Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 30696
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2004/6/9 [Science/Biology] UID:30696 Activity:very high
6/9     He gets a little crazy at the end, but he's got a point.
        Religious Zealots in schools:
        http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38861
        \_ Yeah, and what's the deal with gravity anyway? I have no
           conclusive evidence that it exists. Back in my day, we didn't
           have no fancy "science" to teach us about the world. We had
           the Bible, and dagnabit, it was good enough for us!
        \_ They're only religious zealots if you consider science a religion,
           which some (mostly nonscientists) do.  Schools don't teach any
           science other than the generally-accepted theory.  You have to go
           to college if you want to learn about fringe theories.  Since
           schools have to teach such a broad curriculum, I don't have a
           problem with them teaching only the most popular theories.
           \_ I only consider science a religion when people treat it as
              religion.  This point is made in the editorial, but it's
              somewhat obsured by his retoric. Most people I know treat
              somewhat obscured by his rhetoric. Most people I know treat
              evolution as religion, not science.  In science it's ok to
              know the problems with your theories.  Not so with most
              evolution advocates.  To them it's like the bible, "It's the
              TRUTH, it is the WORD.  Evolution is FACT!"  That makes it a
              religion.  You don't need craky theories to point out
              problems in evolution's case, it's full of them.
              \_ I don't know a single person who treats evolution as a fact
                 or unassailable truth.  The strongest defence of it I've seen
                 is someone saying that it's an accepted theory.
                 \_ Man, you should get out more.
              \_ When your viewpoint IS a religion, it's natural to assume
                 everyone with an opposing view has religious-like faith
                 in their viewpoint.
                 \_ Nah, I think it's just the self-rightousness that
                    reminds me of religion.
                 \_ How about this quote from my High School Bio teacher?
                    "Yeah, it's sceince so we call evolution a theory, but
                    it's really fact."  (Ok, it's paraphrased, it was 7
                    years ago.)
                    \_ Theory doesn't mean what you seem to think it means.
                       Perhaps you should have listened better or asked more
                       questions at the time.
           \_ You're letting the right-wing anti-intellectuals define the
              debate again.  Evolution is the most widely accepted scientific
              explanation of the facts and, as such, deserves its place as the
              theory of choice in educating the youth.  The "growing minority
              of scientists" who challenge evolution are growing because it
              would be impossible for their number to shrink without swiftly
              approaching zero.  Darrow made it impossible for the fundies to
              do away with evolution altogether, so they're trying instead to
              insinuate their fictions into the debate through pseudo-
              reasonable discourse, but before you know it, they're showing off
              pictures of dinosaurs standing with neanderthals and voting to
              standardize pi as 3.
              \_ I also find it amusing that the religious nuts don't feel the
                 need to go after the physics and math curriculum(except for
                 the pi thing.)  To me, e^(i*theta)=cos(theta) + i*sin(theta)
                 is much more indication of a god than anything in biology...
                 And what about all the time spent on Newton's law of
                 gravitation which is *known* to be wrong?
                 \_ Because it's right 99% of the time, and the 1% where it's
                    wrong is too complicated for high-school kids.
                    \_ right, and that sounds really reasonable to me, since
                       i'm a scientist, but that's not the point.  predictions
                       of how biology works based on evolution are also right
                       >99% of the time, but for some reason the religious nuts
                       want people to make a big deal out of that in spite of
                       the fact that all the science taught in school, and even
                       a lot of the math has some problems if you really
                       look deeply at the Truth of the matter.  It shows a
                       basic failure to understand how science works.  The job
                       of a science teacher is not to teach truth in some
                       absolute sense, it's to teach what works, which includes
                       both evolution and newtonian gravitation.
                   \_ You all realize the Pi thing is a myth, right?
                       \_ sounds reasonable except the "predictions of
                          how biology works based on evolution are also
                          right > 99% of the time" part.  evolution nuts
                          want people to believe evolution is like set
                          in stone.  it's not.
                       \_ Could you describe what you mean by 99% of
                          experiments, and maybe a few example links?
                   \_ You all realize the story about religious nuts
                      legislating Pi to 3 is an urban ledgend, right?
                      http://www.snopes.com/religion/pi.htm
                      Snopes doesn't meantion that the value they wanted
                      to legislate was 16/5 or 3.2.  This was in 1897.
                      The bill was not religiously modivated, as I recall,
                      it had something to do with standardizing
                      mesurements.  Not that this makes it ok, but it does
                      make you stupid.
                      \_ I could see some value in a commerce-based standard
                         for Pi.  If some commodity is commonly sold by the
                         barrel, and you want to translate that into some other
                         volume, there might be value in a law saying "You can
                         use Pi=3.2 in your conversion and the other guy can't
                         sue you for cheating him."
                         \_ no way.  the same could be said then for 1/3, 2/3,
                            etc., but it's not relevant.  The uncertanty will
                            always be limited by the rest of the problem, and
                            the number of digits of pi used will depend on
                            the precision to which the diameter is known and
                            the precision to which you need to know the
                            circumference.  This will never be more than, say
                            10 digits or so at the *absolute* maximum, and
                            since we know millions of digits, its just not
                            relevant.
                         \_ Sorry, looks like I was wrong about the reason
                            being standarization, it had something to do
                            with a math crank.  link:
            http://www.daft.com/~rab/liberty/Miscellaneous/Pi-bill-Indiana
            \_ Catch this part?:
        Fortunately, Indiana has, or had, a bicameral legislature.  The bill
        came up for first reading in the Senate on Thursday, February 11.
        Apparently deciding to have some fun, they referred it to the Committee
        on Temperance.  The Committee reported back on Friday, February 12,
        approving the bill, which then had its second reading.
              \_ Pi is 22/7ths, just as Jesus intended.
                 \_ If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for
                    me.
                    \_ If God had meant man to fly, he wouldn't have invented
                       trains.
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www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38861
Stocks between the lines Joseph Farah WND Exclusive Commentary Who are the real fundamentalist, extremist zealots? Months ago, he observed, the district's biology textbook failed to point out any of the weaknesses of the theory of evolution - teaching it instead as a matter of fact. Saying he was not interested in injecting religious views of creation into the curriculum, only providing more objectivity and balance when it comes to teaching about Charles Darwin and his theory, Caldwell added: "There's mainstream science that's been systematically censored from the classroom from my perspective." The school board came up with a compromise plan to retain the textbooks, but to encourage teachers to present the scientific information that challenges the theory of evolution. Resource centers in the school libraries would be started to provide other points of view. Parents would have received letters stating "a growing minority of scientists question the ability of Darwin's theory to provide an adequate scientific explanation for the origin and diversity of life on Earth." The plan seemed eminently reasonable and accommodating to all viewpoints - which is why the real intolerant, fundamentalist, extremist, Taliban-like, religious zealots shot it down. By a 3-2 vote, the school board decided there would be no dissent permitted on an article of faith like evolution. Oh, I know what you are going to say: "The majority on the school board wasn't religious. They were fighting the religious views of others that are creeping into the schools. There's no place in public schools for teaching religion." "These supplemental materials are religious in nature," explained parent Pam Herman. When people accept the theory of evolution as an article of faith and teach it as a matter of fact and permit no dissent whatsoever from their doctrine, let me tell you: Those are religious people pushing religious views. But rest assured they are only disguising their narrow religious views in the language of science. The theory of evolution is now being treated like Holy Writ. If something in science suddenly becomes so sacrosanct that you can't question it, then it ceases to be science. It's actually a contradiction of the principles of science and the scientific method, which requires testing, evidence, proof. And that's what is happening all over the country - not just in Roseville, Calif. There's a new wave of sweeping intolerance and rigid conformity being required of teachers and students. It seems to me when authorities are unwilling to accept any criticism of their doctrine, there is probably good reason. In the case of evolution, that reason is the theory itself is little more than speculation unsupported by evidence. I've been through the indoctrination camps in high school and in college. I remain thoroughly convinced that evolution is nothing more than a religious tenet of secular humanism - unsupported by facts and unsupportable by facts. Evolutionists are incapable of selling their ideas in an open marketplace. Instead, they resort to Soviet-style coercion and censorship to impose their views on others. Remember, it was the communists who made a special point of teaching that God played no role in the creation of the universe and mankind. Evolution became their god, and history is repeating itself in America's classrooms today. And that's as good reason as any not to teach what we don't know as fact to kids forced to attend government schools. There are many good arguments against government education, but the fact that so many turn into state-sponsored propaganda mills and miseducation camps is the best reason of all. Some of the very brightest people in the world today disbelieve in the theory of evolution. Some of the very brightest people throughout history have believed the world was created - men like Sir Isaac Newton, Copernicus and Maury. Why is it so vital to the new gods of scientific correctness that every schoolkid in America be taught only - I repeat, only - their theories of the universe and the origins of man? Taking America Back" exposes the weaknesses in America's current system and offers practical solutions solutions that are real and doable, solutions that can revive freedom, morality and justice in our nation. Joseph Farah's nationally syndicated column originates at WorldNetDaily, where he serves as editor and chief executive officer. If you would like to see the column in your local newspaper, contact your local editor.
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www.snopes.com/religion/pi.htm
Click here Claim: Responding to pressure from religious groups, Alabama's state legislature redefined the value of pi from 314159 to 3 in order to bring it in line with Biblical precepts. The bill to change the value of pi to exactly three was I am not square! introduced without fanfare by Leonard Lee Lawson (R, Crossville), and rapidly gained support after a letter-writing campaign by members of the Solomon Society, a traditional values group. Governor Guy Hunt says he will sign it into law on Wednesday. The law took the state's engineering community by surprise. "It would have been nice if they had consulted with someone who actually uses pi," said Marshall Bergman, a manager at the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. According to Bergman, pi is a Greek letter that signifies the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is often used by engineers to calculate missile trajectories. Kim Johanson, a mathematician from University of Alabama, said that pi is a universal constant, and cannot arbitrarily be changed by lawmakers. Johanson explained that pi is an irrational number, which means that it has an infinite number of digits after the decimal point and can never be known exactly. "I think that it is the mathematicians that are being irrational, and it is time for them to admit it," said Lawson. "The Bible very clearly says in I Kings 7:23 that the alter font of Solomon's Temple was ten cubits across and thirty cubits in diameter, and that it was round in compass." Lawson called into question the usefulness of any number that cannot be calculated exactly, and suggested that never knowing the exact answer could harm students' self-esteem. "We need to return to some absolutes in our society," he said, "the Bible does not say that the font was thirty-something cubits. Science supports Lawson, explains Russell Humbleys, a propulsion technician at the Marshall Spaceflight Center who testified in support of the bill before the legislature in Mongtomery on Monday. Humbleys is working on a theory which he says will prove that pi is determined by the geometry of three-dimensional space, which is assumed by physicists to be "isotropic", or the same in all directions. "There are other geometries, and pi is different in every one of them," says Humbleys. Scientists have arbitrarily assumed that space is Euclidean, he says. He points out that a circle drawn on a spherical surface has a different value for the ratio of circumfence to diameter. "Anyone with a compass, flexible ruler, and globe can see for themselves," suggests Humbleys, "its not exactly rocket science." Roger Learned, a Solomon Society member who was in Montgomery to support the bill, agrees. He said that pi is nothing more than an assumption by the mathematicians and engineers who were there to argue against the bill. "These nabobs waltzed into the capital with an arrogance that was breathtaking," Learned said. "Their prefatorial deficit resulted in a polemical stance at absolute contraposition to the legislature's puissance." Some education experts believe that the legislation will affect the way math is taught to Alabama's children. One member of the state school board, Lily Ponja, is anxious to get the new value of pi into the state's math textbooks, but thinks that the old value should be retained as an alternative. She said, "As far as I am concerned, the value of pi is only a theory, and we should be open to all interpretations." She looks forward to students having the freedom to decide for themselves what value pi should have. Robert S Dietz, a professor at Arizona State University who has followed the controversy, wrote that this is not the first time a state legislature has attempted to redifine the value of pi. A legislator in the state of Indiana unsuccessfully attempted to have that state set the value of pi to three. According to Dietz, the lawmaker was exasperated by the calculations of a mathematician who carried pi to four hundred decimal places and still could not achieve a rational number. Many experts are warning that this is just the beginning of a national battle over pi between traditional values supporters and the technical elite. "We just want to return pi to its traditional value," he said, "which, according to the Bible, is three." Origins: This wonderful bit of creative writing began circulating on the Internet in April 1998. origins on 1 April 1998 as well as sent to a list of New Mexican scientists and citizens interested in evolution and printed in the April issue of the New Mexicans for Science and Reason newsletter NMSR Reports. origins poster followed up a day later with a full confession and explanation of the prank, thereby allowing others to share in the fun. One would have thought that would have been the end of it. Several readers forwarded the piece to friends and posted it to other newsgroups. As the story moved along, what would have easily identified it as a parody and not a news item was stripped out: the attribution to "April Holiday" of the "Associmated Press." There is not now and never has been a bill in front of the Alabama state legislature to redefine the value of pi. With one exception, none of the names given in this fanciful account stand up to scrutiny. He is a former governor of Alabama, convicted in 1993 for diverting $200,000 from his inaugural fund to his personal use. Though the claim about the Alabama state legislature is pure nonsense, it is similar to an event that happened more than a century ago. In 1897 the Indiana House of Representatives unanimously passed a measure redefining the area of a circle and the value of pi. htm Urban Legends Reference Pages 1995-2003 by Barbara and David P Mikkelson This material may not be reproduced without permission References Sources: Bussmann, Tom.
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www.daft.com/~rab/liberty/Miscellaneous/Pi-bill-Indiana
marc Subject: #define PI 32 I posted this to the net originally as 3 articles, which I have combined for mailing. SUMMARY AND SOURCES I am reasonably sure that any references to *any* state setting pi to 3 or any other value by legislation really refer to this event. My source for the information following, and for the text of the bill in the part 3 article, is a 5-page article that appeared in the 1930's in the Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science. That article is researched from primary sources: it gives specific citations in the Indianapolis newspapers and the House and Senate Journals from 1897, and a PIAS article written from memory in 1916. I have only a many- generationed photocopy of the 1930's article, kindly sent to me by Russ Archer of mhuxr. There is no direct indication of the date, but July 1935 is referred to as "the past summer" in the article. In case anyone wants to trace it, the author is Will E Edington, the title is "House Bill No. I have been unable to find any reference by Martin Gardner to the story, neither in "Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science" nor in his Scientific American columns. I have seen brief references to the story in several places, including the Guinness Book of World Records. Frequently these references give the wrong wrong value of Pi. It was 32, not 3 as the Bible seems to suggest, nor 4 as Guinness says. I have also heard the Mathematical Intelligencer cited, but I have not pursued this. Presumably wanting recognition for his supposed discovery, he contacted his Representative, one Taylor I Record, with his epoch-making suggestion: if the State would pass an Act recognizing his discovery, he would allow all Indiana textbooks to use it without paying him a royalty. The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on Monday, January 18, 1897, and (of course :-) ) it was referred to the Committee on Canals, often called Swamp Lands. The next day they reported back with the recommendation that it be referred to the Committee on Education. The day after that, the State Superintendent of Public Education was reported in a newspaper article to be supporting the bill. It was introduced for second reading on Friday, February 5, and passed 72-0. days be suspended", and it was, and the bill had its third reading, and passed 67-0. At this point the text of the bill was published "and, of course, became the target for ridicule", "in this and other states". One of the papers said, "This is the strangest bill that has ever passed an Indiana Assembly". surprise when he discovered that he was in the midst of a debate upon a piece of mathematical legislation. If we pass this bill which establishes a new and correct value for Pi, the author offers ... Fortunately, Indiana has, or had, a bicameral legislature. The bill came up for first reading in the Senate on Thursday, February 11. Apparently deciding to have some fun, they referred it to the Committee on Temperance. The Committee reported back on Friday, February 12, approving the bill, which then had its second reading. The Indianapolis Journal reported what happened: "The Senators made bad puns about it, ridiculed it, and laughed over it. He moved the indefinite postponement of the bill, and the motion carried. All of the senators who spoke on the bill admitted that they were ignorant of the merits of the proposition. it was simply regarded as not being a subject for legislation." ANNOTATED TEXT OF THE BILL /* Following is the text of Indiana House Bill #246 of 1897, with my own anno- tations (in comment signs and exdented, like this text). In my annotations, A, r, d, c, and s are respectively the circle's area, radius, diameter, circumfer- ence, and side of the inscribed square. In other words, this says A = (c/4)^2, which is the same as A = (pi*r/2)^2 = (pi^2/4)*r^2 instead of the actual pi*r^2. The author claims that the d factor should be c/4, so the area by the author's formula is to the area by the real formula as c/(4*d) = pi/4. Therefore the area by the author's rule is 1/5 smaller than the actual area. He apparently thinks this means the other area is 1/5 larger than his area, which of course would actually require the ratio to be 5/6. He says that s/(c/4) = 7/8, and d/s = 10/7, there- fore d/c = (10/7)*(7/8)/4, which he reduces only as far as (5/4)/4. Of course this is 5/16, and gives pi = c/d = 16/5 = 32 It also implies that the square root of 2 is 10/7. Of course these are problems well known to have no solution within the usual constraints (compass and straightedge construction only), and the third one is essentially equivalent to the matter of the bill. I guess the AMM had a policy of politely acknowledging crankish submissions, and the au- thor took that as acceptance. Ah well, I suppose that if this bill was enact- ed, then it would become true that the AMM had accepted the solutions.