Poythress weighs in on Vouchers

As was previously noted on PeachPundit and other news sources, State Senator Eric Johnson is pushing school vouchers on the 2009 legislature, possibly as a way to attempt to become the GOP’s candidate for Lieutenant Governor in 2010.

David Poythress
, the former Adjutant General of Georgia, and declared candidate for Governor in 2010 wants it to be known that he opposes Johnson’s plan.

“To re-direct public money from public education into unregulated private entities with the magical expectation that somehow the private sector was going to remedy all the education problems in the state — that’s just wrong. It’s not going to happen,” Poythress said.

“I wouldn’t say that there’s absolutely no voucher system that would ever work. I would say that the one he is proposing is very, very unworkable. And in my judgment, extremely counterproductive.”

H/T: Political Insider

86 comments

  1. tb says:

    What?! Should we be surprised that a dem would oppose school vouchers?

    However, I think receiving $10,500 per child is a bit of a stretch. There is no way parents are going to receive that because we already know that the special ed vouchers turned out to be far less than when it was originally lobbied.

    I think both of these folks need a REALITY CHECK and we do need the voucher system as soon as possible.

  2. Mike Hauncho says:

    Poythress needs to rethink his comment. Private schools tend to provide a much better education for their students because they are “unregulated” and do not have the government getting in the way. This idea that they are taking money away from education is silly. As long as the money goes to fund the educational needs of the student then the money has not gone anywhere, except out of the hands of government.

  3. griftdrift says:

    “Private schools tend to provide a much better education for their students because they are “unregulated””

    Including the ones that teach creationism?

  4. Tinkerhell says:

    “…then the money has not gone anywhere, except out of the hands of government.”

    And that’s the whole key to most arguments against vouchers. Sweet baby Jesus knows that most politicians don’t want us with our hands on our own money & theirs off it.

  5. grift,

    Have you seen what some of these public schools teach? While I admit teaching creationism devalues one’s education in the field of science, it does not preclude that they are being taught far better in other fields.

    I wouldn’t preclude the possibility of a creationism school providing a better education than a public school, but it is going to be a case by case thing.

  6. griftdrift says:

    I’m just wondering how far the free market principle extends. All the way to the point where other countries succeed better than the U.S. in certain economic sectors because our education in science deterioates?

  7. Icarus says:

    Grift,

    I think we have to face the facts that public schools aren’t doing the best job in the world of teaching science right now, either. Instead of focusing on the 10% or so that may choose schools that end up being inferior, I think we should consider the possibilities of what could happen if 90% had and made better choices.

  8. ChuckEaton says:

    Are not other countries already eating our lunch, in the math and sciences, under our current, highly regulated, system of education?

  9. mocamarc says:

    I was in the audience listening to comments by a Republican member of the Georgia State House of Representatives a couple of years ago. A statement made by this lawmaker referring to fellow legislators, I felt, was dead on: “Many people feel that, because they attended school, they know about education.”

    Lawmakers and the public ought to understand all the facts before making pronouncements on education. A good place to start is with the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education. This policy group is funded by the Georgia Chamber or Commerce and their mission is to share expertise for better school/student performance.

    I’ve been to a number of their board meetings and traveling forums aimed at candidates/incumbents to get them up to speed on all education issues.

    Few, if any, politicians bother to attend. That’s why I have little faith in the state’s leadership on this matter.

  10. If you are going to take that stance, then I don’t think I can find common ground with you grift. Maybe we should just start kicking them out in 5th grade if they don’t show aptitude. Hey, it works for China.

  11. griftdrift says:

    Yes, Chuck. In part because we are forced to wage endless battles over textbook stickers and the eventual watering down of our science education to placate the people that think Adam and Eve rode Jesus-horses.

    I am not against vouchers. But I want some tough questions answered. And they don’t involve rhetoric about the gummint hoarding our money or teachers unions or any of the other usual distractions.

    One is how do we avoid entanglement with religion or do we care? The other is are their limits to how far the free market principle goes in regards to possibly damaging the whole? Also can it be shown that by eliminating the economy of scale we are actually producing a better result and I’m talking holistically not individually?

  12. griftdrift says:

    Ronald, that’s a ridiculous strawman. I’m not advocating culling the herd. Much like the advocates of vouchers I’m seeking the best education possible.

  13. Bill Simon says:

    Ronald,

    Doesn’t the voucher system presume that the private schools are running at less than full capacity enrollment?

    Every single year I read about how tough it is for students to get into the private schools…both due to qualifications and (get this concept) limited space (i.e., scarcity of seats available).

    So, exactly HOW will a voucher system be helpful to kids who are in public schools now try to get into private schools where the ratio of applicants to available seats is already on the order of 50, 100 or 500 to 1?

  14. ChuckEaton says:

    Grift-

    Speaking of a strawman, I think blaming America’s downfall in math and science education on the creationsim debate is a bit of a stretch

  15. Well it does seem like the simplest solution.

    I knew good and well you didn’t support that notion, it was mostly sarcasm. But it does raise an interesting point, if your argument is that religion has caused us to water down our education already, how much damage is left for vouchers to do?

    Would a possible solution to be to create a bunch of magnet schools and send students there who had an aptitude in that field? It’d be far more specialized, but kids who were good at science would get a better science education and so forth and so on. You know, sort of like our college system – which I guess has arguably failed as well.

    Before I start going in circles, I just can’t seem to grasp what sort of alternative that would work in your mind. Help me out a little maybe?

  16. griftdrift says:

    Really? Chuck? A constant attack on the cornerstone of biology has had no effect on the number of students eventually entering those fields of science as opposed to countries like S. Korea where there is no such debate yet they have to practically beat grad students with a stick to keep them away from the labs?

    Maybe a little straw but I doubt its enough to build a whole man.

  17. EAVDad says:

    There are some exceptional private schools, but I would venture a guess that more than half of the private schools in Georgia are far worse than public schools. Sorry folks…vouchers are not the answers. Every independent study of voucher programs has shown no appreciable affect on student learning. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. Zilch. But it is a great talking point…

    Additionally, there’s no way — NO WAY — that students would receive $10,500. They would get only the state portion, which is probably closer to $4,000.

  18. Bill,

    If you notice I have yet to actually advocate the voucher system here. More or less I have defended it against the “creationism” argument presented by grift. So I may not be the most qualified person to direct such a statement too, but I suppose I can attempt to answer it.

    As I understand the voucher system not only allows parents to send their child to a private institution but also a public one of their choosing. I know many parents where I was raised would send their kids to the Dodge County School because the Telfair County Schools they found to be unsuitable. I literally saw people move half a mile just to be inside the county for that reason alone.

    Now it would be my assumption that a voucher system presumes that only the best would get into the private schools, and that the rest would go to public schools that were suitable. Leaving the public schools who fail to do their job to fail fiscally. In an effort to prevent the local government from loosing a resource, the administration would then institute reform and attempt to regain those who left.

    But then as I said, I’m not the biggest proponent of vouchers – so you might be better off asking someone else.

  19. Grift,

    I’m afraid it’s a little hard to convince someone who has already made their mind up. I would think though that the use of a Voucher system would be more apt to fix the problem you present than the current system. Barring some mass dialectic shift such as glasnost wherein everyone throws off religion.

    Send all the religious creationist nuts off to a few select schools, and allow the other schools teach real science? Wouldn’t that be one of the possible natural outcomes with a Voucher system? I mean most creationists I know hate the public schools to begin with, so if we give them the option of a Church-ran school, wouldn’t they naturally flock there.

  20. Tinkerhell says:

    Vouchers, as generally proposed by Johnson, would be for private schools, charter schools, or magnet schools or… “normal” public schools.

    The point behind the voucher is to let you send (or at least help you send) your child to the school you want them to go to. Maybe your family believes in creationism so you want them sent to a good Christian based school that will help teach the child the things you want them to believe. Maybe it’s a school with a proven record of 90+% of grads going on to a good college. Maybe it’s the school with the best football team since you’re little 15 year old Johnny is 6’5″ and 270lbs of linebacker muscle and you want him at the school that draws lots of college/pro scouts. Maybe it’s the school that prides itself on it’s science department and it’s graduates routinely get into Ga Tech.

    The point is it lets the family decide how to spend their money on their child’s education. Who are you (or the government) to decide what the best school for my child is and why should I be forced to spend my money for what you/.gov thinks? That’s obviously a sarcastic statement. We are forced into that everyday. This would just gives us back a little bit of our independence and control. And just maybe it will force those schools that do a poor job of educating to change their methods/staff.

  21. “Including the ones that teach creationism?”

    Yes. Especially the ones that are homeschooled. If you would sit down and compare a creation-based science textbook and an evolution-based science textbook, you would find all of the basic “facts” to be the same, with only some differences in interpretation of those “facts” relating specifically to origins theory (which has little to do with day-to-day science).

    The reason we have your dreaded “avoid entanglement with religion” in the government schools is because they push one religion, namely atheistic humanism, over all other religions. The only (and best) way to avoid that “entanglement” is to get the government out of the education business, and put education back into the hands of the parents where it belongs.

    By the way, I don’t think “vouchers” does anything of the sort. It just prolongs the agony of the inevitable failure of a government-run school system.

  22. ChuckEaton says:

    Grift-

    Whether you agree with the debate or not, I don’t think they are having it in New York, California, Mass., (or at least there hasn’t been any major changes in the curriculum) – you get my Drift.

    Something tells me the kids from Grady High aren’t turning down M.I.T. becuase they received too much education on creationism.

    Besides, I think 2+2=4 is still a mutally agreed upon concept by both creationists and evolutionists. Although “fuzzy math” seems to be getting more popular in the “progressive” states.

  23. bowersville says:

    This time last year I supported vouchers. But as time moves on, hopefully one grows wiser.

    Based on what we are seeing on Wall Street, tell me how government intervention with an influx of tax money (vouchers) into private education will improve private education?

    I can see it now, let’s bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac HS, they need more room because the student/teacher ratio is too high. As some schools begin to fail and administration bails out, let’s limit administrative salaries.

    Where will government stop and where will private education begin and who is responsible for cash down a rabbit hole?

  24. griftdrift says:

    “I’m afraid it’s a little hard to convince someone who has already made their mind up”

    Ronald, I’ve said that I am not against vouchers, I just need some questions answered. Heck, I actually think your argument to let the creationists flock to their little compounds is a good one.

    Taft,

    I’m not going to go over the same argument again and again because if you think the only difference between creation science and actual science is interpretation, I’m not the one in this thread who has made up his mind and can’t be convinced.

    Then again your position on the God squad Constitution Party is most enlightening.

  25. Tinkerhell says:

    Just to Grift’s argument here; what modern elementary/high school studies are going to be barred by one’s belief in creationism and how do you see that as hindering our national ability to compete in the world market?

    I don’t believe that I’ve seen any requirements in the proposed plan for schools to start or stop teaching creationism. Do you think that implementing vouchers is going to result in that happening?

    Do you believe that the few schools we currently have which teach creation theory are the cause of the USA’s current placement in the world as far as scientific education levels is concerned?

  26. griftdrift says:

    Tinkerhell,

    I’ve pretty much stated my arguments. It’s not that it is required or isn’t required at this point. It is the constant battle over if it should be taught or how evolution should be taught that is wasting our time, money and resources.

    I believe implementing unfettered vouchers would exacerbate this problem. Which brings up a very good question. What limits would be placed on the vouchers? Any?

    Like I said. Convince me I’m wrong.

  27. Tinkerhell says:

    “It is the constant battle over if it should be taught or how evolution should be taught that is wasting our time, money and resources.”

    Don’t you think that the option to send a child to the school that does or doesn’t teach creationism will remove the arguement to teach it or not to teach it? If a school has decided to teach it and all the students go away to the school in the next county that doesn’t teach it the market will have decided what it wants. The school with either stop teaching it & thereby draw those students back, or will continue to teach and go under for lack of funds.

    How do you see vouchers making the situation any worse. I might accept that it wouldn’t “fix” that problem (honestly I don’t see it is as being as big a problem as you apparently do) but I certainly can’t see vouchers making it any worse.

    “What limits would be placed on the vouchers?”
    How do you mean. I believe Johnson’s plan is basically as follows:

    1. Fully fund education. We should figure out what it is supposed to cost and how that cost is shared between the parents, the local government, and the state government – and fund it. It should be a simple formula. There should be no excuses.
    2. Let the money follow the child. Once the parent chooses the school – public or private – the local school has control of the funds. Get the state AND local bureaucracy out of the way. Then let the teachers teach and the students will learn.
    3. Attract the best and brightest people into teaching. Use alternative certification options so that a retired doctor can teach chemistry and a former soldier can teach world history. And pay them based on degrees, experience and placement, with significant bonuses for improved outcomes.
    4. Maintain discipline. Give teachers and principals the tools they need to maintain discipline in the classroom, including the ability to remove a handful of students who prevent the rest of the school from learning. Go to court, if necessary.
    5. Measure outcomes. Design a reasonable and transparent method to measure success. This should be designed by Georgians for Georgians.
    6. Provide public school choice. Every child is assigned to a neighborhood school, but the parents can move their child to any other school in that system as long as they provide transportation and the student and parent signs a contract agreeing to attend class, study hard, and behave. Violation of the contract will return the student to their home school. Local systems will have to put up a bunch of trailers at the great schools or fix the bad ones.
    7. Finally, give vouchers equal to the taxes spent on education to every child to attend any private school that will accept them.

    Here is the only part that I have seen so far that I have a bit of concern over:
    “What if every child’s parents were given a debit card (an “E-card” like the health care card that many have) with $10,500 on it for a year’s worth of education? Most of it would go to the school selected by the parent, but some could go to tutoring, books and computers.”

    I can think of lots of ways to use this incorrectly – someone could buy a computer & turn around & sell it for example. I’m not sure that I agree with being able to use the $ for anything other than tuition unless some pretty good oversight were in place.

  28. heroV says:

    I don’t understand providing vouchers for and/or allowing a family in school district A to send their kids to school district B. I would hope that school district B would have the right to say “no thanks, our schools are for our residents only.”

  29. Icarus says:

    Actually Taft, let’s call school district “A” Clayton, and school district “B” Fayette. This scenario pretty much just happened during the last legislative session. The problem was that the voucher bill, as presented, only allowed the state portion of funds to transfer with the student. The entire Fayette delegation was almost drawn and quartered over this bill, for allowing Clayton students into Fayette schools. Actually, for requring Fayette to take Clayton kids.

    I think you’ll find that in most areas with good public schools, many if not most of the residents will balk at the idea of taking in “the poor kids”.

  30. jkga says:

    Chuck Eaton

    Chuck Eaton asks “Are not other countries already eating our lunch, in the math and sciences, under our current, highly regulated, system of education?”

    Why don’t we try to copy what those countries are doing? (I’m guessing that vouchers don’t play a big role, but maybe someone can enlighten me on this point.)

  31. Icarus says:

    Why don’t we try to copy what those countries are doing?

    Like strict parental involvement, a culture that rewards success instead of praising mediocrity, and punishment for failure?

  32. rebelyelp says:

    @EAVDAD — If you check the latest college board report, you’ll find that, in Georgia, the average private school student scored 187 points higher on average than did the average public school student. Likewise, students in Religiously affiliated schools scored 117 points higher. You can see this on page 6 of the PDF report here:

    http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/about/news_info/cbsenior/yr2007/GA_07.pdf

    Likewise, you are similarly wrong in your claim that competition via vouchers doesn’t improve educational outcomes. Anyone even mildly curious about education reform will be familiar with with replicable studies which show they do.

  33. Tinkerhell says:

    “Actually Taft, let’s call school district “A” Clayton, and school district “B” Fayette. This scenario pretty much just happened during the last legislative session. ”

    Wouldn’t Johnson’s # 1, 2 & 6 pretty much take care of those issues?

    #1 & 2 sounds (though it is not clearely stated & I’d want to see the legislation before I believed it for sure) like the total cost of sending a student – State, & local money – is what the voucher would be comprised of. I’d agree that you couldn’t keep senidng some of the money for the child to county A when the child & the rest of his money was going to county B.

    #6 should deal with anyone that’s trying to move their problem kids around. If you are not going to be an involved parent working with your child for him/her to do their best then the school should be able to toss you back to your “assigned” system.

    To me it sounds good. I support it. As with everything the devil is in the details and the written proposed legislation will be the clincher. As a generally outlined concept I like vouchers & think they would do a world of good for our state.

  34. rebelyelp says:

    @griftdrift — not sure I understand your questions, but I’ll try:

    “One is how do we avoid entanglement with religion or do we care?”

    Do you mean how we avoid spending public money on religious education? If so, the answer is to use tax credits rather than tuition vouchers. A voucher is public money, and a tax credit isn’t, according to the opinions that matter. So let Wiccans send their kids to Montessori (I tease….) and Baptists send their kids to Hebron or Stratford. It’s their money and their tax credit, not yours, and by paying for their child’s education they relieve the public’s obligation to do so.

    One is how do we avoid entanglement with religion or do we care?

    “The other is are their limits to how far the free market principle goes in regards to possibly damaging the whole? Also can it be shown that by eliminating the economy of scale we are actually producing a better result and I’m talking holistically not individually?

    Not sure what you mean by “damaging the whole” or “eliminating the economy of scale” (not familiar with any evidence that there are increasing returns to scale in education). Can you refine the question a bit so I understand what it is you are puzzling over?

  35. atlantaman says:

    Good points Icarus. I think much of our education system is based largely on holding back the top 85% of the class to the standards of the bottom 15%. Whereas more competitive / hungry countries, like China and India, probably don’t spend as much time trying to make the top 85% more like the bottom 15%.

    Much of our education system is based on mediocrity and that’s from the top down. Teacher pay has nothing to do with performance or skillset. Why do you think graduate education degrees are one of the most common degrees done by mail.

    We all know who the best and the worst teachers are at any given school. Let’s reward the top 20% and say adios to the bottom 20%.

  36. rebelyelp says:

    @Bill Simon — I don’t know of any voucher proponents that presume private schools are undersubcribed and have plenty of empty seats.

    What vouchers proponents (and school choice proponents, generally) presume is that the availability for vouchers will create a large demand for alternatives to public education at the local government school. New schools will open to meet this demand. It’s basic market competition with the same supply and demand dynamics that work in nearly every other sector of our economy.

  37. atlantaman says:

    The problem is we live in a country of euphemisms where the difference between a voucher and a tax credit is lost. What about all those folks who didn’t pay taxes, but received a “tax credit”. Since they are receiving public money are we too follow them and make sure it doesn’t end up in a church collection plate? Is it okay for recipients of public money to buy alcohol as long as the public money doesn’t get entangled in some sort of religious purpose?

  38. rebelyelp says:

    @atlantaman — Helping those parents who don’t pay enough tax to cover the Tax Credit is the more difficult part of the problem. I’m certainly willing to support a subsidy that would allow the possibility of public money being used for religious education by lower income parents if they so choose.

  39. jkga says:

    “Like strict parental involvement, a culture that rewards success instead of praising mediocrity, and punishment for failure?”

    I don’t have a problem with these. I like the fact that in Japan, students are responsible for keeping their classroom clean. Here’s a nice article about Finnish schools:

    WSJ online

  40. atlantaman says:

    Didn’t we give the $500 tax “rebate” checks to those who didn’t even pay $500 in Federal Taxes?

    We’ve gotten so politically correct in this country that we don’t use the term welfare anymore.

  41. griftdrift says:

    I don’t have time to address everything said here but I will say it’s one of the best discussions I’ve seen on Peach Pundit. Despite what you might think I am open to vouchers but I need to understand the details below the rhetoric.

    I’m particularly liking the notion that the creationists will all march off to the school of Jesus-horses and the market will sort them out. I actually do prefer market solutions and some of you are convincing that might just work. And to the improvement of the rest!

    Rebelyelp, what I mean by economy of scale is you can do more with a large pool rather than a small pool. In other words, more can be accomplished by taking the however many billion brought into the education pool now as opposed to having a million children running around with their individual 10k. I think there’s an explanation that will alleviate this concern but I want to hear it.

    And Taft, the only place that believes there is a “controversy” is at the Discovery Institute and their brethren in the creationist movement. Take your wedge and go home. Or better yet, maybe if we get vouchers you can take it off to your little creationist stockade!

  42. griftdrift says:

    Wow. An actual creationist with actual talking points. I really, really wish I had time for this.

    Can you explain how Patrick Henry College and Liberty University are “kicking the butts” of say an MIT or a Cal Tech?

    Or are you putting up such a ridiculous argument just to make sure I know you are kidding?

  43. jsm says:

    “A constant attack on the cornerstone of biology…”

    What? The cornerstone of biology is an unproven THEORY? That’s bull, grift. You brought up the creationism issue in this thread and clearly, you love to rail on it.

    I’ll say this for the concern about vouchers going to creationism-teaching schools–I have some friends who graduated from Christian high schools AND Christian colleges who went on to top-tier universities (Columbia, Emory, Mayo Clinic) and became doctors. Believe it or not, they’re still creationists.

    The whole argument about which view of science history is taught in schools is straw, and your cute little comments about “Jesus-horses” and creationist “compounds,” when creationism is a widely held belief in this country, only exposes how flimsy your argument is.

    We should let parents choose where to educate their children and stop forcing people to pay for a government-mandated educational monopoly that sucks.

  44. Doug Deal says:

    jsm,

    You look really foolish with that old “evolution is only a THEORY!” line. It really does make your side of the “argument” look uneducated.

    Nothing in science is ever abosultely proven prositively, things can only be falsified (or disproven) with 100% certainty. Once something is considered a theory, it is pretty much as proven as it gets, and has withstood years of arguments and attempts to falsify it. You are confusing the word hypothesis with theory.

    Just because you misuse the English language and then use this ignorance as a means to attack others does not then make you correct.

  45. Doug,

    The word “theory” means a number of different things, depending on the context. In the maths and sciences, for example, a theory is a tested and testable concept which is used to explain an occurrence. For students of the arts, “theory” refers to the non-practical aspect of their work, while laypeople refer to unproven ideas and speculation as theories. The multitude of meanings for this word can get confusing, but the intent is usually clear from the context; a mathematical paper talking about a theory, for example, is probably referring to a theory in the scientific sense.

    In English, the word dates back to 1592, when it was used to mean a concept or scheme. By the 1630s, scientists had co-opted the word, using it to describe an explanation or thought which was based on observation and testing. “To theorize” also emerged at around the same time.

    In the sciences, theories are created after observation and testing. They are designed to rationally and clearly explain a phenomenon. For example, Isaac Newton came up with a theory about gravity in the 17th century, and the theory proved to be both testable and correct. Scientific theories are not quite the same thing as facts, but they are often very similar; scientists usually test their theories extensively before airing them, looking for obvious problems which could cause the theory to be challenged.

    In mathematics, theories are bodies of knowledge about specific types of mathematics. Mathematicians use things like set theory in the course of their work. Theoretical mathematics can get quite complex and abstract, making it sometimes difficult for laypeople to understand, but it helps to explain everything from the movement of crowds to the origins of the universe.

    In the arts, many artists refer to their non-practical work as theoretical. For example, a musician who plays the tuba would consider the study of music history, the math of music, and other related material “theory.” Art criticism is also a field of theory, since critics discuss artwork, rather than actively producing it, and through their discussions, they contribute to the overall field of art theory.

    For laypeople, a theory is simply an idea. Some people use “theory” like “hypothesis,” positing an idea which needs to be tested. At other times, an idea may be dismissed as “just a theory,” with the implication that it cannot be proven and it is only a rough idea, not a firm fact or opinion.

    jsm is correct in saying that evolution is an “unproven theory”. It’s not testable or repeatable. I mean, like, were YOU there? 🙂

  46. jsm says:

    Doug, looking “uneducated” is a result of not understanding science and trying to act like you do. I am, in fact, educated, and I’m quite fond of the scientific method.

    There ARE things in science that are proven, and they’re called scientific laws. Those who are educated in good schools begin learning about these in the elementary grades.

    Although evolution theory has many holes, most of the “scientific community” sticks with it because they have no better explanation for their findings without acknowledging a higher being. Government should not mandate that this theory of natural history be taught in schools. Rather, scientific facts should be taught, and students should be free to form their own conclusions regarding how it all came about.

    Simple student testing on scientific facts and other scholastic subjects would verify any school’s performance – public or private – under a voucher system. Any good school is testing their students and tracking progress already.

  47. rugby, I don’t know, try http://www.phc.edu/ or http://www.liberty.edu/ or http://www.rhodesscholar.org/ or http://www.truman.gov/ or http://www.cies.org/ to research that.

    While you’re there, research to see if there are any from some of the other colleges and universities that teach creation, like Azusa Pacific University, Bryan College, Biola University, Bob Jones University, Cedarville University, Clearwater Christian College, Grace University, the Master’s College, New Saint Andrews College, Oklahoma Baptist University, Pensacola Christian College, Southern Methodist College, Southwestern Adventist University, Southwestern College, Temple Baptist College, Tennessee Temple University, the King’s University College, Trinity College… that’s just alphabetically, to help you in your research.

  48. rugby fan says:

    Not saying they don’t come just that if you are going to claim those schools just that if they are “kicking the butts” of the Ivies, well, you might want to have substantially more students being awarded the most prestigious fellowships.

  49. Doug Deal says:

    Taft,

    jsm was not using it as a layperson, he was denouncing it’s scientific validity by calling just a theory.

    Evolution, or more specifically natural selection, is about as proven as anything in science can be. From genetics and paleontology, we can see the gradual progression of traits and the rise and fall of species as they fail to adapt to prevailing conditions of their time.

    There is nothing in this that even contradicts the biblical portrayal of creation, unless one makes the indefensible claim that it must be taken literally. So, there is not even a mainstream theological basis against it.

    This is exactly why the Republicans have a ceiling in its support among the American people. This anti-science nonsense destroys the credibility of party. I do not want to be forced to subscribe to your religion, and you do not want to be forced to subscribe to mine. (And no one wants icarus’s). Keep it out of the public schools and put it in Sunday school, and perhaps we all can be happy.

  50. Doug, jsm was correct in his usage. A theory is testable and observable. Darwinian evolution is neither of those.

    Natural selection is not evolution – at least, not in the sense that it is being debated. Textbooks present evolution in two different ways – small, observable changes (natural selection, speciation, adaptation) and large, unobservable changes (molecules-to-man evolution). They show evidence for the former and then conclude that this proves that the latter took place as well.

    As our understanding of genetics has improved, it has become increasingly clear that mutations + time + chance do not equal evolution. All observed mutations demonstrate a loss of genetic information from the genetic code, or they are neutral. Evolution claims that the process has no direction or goal. If you look at the complexity of the “first” organism, it must be accepted that a massive amount of information has been produced to explain the variety of life we see today. Mutations cannot generate new genetic information; so they cannot be used to explain how evolution has proceeded from a cell with less information than is present in modern cells.

    Despite the claims of evolution, the appearance of new species, antibiotic resistance in bacteria, pesticide resistance, and sickle-cell anemia are not evidence in favor of evolution. They do, however, demonstrate the principle of natural selection acting on existing traits – a concept that creationists and evolutionists agree on. The creationist model of how life spread across the globe after the Flood of Genesis uses many of the same principles of natural selection and adaptive radiation that are used in the evolution model. One of the main differences is that the biblical creation model recognizes that one kind cannot change into another and that the changes are a result of variation within the created kinds – not descent from a single common ancestor. As a result of the Curse, genetic mutations, representing a loss of information, have been accumulating, but these do not cause new kinds to emerge.

    Doug, I’m afraid I’ll have to call your bluff on this one. Every iota of Darwinian evolution (“goo to you by way of the zoo”) contradicts the biblical portrayal of creation, unless one makes the indefensible (for a Christian) claim that it must not be taken literally. Why do Christians believe in the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ? Because of the words of Scripture (“according to the Scriptures”). And why should Christians believe in the six literal days of creation? Because of the words of Scripture (“In six days the Lord made…”).

    The real issue is one of authority – is God’s Word the authority, or is man’s word the authority? So, couldn’t God have used evolution to create? The answer is No. A belief in millions of years of evolution not only contradicts the clear teaching of Genesis and the rest of Scripture but also impugns the character of God. He told us in the book of Genesis that He created the whole universe and everything in it in six days by His word: “Then God said…” His Word is the evidence of how and when God created, and His Word is incredibly clear.

    Again, Doug, I have to call your bluff. It’s not the believers in creation who are anti-science; it’s the proponents of Darwinian evolution. Many people do not realize that science was actually developed in Christian Europe by men who assumed that God created an orderly universe. If the universe is a product of random chance or a group of gods that interfere in the universe, there is really no reason to expect order in nature. Many of the founders of the principle scientific fields, such as Bacon, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton, were believers in a recently created earth. The idea that science cannot accept a creationist perspective is a denial of scientific history.

    To help us understand that science has practical limits, it is useful to divide science into two different areas: operational science and historical (origins) science. Operational science deals with testing and verifying ideas in the present and leads to the production of useful products like computers, cars, and satellites. Historical (origins) science involves interpreting evidence from the past and includes the models of evolution and special creation. Recognizing that everyone has presuppositions that shape the way they interpret the evidence is an important step in realizing that historical science is not equal to operational science. Because no one was there to witness the past (except God), we must interpret it based on a set of starting assumptions. Creationists and evolutionists have the same evidence; they just interpret it within a different framework. Evolution denies the role of God in the universe, and creation accepts His eyewitness account – the Bible – as the foundation for arriving at a correct understanding of the universe.

    Science has been hijacked by those with a materialistic worldview and exalted as the ultimate means of obtaining knowledge about the world. And you, Doug, can’t see past the presuppositional blinders surrounding your eyes.

  51. Doug Deal says:

    Taft,

    Please continue to ramble on and on. It is clear that you do not understand the mechanisms of natural selection. You do believe in bacteria and viruses, I hope. I know they are not mentioned in the bible or your religious tracts, but trust me, we can see them, and they are real.

    Anyway, bacteria go through a generation each time they divide, which could be minutes. Because of this, they can show the effect of environmental pressures much more quickly than other forms of life. Each time those bacteria divide, the genes get rearranged a little, and not only that, sometimes a mutation happens.

    Well, expose bacteria repeatedly to antibiotics to the point that it kills only a portion of the colony and what happens? Do the bacteria as a whole recognize the poison and change their traits to match the threat? No.

    What happens is that each bacteria has a chance of surviving based on the genes that it has and the genes that it is expressing. The ones that have a genetic makeup that allow it to more likely survive the onslaught will survive in greater numbers than those that don’t. That means that the daughter cells of the surviving bacteria will have an even greater chance of surviving the next round, while the weaker ones end up dead. Eventually, the only bacteria remaining will have an arrangement of genes that pretty much make it resistant to the antibiotic. Thus, a new trait has been introduced to the species at large that was originally only possessed, or partially possessed by a few.

    I know that since bacteria was not brought aboard two-by-two on the arc that you don’t think that it counts as life, but it is. We see natural selection in practice every minute of every day.

    The Catholic Church is the largest Christian church in the world. They believe evolution is real, why is that such a leap for you?

  52. Bill Simon says:

    Taft,

    You stated this: “and large, unobservable changes (molecules-to-man evolution)”

    I think “molecules-to-man” is exactly what defines the moment of conception (molecules) growing into (i.e., EVOLVING) into a human being pretty much lays it all right out there.

  53. Bill, I know you’re not serious. You’re claiming that “maturing = macro-evolution”? I mean, I’ve heard some misguided Darwinists try to argue embryonic recapitulation, but never that “an example of evolution is maturing”!

  54. Doug,

    As I said, advocates of creation believe in natural selection. It just doesn’t have anything to do with Darwining (macro) evolution. Please go back and read what I wrote before you spout off straw man talking points.

    Second, no creationist would argue that bacteria (or whatever “kind” we’re talking about) doesn’t adapt to its environment. But, again, you’re somehow extrapolating adaptation to macro-evolution, which is VERY unscientific of you. That bacteria didn’t evolve into a fish, or a monkey, or a Bill Simon, or anything other than bacteria.

    Imagine a population of plants in a reasonably well-watered environment. Now the climate slowly changes, so as to become progressively more dry. After several generations, it is noticed that these particular plants tend to develop deeper roots. This helps them reach water at deeper levels. Also, they have a more waxy cuticle (outer coating) than before which prevents them from losing as much moisture.

    Both of these are adaptations. The plants are now better adapted to survive in their new environment. But – this could only have happened because the (genetic) information allowing waxier cuticles and deeper root systems was already in the population. Evolution, as an explanation of the whole world of living things, would require that information appears which was not there before. An amoeba does not have the information required to construct a man, so “amoeba-to-man” evolution requires that new, more complex information be added. Therefore examples of adaptation such as these plants most definitely do not demonstrate how alleged amoeba-to- man evolution could have occurred.

    If we had observed closely while the plants were growing in the moist environment, now and again there would have been plants with a waxier cuticle than others, and some with deeper roots (every population has built-in variation – just look around at the people in the street).

    These were not the average, and they had no advantage over the others. However, once the area began to dry out, they were better able to survive and pass on their genetic information to offspring. Those with more shallow roots and less waxy cuticles were the first to die out. In time, the whole population will be, on average, deeper-rooted with thicker cuticles.

    This is natural selection preferring one lot of information over another, leading to adaptation. However, selection by itself can choose only from what is there – it can’t create new, more complex, functional information needed to transform one type of creature into another. (That’s another question altogether – whether mutation [copying mistakes] can achieve this.)

    In fact, such a change as we have discussed is really a “downhill” change – some of the information in the plants which have now died out was not represented in the “newer” (surviving) strain and is thus lost from the population forever.

    Mutations are primarily permanent changes in the DNA strand. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the information storage unit for all organisms, including humans, cats and dogs. In humans, the DNA consists of about 3 billion base pairs. The DNA is made of two strands and forms a double helix. In sexual reproduction, one set of chromosomes (large segments of DNA) comes from the mother and one set from the father. In asexual reproduction, the DNA is copied whole and then passed along when the organism splits.

    Virtually all observed mutations are in the category of loss of information. This is different from loss or gain of function. Some mutations can cause an organism to lose genetic information and yet gain some type of function. This is rare but has happened. These types of mutations are often called beneficial mutations. For example, if a beetle loses the information to make a wing on a windy island, the mutation is beneficial because the beetle doesn’t get blown out to sea and killed. Genetically, the mutation caused a loss of information but was helpful to the beetle. Thus, it was a beneficial mutation.

    Besides mutations that cause information loss, in theory there could also be mutations that cause a gain of new information. There are only a few alleged cases of such mutations. However, if a mutated DNA strand were built up with a group of base pairs that didn’t do anything, this strand wouldn’t be useful. Therefore, to be useful to an organism, a mutation that has a gain of new information must also cause a gain of new function.

    And finally, Doug, advocates of the biblical creation model rely on the Bible, not on the Roman Catholic (or any other) church. Many Christians who profess to believe that the Bible is God’s Word do not accept the straightforward interpretation of Genesis and accept millions of years (and sometimes evolution also). They often admit that their interpretation of Scripture is controlled by the findings of “science,” which, in reality, are the naturalistic, uniformitarian interpretations of scientific data.

    Such interpretations (e.g., framework hypothesis, gap theory, progressive creationism, “day-age” theory, etc.) have been thoroughly debunked, by both creationists and Darwinists. As David Oldroyd is associate professor in the School of Science and Technology Studies at the University of New South Wales, Australia has said, “People seem to think that Christianity and evolution do or can go together. But I suggest this is only possible for the intellectually schizophrenic. Biological theory does not require or allow any sort of divine guidance for the evolutionary process.”

  55. rugby fan says:

    Taft, I will admit that was a poorly written sentence. In my defense, I attended neither an elite nor an Evangelical one.

    I’ll try to keep this simple to help me say this.

    Suppose PHC, Liberty &c. are doing far better intellectually than the Ivies. Don’t you think the religious schools would be “kicking the butts” of those top tier schools in the production of Rhodes Scholars (and other prestigious fellowships)?

    I mean, the Rhodes is only given to the best students in the world.

  56. griftdrift says:

    Wow. You go away for a few days….

    I love a good debate with a creationist but I see Bill and Doug already covered most of the lunacy.

    But I can’t resist just this one.

    Taft, what’s a “kind”?

  57. Bill Simon says:

    Taft Sez: “Besides mutations that cause information loss, in theory there could also be mutations that cause a gain of new information. There are only a few alleged cases of such mutations.”

    Thus the process that produced the sticky glue that makes Post-It Notes work. It was a mutation.

    Taft, evolution works in SO many ways it cannot be a question to the astute observer. Whether it’s biological or informational or inventions, nearly everything that exists today has an observable evolutionary component to it.

  58. Sure, grift. It’s called “baraminology;” a rough comparison of “kinds” might be to “species.” Evolution theory predicts that the ancestry of organisms can be traced down a hypothetical evolutionary tree and eventually back to the first living cell. Creation theory postulates that ancestry can be traced back only a limited distance to a starting organism of that type. Instead of a “tree” the creation model has a “forest” of unrelated organisms with vast genetic potential.

    Evolutionists are often asked what they mean by “species,” and creationists are often asked what they mean by “kind.” Creationists would like to define “kind” in terms of interbreeding, since the Bible describes different living things as “multiplying after kind,” and evolutionists also use the interbreeding criterion. However, scientists recognize certain bower birds as distinct species even though they interbreed, and they can’t use the interbreeding criterion at all with asexual forms. So, both creationists and evolutionists are divided into “lumpers” and “splitters.” “Splitters,” for example, classify cats into 28 species; “lumpers” (creationist or evolutionist) classify them into only one.

    In one of the most brilliantly and perceptively developed themes in his book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Michael Denton shows how leaders in the science of classification, after a century of trying vainly to accommodate evolution, are returning to, and fleshing out, the creationist typological concepts of the pre-Darwinian era. In fact, the study of biological classification was founded by Karl von Linné (Carolus Linnaeus) on the basis of his conscious and explicit Biblical belief that living things were created to multiply after kind, and that these created kinds could be rationally grouped in a hierarchical pattern reflecting themes and variations in the Creator’s mind.

    For more information on this subject, go here.

    Now, grift, I really do want to know: are you actually interested in getting answers to your questions, or are you just looking for a good “gotcha” line so you can sit back, satisfied, having put one of them thar fundy-mental-ists right smack in their place?

    I’ve been impressed in the past with your occasional ability to learn new facts and, after processing them, arrive at conclusions that were not in line with your original understanding. It’s a sign of maturity, and my hope is that the time I’m taking to answer these questions (which, I think has been shown, are based on a lack of knowledge or understanding of creation science and even science in general) is not a waste of time, but a time of genuine exchange of ideas and beliefs, where we can all come out the better for it. That, after all, is how progress is achieved.

    Or maybe this is just a blog.

  59. griftdrift says:

    First of all its more of an evolutionary bush not a tree.

    And I’m quite familiar with creation science and all of its arguments. In fact I anticipated the baraminology argument. It would be quite dangerous for you to assume I’m not familiar with every argument you will bring up. But please carry on.

    Now that I understand your frame of reference for kinds, next question.

    You brought up the Noachian Flood. I assume you believe it happened? If so how many kinds (2 or 7 of each) did old Noah have on the Ark?

  60. Bill Simon says:

    Whoa! Noachian Flood?

    Say, Taft, I’m kinda curious about this too, but in a different vein: Exactly how was it that the kinds/species, whatever of every animal of the day stayed on the Ark, were fed and watered enough, and excreted everything without getting ill by laying in their own excrement for weeks on end….AND still exit the Ark in good enough health to re-populate the Earth?

  61. Doug Deal says:

    grift,

    One wonders if the Noachian flood was a flood of salt, fresh or brackish water, because species of fish that live in the other two types of water would have had to have aquariums built to hold them, since they too would have died in the flood.

  62. griftdrift says:

    Doug just wait until you hear one of the explanations of how the flood explains fossil distribution. Here’s a hint. It relies on what could run up hill the fastest.

  63. Bill Simon says:

    Grift!

    Ah-hah! Maybe that was the natural hygeine washing that occured.

    Still…how were the animals fed? By waves full of fish washing onto a screen that caught the fish and made them available to all species?

  64. Now, grift, I really do want to know: are you actually interested in getting answers to your questions, or are you just looking for a good “gotcha” line so you can sit back, satisfied, having put one of them thar fundy-mental-ists right smack in their place?

    Well, you answered my question with your next comments, grift. I’m done with the science lesson, since you seem to know it all already, and aren’t being intellectually honest in your questions to me. I was attempting to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you seem to lie in the same bed as Doug and Bill: anti-Christian. It’s got nothing to do with science, so I’ll just go back to the political discussion now.

    Thanks for the ride, it was fun! :p

  65. griftdrift says:

    Because I don’t agree that Creationism is science, I’m anti-Christian?

    That’s an interesting leap.

    Have fun taking with your ball that you are now taking home.

  66. Bill Simon says:

    Wow! WOW!

    Sooooo…if one disbelieves in Creationism, one is automatically “anti-Christian.”

    Okay, Tafty, let me apply YOUR logic: If one rejects Judaism, and opts for Christianity, one is anti-Semitic.

    That must mean you are anti-Semitic. I will notify the ADL of your obvious issues with Judaism.

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