January 22, 2004 | David F. Coppedge

Minnesota Debates Darwin Teaching

Minnesota is next in line in the Darwin wars.  This science framework writing committee has taken the unusual step of submitting two drafts to the legislature, a majority report with the usual Darwin-only rule, and a minority with two improvements, according to Seth Cooper of the Discovery Institute:

The first benchmark improvement proposed by the minority report requires students to be able to distinguish between changes existing within species (microevolution) and the emergence of new species and changes above the species level (macroevolution).  The second would require students to be able to describe �how scientists continue to critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.�

As an advocate for “teaching the controversy” about evolution, Cooper believes Minnesota is in a unique position to “improve teaching of evolution and avoid extremes” – i.e., straight Darwinism without the problems vs. religious views of creation.  Teaching the controversy, he believes, is the option most likely to succeed.  The majority (Darwin-only) report ignored the expressed feelings of a majority of citizens who testified at public hearings last year, but the minority report at least understands that there is some controversy.  Cooper explains,

�The debate over how best to teach evolution has devolved into an either-or argument that threatens science education in our schools,� said Cooper.  �But there is another approach laid out in the minority report –teach the scientific controversy.  Instead of pretending there is no debate over Darwin�s theory we should use it to further educate students about the scientific controversy surrounding evolutionary theory.�

Cooper points out that the minority report is also in line with the official position of Congress as stated in the conference report of the “No Child Left Behind” Act.  In fact,

“Last fall, Commissioner [Cheri] Yecke [Education Commissioner] received a letter from Congress stressing that this guidance in the No Child Left Behind Act Conference Report was the official position of Congress on science education.  The letter was signed by Minnesota Congressman John Kline and Congressman John Boehner, chairman of the U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee.

The position is summarized: “Congress urged states to present �the full range of scientific views� on controversial topics �such as biological evolution.�

What’s so wrong with that?  Who could disagree with that?  The Darwin Party, that’s who.  They know that their position can only survive in a vacuum, in which data supporting their position is carefully selected and deceptively presented, without rebuttal.  Since the Darwinian revolution, they have the power, and power corrupts.
    If you are a student, you have power, too.  No matter how hard the NCSE fights, no matter how much the Darwin Party schemes, and no matter how the vote goes, you can always raise your hand.

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