More Overall Thoughts of the Science TEKS Hearing before Texas SBOE in November Part 2Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


More Overall Thoughts of the Science TEKS Hearing before Texas SBOE in November Part 2

30 December 2008 at 4:55:33 PM

Part 1 here. On this next part, I want to examine some examples the board members seemed to bring up to try to gotcha the speakers. Quite often the board members continued to talk to each other and denigrate the speakers while the speakers were talking or, after they finished, you could hear their negative comments. I suppose it was okay to ask the participants sitting in the room to not say anything negative,(as with Paul Kramer who basically said not allowing debate over untested theories was like nazi book burning)  but ignoring the speakers and being heard audibly was all right. Here's a link to some of the same things I considered, and more.

Polystrate fossils and whale story debunked

Had anybody taken the time and trouble to check the facts, they would have found that the story by Russel (1976) took some liberty with the facts and lacked very important information. First, the skeleton was not found in a vertical position, but was lying at an angle 50 to 40 degrees from horizontal. Finally, although at this angle, the whale skeleton lay parallel to the bedding of strata which at one time was the sea floor on which the dead whale fell after its death. These facts were confirmed by inquiring with the people at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History who excavated the whale. Although nothing had been published on the whale, Russel (1976) clearly identified the staff who excavated the skeleton and they could have been easily called at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles, California.

The strata containing the whale consists of diatomites that accumulated within deep bays and basins that lay along the Pacific coastline during Miocene times. As a result of folding and tectonics associated with the formation of the Transverse Ranges, the strata containing the enclosed skeleton has been tilted into a less-than vertical position. These sediments lack any sedimentary structures that would indicate catastrophic deposition. Rather, the strata exhibit laminations indicative of slow accumulation on an anoxic bay bottom. Within the adjacent strata, several hardgrounds occurs. A hardground is a distinctive cemented layer of sedimentary rock that forms when the lack of sediments being deposited over a very long period of time on the sea bottom allows the surface sediments to become cemented (Isaac 1981, Garrison and Foellmi 1988). In fact, identical sediments are currently accumulating without the involvement of a Noachian-like flood within parts of the Gulf of California (Curray et al. 1992; Schrader et al. 1982).

Furthermore, a partially buried, articulated whale skeleton slowly being covered by sedimentation in the deep ocean off the coast of California was observed by oceanographers diving in submersibles. It is an excellent modern analogue of how this particular whale fossil was created without the need of a Noachian Flood (Allison et al. 1990; Smith et al. 1989).

The geology of these quarries is documented by publications of the California Division of Mines and Geology (Dibblee 1950, 1982) United States Geological Survey geological maps (Dibblee, 1988a, 1988b), graduate students at University of California, Los Angeles (Grivetti 1982), and field trip guidebooks (Isaacs 1981). The other whale skeletons which have been found in these quarries lie parallel to the bedding and owe their modern attitude to tectonics rather then some mythical catastrophe. The written documentation for the attitude of the whale skeletons is contained within field notes and locality records of the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History in Los Angeles, California.

That would include Gail Lowe. polystrate fossils. Wikipedia says this is a non-standard term that occurs in creationist literature. Gail Lowe brought this up at least twice, one time had to be corrected by a man about the fact that there weren't those types in coal beds. Richard Nevill  Polystrate trees are ones that are found in multiple layers of strata.

According to scientists, polystrate fossils are just fossils which were buried in a relatively short time span either by one large depositional event or by several smaller ones. Geologists see no need to invoke a global flood to explain upright fossils. This position of geologists is supported by numerous examples, which have been found at numerous locations, of polystrate, upright, trees completely buried within either late Holocene or historic sediments. These polystrate trees demonstrate that conventional geologic processes are capable of burying and preserving trees in an upright position such that in time, they will become fossilized.

At this time, the best documented occurrences of unfossilized polystrate trees are found within historic and late Holocene volcanic deposits of Mount St. Helens, Skamania County, Washington, and Mount Pinatubo, Philippines. At Mount St. Helens, both unfossilized and partially fossilized polystrate trees were observed in many outcrops of volcanic debris and mud flows (lahars) and pyroclastic flow deposits, which date from 1885 to over 30,000 BP., along the South Toutle and other rivers. Late Holocene forests of polystrate trees have also been observed as occurring within the volcanic deposits of other Cascade Range volcanoes.[21][22] In a few years after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, the erosion of loose pyroclastic deposits covering its slopes created a series of volcanic lahars, which ultimately buried large parts of the countryside along major streams draining these slopes beneath several meters of volcanic sediments. The repeated deposition of sediments by volcanic lahars and sediment filled rivers not only created innumerable polystrate trees, but also “polystrate” telephone poles, churches, and houses, over a period a few years.[8] The volcanic deposits enclosing these modern polystrate trees are often virtually identical in their sedimentary structures, external and internal layering, texture, buried soils, and other general character to the volcanic deposits containing the Yellowstone buried forests. As in case of modern forests buried by lahars, the individual buried forests of the Yellowstone Petrified Forest and the layers containing them are very limited in their areal extent[23][17].

werner arbor with Anita Gordon.  I did try to do some reading on this, but I don't understand even the beginnings of the concept. So maybe someone reading that is a biologist can tell me, does what Arber was studying negate the theory of evolution? His theory has something to do with restrictive enzymes and were characterized by a board member as being limited.

70 scientists who oppose evolution.  Um, all from a Discovery Institute signed document. In response to a couple of different people who said that all scientists accept evolution, which isn't quite accurate, when there are 70 who don't.

academic freedom. Seems to be a buzzword. I noticed in listening to Mercer's questions to various speakers that this seemed to be his hobbyhorse. Joseph Martin had an excelelnt example of how something taught might be in line with academic freedom but be bad science. Here's a critique of an editorial re: Ken Mercer from the SA Express-News. About those academic freedoms.

You argued for allowing the inclusion of religious antievolution arguments in the science classroom and acting as though the phrases “freedom of speech” and “academic freedom” would obscure that fact. You were confused about who obtains the privilege of academic freedom; where academic freedom is discussed, it is about the teachers and not the students.

Interesting that despite the comments from board members that religion had nothing to do with their viewpoints on how science should be taught, Mr. Mercer was clearly not in lockstep with the talking point. When Bryce Perasey spoke, Mercer wondered about those who might have attended a church school meeting college standards and asked what an SAT has to do with evolution? (Bryce Pearsey)  He also, in editorial, as I noted above, in the San Antonio Express News said that Most People of Faith agreee with what is commonly referred to as micro evolution. From Thoughts in a Haystack.

 Since creationism has no positive scientific evidence, teaching the tired old canards against evolution that it is exclusively comprised of is the same thing as teaching creationism. In any event, as so often seems the case, the proponents of the "teach the weaknesses" cannot help but reveal the real motivation behind the ploy. As noted above, it's "macroevolution" that they find controversial......So it is the same "people of faith" who are pushing the "weaknesses" ploy because they don't like the idea of common descent.
I shouldn't be surprised at the duplicity ... it's just that you'd think they'd be better at it, given all the practice they've had.

Gail Lowe, our particular rep, doesn't care if she courts lawsuits. Remember she only recently sent out an email asking for a bible course to be taught in schools-the same bible course involved in the Ector County lawsuit.  She also nominated Charles Garner, who is one of the signers of the Discovery Institute's "Scientific Dissent from Darwinism" statement.

Done for now, brain dump successful.

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