Joined: Jan. 2006
The Discovery Institute's senior fellow and resident poodle, DAVID KLINGHOFFER, wrote in yestedays Seattle PI:
"Whatever its merits as science, Darwinism as a philosophy is far from uplifting or ennobling. Today when young Americans could use a little uplift and an appreciation for what's noble, letting them know about intelligent design, an alternative scientific theory with none of Darwin's drawbacks, couldn't hurt and might help."
Why we care about Darwin wars
Well I have never met anyone who adopted "Darwinism" as a personal philosophy so I cannot say whether Mr Klinghoffer is on the right path or smoking crack (again).
But on the subject of "uplifting" and "young Americans" I personally found the following article about some young Americans in Plano Texas in today's Dallas Morning News to be quite uplifting.
Teen's digging his fossil find
At Plano West, he uncovers ancient fish and love of science
07:42 AM CST on Friday, January 20, 2006
By KIM BREEN / The Dallas Morning News
PLANO – Brandon Alexander poked through the dried creek bed in his school's back yard searching for ancient oysters with his biology classmates last week.
Instead, he found an estimated 85 million-year-old vertebra from what once was one angry-looking fish, and unearthed an excitement about science that most teachers only dream about.
"You could not pay to have materials like these" in a classroom, said Wes Kirpach, Brandon's biology teacher at Plano West Senior High School and a paleontology enthusiast.
"It is about the most perfect 'in' to a lesson you could possibly imagine."
The fossil find that started with Brandon's discovery continued last weekend with the help of dozens of interested children, adults and teenagers. Several more vertebrae, a fin and other pieces of an estimated 12- to 15-foot-long Xiphactinus audax have since been recovered, and the campus hopes to find more in the coming weeks – if not months.
Although it's quite a find for the school, that fish's fossils are not uncommon in the area, said Kent Newman, director of laboratories at Southern Methodist University's Shuler Museum of Paleontology.
About 85 million to 90 million years ago, much of Texas was covered with a warm, shallow and clear ocean, Mr. Newman said.
The Xiphactinus audax were "probably the top dog," of fish, he said. "They were pretty much the top fish predator at the time. No one probably messed with them."
He said he hadn't heard of another school making such a discovery on campus.
"It's a great teaching tool," he said. Children grow up learning about scientific finds, but few get to see them up close. "So much of science takes place in a faraway place," he said. "It's never really real to them."
Outside of Mr. Kirpach's classroom is a picture of what the menacing fish would have looked like. Mr. Kirpach describes it as a marlin without the bill and with "a whole lot of teeth."
"Our kids call it 'Nemo with an attitude,' " said principal Phil Saviano. Mr. Saviano calls it a "home run more than one time" for Mr. Kirpach and his lessons. "We're capitalizing on the excitement," said Mr. Saviano, who showed off the fossils to other district administrators this week.
For Brandon, a 16-year-old Hurricane Katrina evacuee, the discovery has changed life on campus. It's given him an identity other than as just one of the evacuees.
"I'm a star," he said, laughing.
It's also recharged his long-dormant interest in science.
Mr. Kirpach said he never heard Brandon, a junior, mention college before last week. Now he's been asking about what it takes to become a paleontologist.
"I did not want to know anything about science," Brandon said. The fossil find, along with Mr. Kirpach's knack for explanation, has changed that. "I now have a thirst for science. It makes sense now."
Mr. Kirpach, who started looking for fossils across Texas as a hobby a few years ago, never expected to find much just past the student parking lot. He said he is not surprised, however, about the excitement the fish has drawn from youths and adults alike.
"Honestly, I've never seen a kid who didn't like dinosaurs," he said.
There are not many things more uplifting than seeing young kids discover the world of science. Who knows how many kids will pay closer attention to what science has to offer as a result of this find. And who knows if any of them will be the Ken Millers of tomorrow?
And note there is no mention of these kids wanting to destroy religion, deny god, or molest others due to their interest in science and this fossil discovery. What is up with that?
On the flip side, had this been an intelligent design course they would not have been digging for anything and instead would have been hearing "uplifting" lectures about mysterious designers, mouse traps, and fuzzy math. A science stopper to be sure.
And I wonder how many kids who were exposed to the intelligent design creationism class in California thought about becoming scientists as a result of the course? I wonder how many were "uplifted"?
And there is some IDC trivia in this story - Plano Texas is next door to Richardson Texas (both are suburbs of Dallas). ARN calls Richardson home and a few years back ARN tried to peddle Of Pandas and People to the Plano School disctrict. Plano is a Republican dominated, conservative, affluent community. They unanimously said "no" to Pandas.
For some reason, finding this fossil so close to ARN's back yard makes me smile. Of course, the bones were probably put there by a "designer" to test our faith...
Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson