Mike, excellent, thank you. Irreducible complexity is the best argument against evolution. Ya’ll look it up.

    • Timothy Horton

      Why do know-nothing creationists continually mischaracterize evolution as happening by blind luck only? Are they all really that stupid?

      Evolution is a continuous PROCESS involving iterative feedback. It has a random component (genetic variation including drift) and a non-random component (selection) which determines the traits which are passed to future generations. The non-random feedback makes all the difference and drives species to a local fitness maximum in their local environment. Because the process is continuous the feedback loop tends to track changes in the environment. As the environment changes the morphology / behavior of a species will change to stay at or near the changing fitness maximum. If the environment changes too rapidly or too severely for the feedback loop to keep up, the species goes extinct.

      • Gary

        Who, or what is doing the selecting? A process has to involve a plan and a goal. Who is doing the planning and who made the goals?

  • harbidoll

    BTY the 2 highest IQ peoples on earth–Jews & Asians, 1/3 dont know who Darwin is. 1/3 dont believe in him. & 1/3 are divided/undecided on it.Just westerners believe & they seem to be under a curse!! go figure—

    • Tom Rath

      But the Japanese have no problem with evolution (relatively speaking). A
      study several years back of 34 countries (U.S., Japan, and 32 European
      countries) had Japan in the top 5 of evolution acceptance among adults.
      The U.S.? 33rd….with only Turkey lagging behind.

      • Gary

        What causes and guides evolution? Chance? Do things make themselves evolve? Just what makes it happen?

        • Tom Rath

          Natural selection leads to the adaptation of species over time, but the
          process does not involve effort, trying, or wanting. Natural selection
          naturally results from genetic variation in a population and the fact
          that some of those variants may be able to leave more offspring in the
          next generation than other variants. That genetic variation is
          generated by random mutation — a process that is unaffected by what
          organisms in the population want or what they are “trying” to do.
          Either an individual has genes that are good enough to survive and
          reproduce, or it does not; it can’t get the right genes by “trying.”
          For example bacteria do not evolve resistance to our antibiotics because
          they “try” so hard. Instead, resistance evolves because random
          mutation happens to generate some individuals that are better able to
          survive the antibiotic, and these individuals can reproduce more than
          other, leaving behind more resistant bacteria.

          • Gary

            If I understand you, you are saying things evolve by chance. But chance is nothing. It does not exist. It has no intelligence and no ability. It cannot plan anything or cause anything to happen. Now, since your “explanation” does not work, would you care to try again?

          • Tom Rath

            It works fine. Your “logic”…isn’t. Sorry.

          • Gary

            No, it does not work. Another way of saying what you said is “I don’t know”. When you attribute things to chance, it means you have no clue how something happened. We know from experience that evolution cannot happen by chance. So, you are left with two possibilities: either things cause themselves to evolve, or someone else causes the evolution to happen. Either way, whoever is causing the changes to occur has to know what to do, and have the ability to do it. They also have to have a purpose in making the changes happen. That would seem to eliminate most organisms from being the cause of their evolution because they don’t have the ability to plan the changes, or to make them happen.

          • Kevin Quillen

            the “evolving” bacteria will still always be……….bacteria There is NO evidence for “evolving” from one species into another. NONE! Assumption, yes, speculation, yes. Proof, NO.

          • Ryan

            Natural selection stays within the species, it never creates a new species, never has, never will.

          • Timothy Horton

            We have numerous example of empirically observed speciation events. A simple Google search will turn up hundreds. Why Creationists won’t do the slightest bit of research before spouting off this nonsense is a mystery.

          • Ryan

            There are plenty creation sites that have scientific information that are equal to any left leaning science site.
            There are also many scientists who have crossed over from left leaning science to creation science. There is far less money for them to do that, but they believe in the truth and quit trying to believe the lie of evolution. There is a message in that but only those interested in the truth will get it.
            I have been on several evolution sites that use big words to cover the truth that they don’t really know what they are talking about, all the creation sites I have been on use readily understandable wording that makes it easier to know what is being discussed. There are some times they use big words but always give the meaning of what the wording is.
            Maybe you should try them.

      • harbidoll

        thas great news, US 33rd.! Maybe we wont be destroyed by the curse of terror & demography (extream high birth rates) like other western states.Maybe it isnt a dog eat puppy world, its a righteous verses rebellious world.

  • johndoe

    I’m all for teaching about evolution.

    In fact, tell the WHOLE story, about how it was embraced by the Nazis and Communists, also embraced by white supremacists who claimed that whites were in fact a different (and superior) species, separate from the dark-skinned inferiors.

    • Yeah. Talking about Nazis and Communists sounds relevant within Science class.

  • Timothy Horton

    What a blatantly dishonest approach to the science by Witt. When science speaks of the “sudden appearance” of species they’re talking about time frames of hundreds of thousands to millions of years. With the fossil record we don’t have a sample from every generation of every animal that ever lived. At best we have widely spaced snapshots which do not show everything that happened in the time between. It would be like driving 3000 miles across the US and having a camera taking a snapshot every 100 miles. In one photo you might have flat prairie and in the next photo you’d have a 10,000′ mountain. A Creationist like Witt would claim that’s evidence the mountain was POOFED into existence because of its sudden appearance in the photo sequence.

    There’s a damn good reason the scientific community views these dishonest Creationist tactics with such scorn.

    • Timothy Horton

      I see none of the happy little Liars For Jesus here pushing creationism will address Witt’s blatant dishonesty. No surprises there.

      • Ryan

        The only dishonesty being shown here is yours.

        • Timothy Horton

          Another Liar For Jesus tries to defend the dishonesty. I’ve explained specifically why the argument Witt offers is dishonest. I see no rebuttal attempts from you, just hand-waving denial.

          • Ryan

            It seems to me that the only one doing the hand waving is you.

    • Gary

      There are only three explanations for the existence of living things. One is “chance”. But chance is nothing and has no ability to make anything happen. So saying it happened by chance is the same thing as saying you don’t know how it happened. Another possibility is that things created themselves. But that idea has never been proven to be true and goes against what we observe in this world. The third possibility is that living things were made by a thinking being that existed before the living things existed. That is the only explanation that is logical and fits with what we have experienced.

    • Ryan

      That’s because the creationist scientists can prove what they have, evolutionists can only tell stories that they know no one else can prove. Consensus science isn’t science.

  • For the last five years of my full-time teaching career (in West Virginia), with the full knowledge (and dismay) of state and county school officials as well as the ACLU I demonstrated to my students that mathematics proves beyond the shadow of doubt that evolutionism is nonsense. The students saw that the evidence clearly shows that every item associated with humans, animals and plants are Intelligent Designs and Intelligent Design is science. I always let the students figure it out for themselves and allowed them to believe what they chose, but at least they were exposed to the scientific facts that extremists want to censor from the minds of public school students.

    • Timothy Horton

      If you had any actual evidence for the Intelligent Design of biological life you’d not only win a Nobel Prize you’d go down as the most famous scientist in recorded history. But you have no such evidence, just the usual empty bluster of the ID-Creationist trying to get his religious fantasies pushed into public school science classes. I feel sorry for the unwary students you lied to.

      • Bwahaha. The 7th graders understood the math.

        “Of the simplest machines, a toothpick has no moving parts. Of the most complex of machines, a protein has the highest of manufacturing requirements. Given every tree on the planet and infinite time, evolution could never make a toothpick. Even incompetent engineers know that. Without totalitarian censorship and persecution, evolution would not last a month.”

        Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo

        • Timothy Horton

          LOL! Citing a professional Creationist liar to prop up your ridiculous ID-Creation claims. Thank goodness you’re not pushing your religiously motivated lies to students anymore.

          • Ryan

            Citing evolutionist liars is even funnier.

        • Timothy Horton

          “In all of these efforts, [to promote
          creationism in schools] the creationists make abundant use of a simple tactic: They lie.
          They lie continually, they lie prodigiously, and they lie because they must.”

          –William J. Bennetta,

          • Why don’t you get Bennetta (or better yet, why don’t you) truthfully present your VERY BEST evidence of evolution. I look forward to you posting it here. Don’t provide a link. Just state the truthful scientific fact.

          • Timothy Horton

            That’s another way you can tell Creationists are scientifically illiterate nincompoops. There is no one BEST piece of evidence for evolution. The strength of the theory is the consilience of hundreds of independent, cross-corroborating and correlating lines of evidence from dozens of different scientific disciplines.

            Why don’t you post your wonderful evolution-disproving math? I guarantee it will be the usual BS about “it’s too improbable!!” using a bunch of pulled from your butt probabilities strung together in a completely bogus and unscientific strawman scenario. Creationists are not only amazingly dishonest they’re boringly predictable.

      • Ryan

        When you take in the complexity of a single living cell, how long do you think it took to evolve, one second, two seconds, or a million years?

        • Timothy Horton

          Every living creature today has a lineage going back at least 3.5+ billion years, and quite likely earlier.

          • Ryan

            And you simply can’t prove it.

          • Timothy Horton

            Science doesn’t prove things. Science offers positive supporting evidence for ideas. There is a huge amount of positive supporting evidence for the evolution of life over deep time. That evolution has occurred is a well established scientific fact. The theory of evolution is the scientific explanation for the mechanisms which produced the observed fact of evolution.

          • Ryan

            The theory of evolution is nothing more than a theory, evolution has never been observed nor is there any proof of evolution ever occurring.

          • Gary

            If evolution is true, it must be planned and made to happen by a thinking being. It cannot happen by chance. So who is the thinking being, or beings, that have the ability to make evolution happen.

          • Timothy Horton

            Evolution doesn’t happen by chance. It’s an iterative feedback process with a random component (genetic variation) and a non-random component (selection).

            Please read and learn at least a little about the actual theory before spouting off the usual Creationist ignorance.

          • Gary

            Who is dong the selecting?

          • Timothy Horton

            No one. Who selects whether dropped objects fall to the ground. Evolution and gravity are both naturally occurring processes which occur with no intelligent intervention required.

          • Gary

            That is not possible. When selections are made, there is ALWAYS someone doing the selecting. The laws of nature exist only because they were created by a being who knew how to make them, and did make them. But your religious beliefs prevent you from facing that fact.

          • Ryan

            Evolution is not a science, nor is it a valid theory that has led to proof or observance of anything even close to evolution. Change is a daily occurrence on planet earth, but that change isn’t evolution as those who don’t believe in God like to think it is.
            What do you think of the T-Rex found with partially fossilized bones and the rest of the bones were not fossilized. In fact, there was still soft tissue and DNA extracted from the bones. Evolutionists are still trying to explain how soft tissue can survive 200 million years, what is your explanation? if you have one.

  • High schoolers also can’t handle evidence against alchemy and astrology.

    Oh, wait a minute. Hold on–my mistake. We don’t even teach alchemy or astrology because there’s no evidence behind them. We teach chemistry and astronomy instead.

    Let’s do the same for biology–teach the evidence. Evolution is the scientific consensus. Science class invariably teaches the scientific consensus.

    • Gary

      Molecules to man evolution is a belief, not science.

      • Tom Rath

        And that’s your opinion, not fact.

        • Gary

          If you could prove that molecules to man evolution was a fact, nobody would be questioning evolution. Nobody, in their right mind, questions the law of gravity because it is proven to be real all the time. Not so with evolution.

          • Timothy Horton

            Sorry but in the scientific community that evolution has occurred is well established scientific fact. Don’t confuse the fact of evolution with the theory of evolution which explains the observed fact.

          • Gary

            Facts are things which can be proven. Molecules to man evolution has NEVER been proven, so it cannot be considered a fact.

          • Timothy Horton

            In science fact doesn’t mean proven. Fact means well supported enough to remove all reasonable doubt from the conclusion. Under the scientific usage that evolution has occurred is a scientific fact. Life on the planet has been here changing and diversifying for well over 3.5 billion years. There have been at least 5 major mass extinction events in the last 500 MY; with each time a new re-radiation of life forms from the survivors appeared. Those are scientific facts.

          • Gary

            But all reasonable doubt has not been removed from the idea that molecules to man evolution is true. You believe it is true because YOU WANT TO, not because it has been proven in any rational way.

          • Timothy Horton

            Only dirt ignorant creationists have doubt. Their ignorance based beliefs don’t affect science except when they try to lie their way into public school science classes.

          • Gary

            Evolution is a belief. It has nothing to do with science. It is part of your religion.

          • Lying in the floor kicking and screaming doesn’t change that evolution has won. Embrace reality.

          • Gary

            Evolution has won? Won what? Certainly not reality.

          • Science doesn’t prove things. Still, it does a pretty good job–let’s consider the science that had to be in place for us to communicate like this.

          • If you could prove that molecules to man evolution was a fact, nobody would be questioning evolution.

            That’s cute!

            But seriously, evolution steps on people’s religious toes, so they push back against it. They pretend that they’re empowered to be judge, jury, and executioner to science, picking and choosing what’s good science and what’s not.

            They can pick whatever they want, but as scientific outsiders, they have no warrant to do so.

          • Gary

            The theory of evolution is philosophy, not science.

      • The people who understand the evidence (I don’t know about you, but that’s certainly not me) have reached a consensus view. Sorry.

  • Faith of Our Fathers

    Personally as a Catholic I don’t think it matters one way or another as far as Earth Creation and Evolution are concerned. What can’t be denied is outwith our Earth we have infinity. I am 66 and have always been a bit interested in Astronomy. I remember being young and watching a BBC program called Tomorrows World. One episode was about the farthest star from Earth and I think it said 17 light years,that was round about 1962 . Now the Hubble Telescope has come up with the farthest Galaxy ever seen 13.4Billion light years away . Now am no mathematician but the speed of light ( as am told by Google) is 180,000 miles per second,and there’s no way my mind can even take in those figures. What am saying is that if all this is created (maybe the wrong word to use in an open minded debate) out of nothing just imagine what could be created out of something. As Human Beings we know but little,yet we think we know it all .As the story of Saint Augustine goes .When walking along the seashore while trying to fathom out the mind of God he saw a boy running back and forth pouring water from the sea onto the land . He said ” Boy what are you doing “the boy said “I am going to empty the Ocean onto the land ” Augustine said ” that’s completely impossible ” the boy answered ” not nearly impossible as what you are trying think out “.

  • MofPennsy

    A judge in PA determined that the mere mention of any contra-Darwinist evidence is defacto Religious content…therefore unconstitutional. He has made Darwinism defacto Religion if we must not use scientific method.

    • Timothy Horton

      LOL! If you’re referring to Kitzmiller v. Dover you’re either deluded or deliberately lying. That was a case where some local Creationists took a Creation textbook “Of Pandas and People”, changed the word “creation” to “Intelligent Design”, and tried to pass the book off as a science text. The lying clowns at the Discovery Institute had every chance to defend their claim Intelligent Design was science but ended up making complete fools of themselves on the witness stand. They lost the case for good reason.

      The case said nothing about evolution being a religion. It just confirmed if any religious ideas like Intelligent Design Creationism want to be taught in public schools they must meet the same scientific standards of evidence all other scientific subjects are required to meet. The IDiots can’t bypass scientific vetting to sneak their horsecrap into public schools as they tried and failed at Dover.

      • First, Judge Jones did state (in the pages he copied from the Plaintiffs directly) that Intelligent Design is not science. Aside from being just plain goofy, that’s WAY above his pay-grade. That wasn’t for him (or the case) to decide.

        But, yes, they probably should have lost that case in terms of how they went about it, and I’m pretty sure the Discovery Institute wasn’t there and advised against getting involved in the case.

        That said, some of the points of evidence brought forth by the Plaintiffs have already been overturned.

        Also, note that while the Darwinian camp certainly isn’t calling it a religion, the actions of the more radical of the movement are very much mirroring the behavior of most any fundamentalist religious group. That’s why many of us refer to it as their ‘religion.’ I kind of refrain from that because it’s adding weight to those who clump all religion in with the caricature of the cult-like, fundie behavior.

        So, while MofPennsy’s comment was a bit over-the-top, the sentiment of it was correct. A judge in PA, who was a bit too full of himself and not really informed on the subject matter, made a way over-sweeping statement that has since been used to try and shut-down the Darwinian vs ID conversation.

        • Timothy Horton

          Judge Jones made the absolutely correct decision given the evidence presented and the complete lack of evidence from the ID-Creationist side. ID as presented at Dover did not qualify as science. It’s been more than 10 years since the IDiots got busted on this dishonest charade of trying to pass off their religious beliefs as science and they’re still bellyaching about it. 😀

          • OK, well you’re entitled to your opinion, I guess. I don’t think we can continue conversing, as you’re just repeating internet memes at this point. (And, ignoring the content of my posts.)

          • Timothy Horton

            Sorry, ID isn’t science because, among other things, it isn’t falsifiable. No matter how much evidence for natural processes are discovered (even Behe’s lame “evolve a flagellum from scratch”) it’s impossible to prove a Supernatural Entity wasn’t acting behind the scenes directing the work. Evolutionary theory is certainly falsifiable, it just hasn’t been falsified. A SETI positive finding would be science because it theoretically could be falsified by finding a natural source for the signal. POOF GAWDIDIT! can never be falsified, even theoretically.

            The only way ID could be a serious science is if ID hypothesized the powers and limitations of its Designer. Then those powers and limitations could theoretically be tested. IDiots will never propose or do such tests because their Designer is of course their Omnipotent God.

            I agree there’s no point in conversing with someone apparently quite ignorant of basic science and scientific processes. You’re just mindlessly repeating the standard IDiot catch phrases. The real bottom line is how many actual scientific advancements has the ID movement produced. The answer is still zero point squat.

          • First, you have no grasp of what ID is.

            Second, falsifiability is a matter of philosophy of science, and isn’t necessarily a good criteria (it has issues). But, I guess I’m missing how ID is any less falsifiable than ‘evolution.’ (if we’re not equivocating on the term evolution)

            Third, Behe’s ‘lame flagellum from scratch’ to my knowledge, hasn’t been challenged, and has gotten stronger in the last decade, not weaker. A number of his points have since been vindicated, while Brown’s have been proven baloney (like ‘Junk DNA’).

            re: SETI – the point being how would we know if a signal was supposedly from aliens? (Hint: ID) On the basis of the anti-ID folks, a SETI signal would have to be assumed naturalistic, as there can’t be a ‘poof intelligence’ jump, and they apparently think it impossible to denote design vs appearance of design.

            And, LOL, the old ‘no peer reviews papers’ or scientific advances argument, huh? Wow, just wow. (Do you know how much further ahead biological science would be if they hadn’t ***ASSUMED*** junk-DNA based on their Darwinian principals?)

            ***
            “In January, Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, made a comment that revealed just how far the consensus has moved. At a health care conference in San Francisco, an audience member asked him about junk DNA. “We don’t use that term anymore,” Collins replied. “It was pretty much a case of hubris to imagine that we could dispense with any part of the genome — as if we knew enough to say it wasn’t functional.” Most of the DNA that scientists once thought was just taking up space in the genome, Collins said, “turns out to be doing stuff.””
            ***

            The above was 2015. I could show you papers I wrote in like 2008 saying as much… and I don’t work directly in the field. However, I was following scientists who had been saying as much for quite some time, by then.

            Just out of curiosity… since I’m so ignorant… how many graduate level papers have you written on the topic?

          • Timothy Horton

            I know exactly what ID is. It’s a political ploy which rebranded Creationism as “Intelligent Design” and removed reference to the Christian God. That was done for the specific purpose of circumventing the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and getting Christian religious dogma pushed back into public school science classes. The whole thing was (is) orchestrated by the Discovery Institute, a Creationist think tank based in Seattle and funded by RW Christians such as Howard Ahmanson.

            The IDiots they got their butts handed to them at Kitzmiller v. Dover over a decade ago where they had every chance to make a scientific case for ID but face planted big time. They and their Fundy supporters are a laughingstock to real science. They count on scientifically illiterate fools like you to keep their nonsense on life support.

          • (re: censoring – apparently they don’t allow links… at all. A few of my comments didn’t ever show up either.)

            re: Dover – You don’t seem to be reading what I’ve written. I admit the school board should have lost the Dover case. What I disagree with, is the *additional* stuff that was inserted into the case and the judgement (that way overstepped it’s bounds, and seems to be the single piece of evidence being parroted by the anti-ID folks, as their proof that ID isn’t science). I’ve also noted that more than a few of the ‘exhibits’ Brown and other’s provided have been overturned, while it seems points made by Behe are being vindicated. But, that wasn’t the point of the case.

            re: what ID is – Nope.

            ID is simply applying our knowledge to the data at hand. We’ve got some pretty good criteria to identify information. There is no occurrence of information ever coming into existence apart from a mind, and no process demonstrated capable of creating it. It’s therefore entirely reasonable to identify information and theorize such information as being designed.

            Once you have the two core theories… natural process generated, and designed, you can begin to make predictions about what scientific discoveries will uncover, and see which program (cf. Lakatos, Feyerabend) is able to make better predictions, and aligns best with the data.

            BTW, lest you think the net-darwinian model is ‘fact’ and set in stone, you might want to google (since I can’t put a link) something like “the third way evolution” and do a bit of reading. Honest scientists will admit neo-Darwinian mechanisms can’t get the job done, so they are looking for a new method. They just won’t allow the ID position because they have a stupid definition of science in play (designed to come to a conclusion that fits a particular worldview, not get to the truth).

          • Timothy Horton

            Sorry but ID really is just rebranded Creationism. You IDiots can jump and scream all you want, chant all the standard IDiot mantras, regurgitate the usual IDiot buzz-phrases until you’re blue but unless you produce some positive results all you’re doing is urinating into the wind. Real scientists aren’t near as stupid or gullible as you think they are. The professional liars from the DI may fool scientific illiterates like you but that’s about all.

            If you think ID is such a winner of an idea, why don’t you tell us:

            1. When was the design done? Was it a one shot deal or is it tweaked continuously?
            2. Where was the design done?
            3. Was the design and manufacture different phases of the project?
            4. What mechanisms were used in the manufacture?
            5. How were the raw materials for manufacture gathered and processed?
            6. Was there only one Designer or more than one working at cross purposes?
            7. What is the identity of the Designer(s)?
            8. Who designed the Designer?

            You clowns have had decades and all you can come up with is “evolution can’t explain this to my satisfaction, therefore Design!” No one with an IQ over room temperature Celsius buys the BS.

          • I think I’m about done here (sorry for the delay, but things got quite busy, and I lost track). It has become clear you’re now just wanting to name call and bash what you don’t want to hear or acknowledge.

            But, I should probably add to our above conversation, that the philosopher of science who proposed the concept of falsifiability (Karl Popper), actually didn’t consider neo-Darwinian evolution as being falsifiable.

            And, I think these folks have IQs far surpassing either of us:

            thethirdwayofevolution . com

            or

            premierchristianradio . com /Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes/Unbelievable-What-happened-to-evolution-at-the-Royal-Society-Stephen-Meyer-Perry-Marshall

          • Timothy Horton

            There is no occurrence of information ever coming into existence apart from a mind, and no process demonstrated capable of creating it.

            I couldn’t let this bit of stupidity slide. There are plenty of natural processes than produce information with no intelligent intervention. The spectral lines in starlight encode information about the elements of the star that emitted the light. Tree ring widths encode information about the climate conditions when the tree was growing. Please, don’t insult everyone’s intelligence by claimed “but it’s not specified information!”. Nothing in nature was pre-specified, just described by the IDiots after the fact.

          • I’m not sure about who’s intelligence I’m going to insult, but yes, there are levels and kinds of information. Tree ring info ≠ our conversation here, for example.

  • windship

    Science itself cannot evolve without an open mind ready to accept new evidence, and that seems like it should be a core tenet of all education. There’s actually more evidence surfacing now that aliens genetically engineered proto humans long ago in Africa than there is evidence that God created everything we can see in a week.

    • Timothy Horton

      Science does accept new evidence. What it doesn’t accept is creationists lying about the evidence just to get their religious dogma sneaked into public school science classes.

  • I see this never made it due to comment moderation, so I’ll try again. It is crucial information to consider in this discussion:

    thethirdwayofevolution . com

    and, for a recent excellent discussion on the topic, I’ll try to get this link through as well:

    premierchristianradio . com /Shows/Saturday/Unbelievable/Episodes/Unbelievable-What-happened-to-evolution-at-the-Royal-Society-Stephen-Meyer-Perry-Marshall

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