Analyze and Evaluate

Here is a strange new meta-study:

Hundreds of Natural-Selection Studies Could be Wrong, Study Demonstrates

Scientists at Penn State and the National Institute of Genetics in Japan have demonstrated that several statistical methods commonly used by biologists to detect natural selection at the molecular level tend to produce incorrect results.

The strange part is not that some scientists have determined that certain methods may not be reliable. This is a normal process of correction in science.

It is also not strange that molecular biologists would challenge the assumptions of evolutionary biologists. Molecular biology is experimental and evolutionary biology is not.

Nei said that to obtain a more realistic picture of natural selection, biologists should pair experimental data with their statistical data whenever possible. Scientists usually do not use experimental data because such experiments can be difficult to conduct and because they are very time-consuming.

The strange part is that Pennsylvania State University chose to put out a press release with that deliberately provocative title. Aren’t they afraid that the science-worshippers will accuse them of promoting creationism, irrationality, and theocracy? I mean, the last thing anyone rational would do is analyze and evaluate the actual validity of the Reason Fairy’s pronouncement of Scientific Truth.

Here is why it is bad to “analyze and evaluate”:

“What we now have is Son of Strengths and Weaknesses,” says Josh Rosenau, a project director for NCSE. “Having students ‘analyze and evaluate all sides of scientific evidence’ is code that gives creationists a green light to attack biology textbooks….”

The new standard directs students to “analyze and evaluate the sufficiency of scientific explanations concerning any data of sudden appearance, stasis and the sequential nature of groups in the fossil records….”

“Let’s be clear about this,” cautioned Dr. Scott. “This is a setback for science education in Texas, not a draw, not a victory….”

And yet, I was told not long ago that if public schools fail to teach evolution by natural selection (TENS) as fact, then children will not learn how to think properly. Obviously, there is a lot of fear among the advocates of TENS that children may start analyzing and evaluating what they are taught, which may lead them to not thinking properly. Before you know it, they might start to even have original ideas and become true individuals. That would be disastrous for the Brave New World!

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