Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment javascript and meta-moderation (Score 2) 1832

1. Less javascript in the stories list and the story pages. Preferably none. We don't need or want a spiffied up interface.

2. The current meta-moderation system is completely ineffective. Years ago Slashdot hat a workable meta-moderation system which kept moderators more or less honest by denying moderation points to users who mismoderated posts. With the current system, nobody blinks at down-moderating folks simply because they disagree. Bring back the old meta-moderation mechanism.

Comment Re:Strengths and weaknesses (Score 1) 510

You're mistaken on that as well. Laws mean what they say. That's the nice thing about laws. No matter what the author wants, laws mean exactly what they say.

Nothing I read in the senate bill permits creationism to be discussed in science class. In fact, one passage appears to prohibit that. It does, however, encourage science teachers to critique evolution and talk about the evidence supporting each of the pieces. And to encourage students to think about whether each piece of evidence offers strong or weak support for the theory.

Comment Re:Strengths and weaknesses (Score 1) 510

one could sit down, blow the Creationism nonsense out of the scientific water so to speak, to show just how infantile the thought-patterns of its supporters are

You're mistaken. The reason creationism is not science is because it's not falsifiable. It implies no experiments nor relies on any data which can be demonstrated to be true or false. So no, on a _scientific_ level Creationism can't be blown out of the water. And that's the whole point. It's not science.

Comment Re:Strengths and weaknesses (Score 1) 510

What alternatives to evolution? See, that's the problem with your position. You treat it as given that the strengths and weaknesses of a theory can't be evaluated absent an alternative. That's absurd. Science isn't "true-by-default." A theory isn't accepted until it makes falsifiable claims, attempts are made to prove it false using those claims, and those attempts reveal instead that it's true.

Evolution is a broad theory with many pieces. Some of those pieces are well tested in controlled conditions. Some have supporting evidence in the fossil record but no one has successfully tested them in the lab. A few are just guesswork.

How do you expect a student to reject intelligent design if you won't let him critically evaluate punctuated equilibrium? If you turn it in to an article of faith, science loses.

Comment Re:Strengths and weaknesses (Score 1) 510

Can you explain how the absence of a mainstream alternative scientific theory bears on the strengths and weaknesses of the one mainstream theory? Aside from it being a single check mark in the strengths column?

You don't suggest that public school science should be taught by providing the current prevailing theories while discouraging students from critical thinking about those theories, right? Science without challenge is doctrine, not science.

Comment Re:Strengths and weaknesses (Score 1) 510

And that matters because? Last I checked there is no such thing as "accept by default if no alternative" in science. A theory has to make falsifiable predictions and then experiments attempting to prove the theory false have to unambiguously show that it's true.

Many of the "disjointed nitpicks" in climate science have to do with it making predictions so close to the measurement error that they may not qualify as falsifiable.

Comment Re:Strengths and weaknesses (Score 1) 510

Okay. That's good enough for me to retract the label.

I think you're probably misreading the subtext. There are no "scientific controversies" in evolutionary theory because there are no competing scientific theories. One could, however, get away with teaching scientific controversy in global warming.

Comment Re:Strengths and weaknesses (Score 1) 510

I agree: teaching "controversy" between evolution and religion is a lie. One is science. The other is not.

When I read the senate bill, I found no direction to teach such controversy. In fact, the "no religion" part suggested to me that science class was supposed to confine itself to science.

What I'm still not hearing is why it's not OK to teach which parts of evolutionary theory are rock solid and which parts are still mostly guesswork and why. It seems to me that would improve a student's understanding of science, not detract from it.

Slashdot Top Deals

The fancy is indeed no other than a mode of memory emancipated from the order of space and time. -- Samuel Taylor Coleridge