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Teaching Science, Not Eccentricity

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Written by Basil on 11/12/2004 12:02 PM. Filed under:

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“I think the (evolution) theory is atheistic. And it’s all that’s presented. It’s an insult to their intelligence that they’re only taught evolution,” said Marjorie Rogers, the parent who first complained about the biology texts.

Some scientists say they are frustrated the issue is still around nearly 80 years since the Scopes Monkey Trial — the historic case heard in neighboring Tennessee over the teaching of evolution instead of the biblical story of creation.

“We’re really busy. We have a lot to do. And here we are, having to go through this 19th century argument over and over again,” said Sarah Pallas, who teaches biology and neuroscience at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

(Yahoo! News – Ga. Evolution Dispute Embarrasses Some)

The responsibility of the school is to teach science, not every single idea that tries to compete with it. You may choose not to accept science, and that is your choice. If you choose to believe in geocentrism, pancake planets, Santaria, or young earth creationism, that does not mean the schools should teach your eccentric view on the world. Nor should it be taught that scientific theory — astronomy, biology, geology, and the like — is mere conjecture with no substantiation, as if eccentric ideas somehow deserve equal time.

A theory is

A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena. (American Heritage Dictionary 2000)

A theory, in science, is an hypothesis which research has not falsified with contradicting data. Data which appears to conflict is adequately explained by the theory, and future findings are predicted. The important point, though, is falsification. Science is inductive, meaning theories have a greater or lesser degrees of probability.

A theory is not a mere speculation. It is a systematic set of propositions which effectively explains natural phenomena and predicts future findings. Confusing it with speculation or conjecture is “equivocation,” one of the fallacies of inductive logic.

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