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Thread: POST of the Week!!

  1. #1
    The race is back! John's Avatar
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    POST of the Week!!

    We're starting something new in an attempt to smarten up the level of posting around here. We're announcing the "Post of the Week".

    Each week, our mods will nominate their favorite posts. We're looking for witty, intelligent, funny, whatever you think will help you win. It doesn't matter if it's your first post or your 10,000th.

    Our first winner is "rdpch", for a post in Current Events. If you're not registered, you can't see that forum, but that doesn't stop us. This post is too well-spoken to not win.

    Groan. I don't mean to insult anyone personally, but these discussions usually reveal little more than a very superficial understanding of the issues. In the classroom we don't give equal time to Alchemy, or Flat Earth Theory, or Astrology, or Phrenology, and for good reason--as explanations for the material world they have no support either in first principles or in empirical tests. People scream that fields of knowledge are "dogmatic" while staring right at the benefits of scholarship--the thorough, stringent complex (though of course non-perfect) set of tests and standards by which ideas come to be accepted or rejected, and without which our basis for understanding would be reduced to no better than what people assert on blogs and discussion forums. Opinions are fun to exchange, but unsupported opinions are not a good basis for understanding how the world works or for relying on that understanding when sending up space probes or when fighting disease.

    Most people don't seem to understand that, to those of us who teach, what's far more important than the details of facts or theories is that students understand how scholarship is achieved. Explanations that have no basis other than assertion--including Creationism or ID or however you want to dress up attempts to prop up literal interpretations of what some people, whom you would probably consider fanatical today, wrote down a long time ago--are rejected not out of dogmatism but out of a need to maintain standards of evidence that advance our actual understanding of the world and our ability to achieve useful things with that understanding.

    Those who take the "safe" position of "leaning" toward Creationism or ID while nevertheless proclaiming they shouldn't be taught in science classes are avoiding the issue. Does science provide a useful method for understanding how the material world works or not? If not, do they reject the products of a scientific understanding of the world that are all around them? And if not, do they actually adhere to the implications of Creationism/ID as an alternative explanation for the natural world, which would involve also rejecting the fields of geology (and evidence of historical changes in land form and species composition), physics (and principles used to date these changes), and astronomy (and evidence for the great age of the universe and its origins)? In short, buying into the unfounded assertion that a creator has shaped the design of organisms is a fairly wholesale rejection of our modern understanding of the world and how it works. Personally I'd prefer not to return to the Middle Ages.

    And those who claim that challenges to evolutionary theory--what some term "Darwinism", as if it were just another personality cult--are excluded are simply ignorant of what goes on in academia. The basic principles of evolution by natural selection are extremely well grounded in heaps of peer-reviewed evidence--by one database search I find that evolution was referenced in more than 31,000 scholarly articles written last year alone. The details of the process are under constant scrutiny and test in this literature, and the resulting foundation is about as solid as one finds in science. To claim that this foundation ought to be questioned simply because some people feel organisms are so complex they must have been supernaturally designed--especially when we have well-supported natural mechanisms to explain the diversity--is a remarkably anti-intellectual position.
    Read the whole thing HERE.

    rdpch now has a blue ribbon next to his name for the week. And our hearty thanks and congratulations as well.

    See if you can win the next one!

  2. #2
    Retired! hepcat's Avatar
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    Congratulations, rdpch!
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  3. #3
    Just Forting Around roseskid's Avatar
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    Wow, rdpch, what a beautifully worded post. Congratulations on getting the first FoRT Blue Ribbon.
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  4. #4
    Wonky snarkmistress Lucy's Avatar
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    Congratulations, rdpch! That was an intelligent, well-worded post.
    It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever. -- David St. Hubbins

  5. #5
    Who Dat lildago's Avatar
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    Well done, rdpch!
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  6. #6
    From the corner of my eye Jewelsy's Avatar
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    Well done, rdpch.
    "Among the blind, the squinter rules." ~ Gerard Didier Erasmus

  7. #7
    RESIDENT JEDI MASTER Stargazer's Avatar
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    You have always impressed me with your intelligent and eloquent posts, rdpch. You're also always respectful, even if you disagree with other posters. You definitely deserve this award.
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."- Yoda

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  8. #8
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    I agree with everything Star said. I can't think of anyone else who deserved this more.

  9. #9
    runs with scissors waywyrd's Avatar
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    Excellent post, rdpch! A very well-deserved win.
    Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted - John Lennon

  10. #10
    Anarchist AJane's Avatar
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    What a cool idea, John. And congratulations, rdpch - your posts have always been worth reading.
    All my life, I have felt destiny tugging at my sleeve.~ Thursday Next
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