Student Claims Perry Understands Science

This one comes from the Daily Reveille, a student newspaper at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Its full name, explained here, is Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, but it’s known as LSU.

In that publication we read Believing in evolution doesn’t make you scientific. The author is described as “a 19-year-old medical physics junior.” It’s not fair to judge all of LSU by this one student-written item, so we’ll try not to do so. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman has been losing in the polls, so his solution is to distance himself from the other candidates by portraying himself as the rational candidate.

After hearing fellow candidate Rick Perry’s doubts on evolution, Huntsman jumped at the chance to attack Perry, gain attention and make himself appear smart and scientific to the media and liberals. … Like most liberals, Huntsman thinks if he uses the words “science” and “evolution” in the same sentence he’ll be called an intellectual.

You know where this is going, don’t you? Okay then, hang on and enjoy the ride as we read some more:

But nothing Huntsman has said demonstrates he actually knows what science is. Science is fundamentally a search for the truth about the universe, and Perry’s acknowledgement of the holes in evolution theory manifests a much better understanding of science than Huntsman’s faith in scientists.

Lordy, lordy. The article continues:

Believers in evolution cling to the theory like babies to their moms, but most are so scared of hearing a different interpretation of evidence they refuse to listen to any skepticism. They speak of evolution as a fact, when, in reality, science never produces facts — only results we can interpret.

No facts! You didn’t know that, did you? Now you do. Here’s more:

To put into perspective why evolution will never be considered a fact no matter how hard liberals and Huntsman want it to be, consider walking into a room and seeing a lit candle with matches next to it. It seems as though someone lit the candle with the matches, but it is impossible to be sure how the candle was lit because you weren’t there when it was.

Aaaargh!! It’s the old “Were you there?” maneuver. This article is tragic, but stay with us and we’ll get through it together:

Scientific observations are classified into three categories: hypotheses, theories or laws. Hypotheses are the weakest interpretations of evidence, while theories garner more support. Laws are said to be the strongest explanations, but even they aren’t facts.

What is going on at LSU? Scientific laws don’t explain anything — they’re descriptive. It’s theories that offer explanations. It doesn’t take much Googling around to find some workable definitions: See Scientific Hypothesis, Theory, Law Definitions. Perhaps a better set of definitions is provided by the National Academy of Sciences: Definitions of Evolutionary Terms.

Now we get to the hard-core creationism:

Contrary to Huntsman’s claim, the Republican Party is proving more scientific because of its legitimate recognition of the gaps in evolution.

To point out one weakness, evolution relies on the assumption that beneficial genetic information has been repeatedly added to genomes throughout the history of the universe. But not even Richard Dawkins, a leading evolutionary biologist from Oxford University, could name a single mutation that has added beneficial information.

Wow — Dawkins can’t name even one! And now we come to the article’s end:

The Republican Party doesn’t need a candidate like Jon Huntsman, who has no clue what science is and refuses to accept that alternative explanations to evolution are plausible. It needs candidates like Perry who would allow the freedom for true scientific inquiry.

There’s not much we can say here, so we’ll just wish the author the best of luck in his study of “medical physics,” whatever that might be at LSU.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “Student Claims Perry Understands Science

  1. Apparently “medical physics” has to do with radiation treatments and the like in hospital settings. You might assume some biology would be part of the program, but on the other hand Don McLeroy survived whatever biology courses he had without learning anything about science or evolution.

    Someone needs to tell young Austin that evolution is a fact, the same as the rotation of the earth is a fact. The “theory” of evolution is the explanation of how it occurs.

  2. Ed says:

    Apparently “medical physics” has to do with radiation treatments and the like in hospital settings.

    I thought it was the study of laxatives.

  3. This makes me cringe, especially since I am a former LSU employee. We have a lot of work ahead of us.

  4. why am I not surprised that this is coming out of Louisiana?

  5. This is just shameful. Good thing the actual scientists at LSU don’t agree with him.

  6. I think our physics students need more biology. Although it probably would’t matter is their religious “mind” is already made up. I have run into many medical doctors in Louisiana that did not believe in evolution. On the other hand I would not call any physician a biologist. They don’t have the training for it.

  7. Zack Kopplin says: “Good thing the actual scientists at LSU don’t agree with him.”

    How do we know?

  8. 2 reasons, first, a bunch of them signed petitions in support of the repeal, second Kevin Carman, the Dean of the Sciences can and spoke in support of us a couple times.

  9. Well, Zack, they’ve got a student who needs some remedial courses.

  10. @biokid: a lot of people need more biology education, and science education in general. I also agree with your statement on physicians. I’m a pediatrician and can tell you from personal experience that being involved in the practice of medicine does not require acceptance of evolutionary principles. I’m often astounded by the number of people I trained with who were brilliant people but religiously deluded.

  11. We are all familiar with the law of gravity, but we can’t claim it’s a fact.

    I’d like to see this kid try to walk off of a tall building then and not fall…

  12. Zack is right. I was in the college of ed and worked with Zack on the repeal effort and the textbook fiasco last fall. The scientists at LSU do not agree with this student. It’s a shame that this person is going to go through life not having a clue about science. It’s really scary that he wants to help with cancer treatments.

  13. It seems as though someone lit the candle with the matches, but it is impossible to be sure how the candle was lit because you weren’t there when it was.

    I hope that this man is never allowed to serve on a jury. Using that logic he could never find someone guilty because he wasn’t there when the crime was committed.

  14. Allow me to say, as a Ph.D. candidate in the Dept. of Biology here at LSU, that this moron is not at all representative of the scientific community at LSU (or, for that matter, anywhere sane people gather to break bread).

  15. I was going to make a comment at the news website, but comments weren’t working and, anyway, it’s just an ignorant 19-yr old so why bother. However, whatever problem there was has been fixed and something like 38 comments, all negative, have appeared.

    My favorite was along the lines of “If you’re going to be a Poe, at least try to be humorous.” I second that. All in favor? Motion passes.

  16. @ Doc Bill.

    Thirded. I am always fascinated by the “letters to the editor” that cram as many regurgitated, long-refuted anti-evolution sound bites into as few words as possible. While many may be from Poes, the ones that aren’t are from people who are at, or just past, the point where they realize that what they are saying is nonsense, and that some of their claims are often rejected (though rarely publicly) by other “kinds” of evolution-denier. They say enough to make it clear that they are on a mission to save the “masses” from evil, so that, while they’re aware that what they say is nonsense, it’s nonsense that must be said.

    These people have undoubtedly read at least some of the refutations, but know better than to acknowledge, let alone “challenge” them (so which side is the real censors?). The more skilled anti-evolution activists “challenge” some of the refutations in longer articles, if only to mine more nuggets to promote incredulity of “Darwinism,” but they know when to Gish-gallop to safer turf.