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Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:25 PM

Bill urges Colorado school debates on creationism

Source: Washington Examiner

Bill urges Colorado school debates on creationism
February 4, 2013 | Modified: February 4, 2013 at 2:16 pm

DENVER (AP) A Colorado Republican lawmaker wants schools and colleges to create a friendly environment to discuss what he considers controversial science issues, a move that critics say would lead to debates about creationism and evolution.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Stephen Humphrey will get a hearing Monday and is scheduled for a vote in the House Education committee. The proposal calls on public schools and colleges to create an environment for students to encourage scientific questioning on "controversial issues in science education."

The bill states that teachers should allow debates that "respectfully explore scientific questions and learn about scientific evidence related to biological and chemical evolution, global warming and human cloning."

Humphrey, a lawmaker from Severance, said he understands the concerns from opponents that the bill opens up debate on religious teachings, but he insists that's not what his bill would do.


Read more: http://washingtonexaminer.com/bill-urges-colorado-school-debates-on-creationism/article/feed/2069169

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Arrow 27 replies Author Time Post
Reply Bill urges Colorado school debates on creationism (Original post)
Judi Lynn Feb 2013 OP
caraher Feb 2013 #1
DreamGypsy Feb 2013 #13
caraher Feb 2013 #17
DreamGypsy Feb 2013 #18
gcomeau Feb 2013 #20
caraher Feb 2013 #22
Solly Mack Feb 2013 #2
OldHippieChick Feb 2013 #3
mountain grammy Feb 2013 #25
TwilightGardener Feb 2013 #4
dballance Feb 2013 #5
xxqqqzme Feb 2013 #6
Moostache Feb 2013 #7
RainDog Feb 2013 #9
RainDog Feb 2013 #8
AsahinaKimi Feb 2013 #10
adieu Feb 2013 #11
longship Feb 2013 #12
JDPriestly Feb 2013 #14
lastlib Feb 2013 #15
Dont call me Shirley Feb 2013 #16
Adsos Letter Feb 2013 #19
SansACause Feb 2013 #21
caraher Feb 2013 #23
caraher Feb 2013 #24
musical_soul Feb 2013 #26
ZombieHorde Feb 2013 #27

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:28 PM

1. This is happening in other states too

This year's rebranded model of creationist scamming: "critical thinking."

I wonder what "chemical evolution" can possibly mean? It's certainly not a scientific concept!

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Response to caraher (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:36 PM

13. Chemical evolution

Here's a definition of chemical evolution from: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/chemical+evolution

The formation of complex organic molecules from simpler inorganic molecules through chemical reactions in the oceans during the early history of the Earth; the first step in the development of life on this planet. The period of chemical evolution lasted less than a billion years.

Note : Many of the steps in chemical evolution can now be reproduced in the laboratory.

Note : Some scientists believe that all or most of the Earth's original organic molecules were created in space and were brought to the Earth's oceans by meteorites.

So, you see, there are some interesting scientific questions to be discussed and decided about chemical evolution.

Richard Dawkins has a 20 or so page discussion of ideas associated with the chemical origins of life in his wonderful book The Ancestor's Tale, at the point when all the ancestors have returned to 'Canterbury' about 4 billion years in the past:

The origin of life was the origin of true heredity; we might even say the origin of the first gene. By first gene, I hasten to insist, I don't mean first DNA molecule. Nobody knows whether the first gene was made of DNA, and I bet it wasn't. By first gene I mean first replicator. A replicator is an entity, for example a molecule, that forms lineages of copies of itself. There will always be errors in copying, so the population will acquire variety. The key to true heredity is that each replicator resembles the one from which it was copied more than it resembles a random member of the population. The origin of the first such replicator was not a probable event, but it only had to happen once. Thereafter, its consequences were automatically self-sustaining and they eventually gave rise, by Darwinian evolution, to all of life.

A length of DNA or, under certain conditions, the related molecule RNA is a true replicator. So is a computer virus. So is a chain letter. But all these replicators need a complicated apparatus to assist them. DNA needs a cell richly equipped with pre-existing biochemical machinery highly adapted to read and copy the DNA code. A computer virus needs a computer with some sort of data link to other computers, all designed by human engineers to obey coded instructions. A chain letter needs a good supply of idiots, with evolved brains educated at least enough to read. What is unique about the first replicator, the one that sparked life, is that it had no ready supply of anything evolved, designed or educated. The first replicator worked de novo, ab initio, without precedent, and without help other than from the ordinary laws of chemistry.


Dawkins presents some of the research done in investigations of chemical evolution, for example, the Miller-Urey experiment:

What Miller, under Urey's direction, did was take two flasks, one above the other, connected by two tubes. The lower flask contained heated water to represent the primaeval ocean. The upper flask housed the mocked-up primordial atmosphere (methane, ammonia, water vapour and hydrogen). Through one of the two tubes, vapour rose from above the heated 'ocean' in the lower flask and was fed into the top of the 'atmosphere' in the upper flask. The other tube returned downwards from 'atmosphere' to 'ocean'. On the way it passed through a spark chamber ('lightning') and a cooling chamber, where vapour condensed to form 'rain' which replenished the 'ocean'.

After only a week in this recycling simulacrum, the ocean had turned yellowbrown and Miller analyzed its content. As Haldane would have predicted, it had become a soup of organic compounds, including no fewer than seven amino
acids, the essential building blocks of proteins. Among the seven were three glycine, aspartic acid and alanine from the list of 20 found in living things. Later experiments along Miller's lines, but substituting carbon dioxide or
carbon monoxide for methane, have achieved similar results. We can draw the robust conclusion that biologically important small molecules, including amino acids, sugars and, significantly, the building blocks of DNA and RNA, spontaneously form when various versions of the Oparin /Haldane primitive Earth are simulated in the laboratory.


These snippets don't do justice to the whole discussion, but at least should give you some ideas about scope of work on life's chemical origins.

I hope Colorado high school students get to learn about THIS SORT OF INTERESTING, AMAZING WORK!

Fun stuff.

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Response to DreamGypsy (Reply #13)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 05:50 PM

17. That's all fascinating stuff

For me the name strikes me as a bit of a misnomer, or at least an odd way of talking about chemicals. The phrase "life's chemical origins" is much more apt, in that words "chemical evolution" leave out the most interesting part, the tie-in to life (except insofar as the reference is implicit in the word "evolution"). I guess it's just an expression I haven't run across before!

I'm not sure that chemical evolution is really a "controversial issue in science education," except perhaps for those who insist science conform to their prior beliefs.

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Response to caraher (Reply #17)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 06:08 PM

18. Glad you found the information useful...


and I recommend the chapter in Dawkins' book for more details and history. I am sure there are other references as well.

My point about chemical evolution/life's chemical origins being 'controversial' was intended to refer to the differing theories on earthly origin versus meteoric arrival...I should have been more clear.

Of course, differences of opinion are of great importance for the progress of science...as long as the opinions are backed by evidence and ultimately an explaining theory.

Here's one bits of evidence for extraterrestrial organic compounds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murchison_meteorite

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Response to DreamGypsy (Reply #13)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 06:27 PM

20. Yeah, but keep in mind...

...that no science teacher requires any new bills to be passed to teach this stuff already. Any science teacher with the initiative could work this into a lesson plan if they wanted to right now.

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Response to gcomeau (Reply #20)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:24 PM

22. Yup

All these bills share the peculiar feature that if you read them, what they purport to promote is nothing other than what teachers would love to be doing every day instead of drilling their students for the next round of high-stakes standardized tests.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:29 PM

2. Snort.

He's lying. That's exactly what he wants.

"It's not something that could be used for someone to open up their scriptures and start teaching their version of how the world started," he said. "Only scientific information."



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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:34 PM

3. Won't go far

CO legislature ruled by majority Dems, as well as senate and Gov's office. Lots of nutty repukes though. They've already tried "Personhood 555"

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Response to OldHippieChick (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:17 AM

25. Today I heard a Republican from Ft. Collins introduced

a bill to make it illegal for Co. law enforcement to enforce any federal gun laws and require the Co. Attorney General's office to defend any Coloradan charged with violating federal gun laws. Who are these people and what are they doing here?

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:37 PM

4. Science, or fairy tales about ribs and serpents and apples.

Superstitious neanderthals are dragging us back by centuries.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:44 PM

5. The Real Fatal Flaw in His Argument: "Controversial Issues in Science Education"

Evolution is NOT a controversial issue in science classes outside of parochial schools and far right-wing think tanks. Also just an issue with far RW politicians.
Climate Change is not a controversial issue outside of Koch brothers and other hydrocarbon fuels industries and their paid for politicians and think tanks. When the CIA and the World Bank are issuing dire warnings about climate change it has ceased to become controversial in my opinion.

The only "controversy" on these issues is the ginned up controversy created by the right-wing think tanks and politicians who are all supported by either churches (on evolution) or big corporations that have the most to gain financially by casting doubt on climate change.

It's a BS bill and will never make it anywhere in CO's dem-controlled legislature.

Oh BTW, there's really nothing preventing science teachers from doing this now.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:46 PM

6. What the hell are

"controversial issues in science education"...? The only controversy I'm aware of is the one being created by the creationists. This is like birtherism and all the other scrambled brain lunacy they promote. They are securely wrapped in their cocoon of a separate reality and will never be happy until their idiocy is recognized.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:53 PM

7. Give. It. Up.

I am begging the GOP to stop playing the "I'm-the-biggest-idiot-in-the-room" game. It WON'T help you get elected and despite what may SEEM like empirical evidence in Dan Quayle, George W. Bush and Sarah Palin, its more likely to make you a national punchline than a top-of-the-ticket brand name.

Creationism is so laughably inadequate to describe the development of life on earth that its just sad to see people even WANT to keep on defending it publicly. Pathetic really.

The same is true of climate science deniers, fracking defenders, abortion doctor murders and the rest of the lunatics on the right. There is no "controversy" about human cloning either. If we chose to clone a human being we could do so easily. To imply controversy would be to imply that somehow the process itself is in doubt instead of the ethics of doing so. There is no special religious place that protects the sanctity of creating human life, just an all too real (and valuable) human ethics to give us pause on doing what we can without considering if we should.

The all too real scientific debates - like whether or not we should have mandatory GMO labeling in the marketplace - are frequently blocked by the same moron brigade who are only too happy to "debate" whether or not a boat was built to save all of life from a homicidal maniac "gawd" that was appeased by ritualistic sacrifice and burning goat flesh. Really? In the 21st century we still suffer these fools and their retarded ideologies gladly?

What this country REALLY needs is a very scaring, atheistic foe to replace the boogey-man du jour of "radical Islam". I miss the Communists so much...

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Response to Moostache (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:58 PM

9. The biggest idiot in the room is the Republican base

You can't get people to believe in trickle-down economics if they have the intelligence to question bullshit religious beliefs.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 02:56 PM

8. Creationism is not up for debate

It is not a scientific theory.

So, why are idiots continuing to attempt to force this worthless topic on Americans? Why? Because they are totally discredited by this teaching. Rather than admit they are wrong, they are trying to deform reality to fit their beliefs.

It's positively medieval.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:18 PM

10. "to create a friendly environment"

No sir, it will become very ugly fast.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:20 PM

11. Why?

The debate died in the 1700s. It's clear that creationism is not even science. It's a belief.

Evolution happens and the mechanism is natural selection and proof is the changes to the DNA. Bing!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 03:27 PM

12. Here's a source for information.

The National Center for Science Education is the clearinghouse for these issues.

Their executive director, Eugenie Scott, is the real deal.


Google her.

Or watch her talk at TAM 2011:

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:26 PM

14. Colorado teachers need to read the book, "Your Inner Fish."

Explains how evolution is revealed in our own bodies when compared to the paleontological record in the earth.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 04:38 PM

15. GOP--still trying to be the part of Stupid

GOP--Greedy Old Perverts, Groping Our Privates.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 05:16 PM

16. Humphrey Dumphrey sat on a wall...

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 06:24 PM

19. It's like whack-a-mole out there...

on any number of issues.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:21 PM

21. That would be a short debate.

Moderator: "Okay, what evidence do you have to support your position?"

Us: "We've got hundreds of genomes from diverse organisms, and can trace protein evolution with single nucleotide resolution".

Them: "We've got this 2,000 year old book."

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Response to SansACause (Reply #21)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:25 PM

23. "Magic Man done it!"

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Response to SansACause (Reply #21)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:31 PM

24. But more seriously...

Outcomes of debates are generally linked more to the skill of the debaters than the merits of the positions they hold. Creationists LOVE debates, because they get to employ all the tools of the sophist, generally against scientists who enter battle with one hand tied behind their backs because they are reluctant to employ the emotional appeals and logical fallacies that can win audiences but have no merit.

Creationists win those debates because winning is about persuasion, not being right or even merely consistent.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 12:27 AM

26. Why does this have to be a "science" debate?

If it was in theology classes and electives, I'd be fine with it.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 06:27 PM

27. I don't have any problems with this as long as it is not in a science class.

A debate class would be fine, a religion class would be fine, just not a science class.

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