August 11, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

What’s On the Agenda?  Kansas Votes in New Science Standards

Science Now (from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, publisher of Science magazine) reported that Kansas voted 6-4 to adopt the new science standards yesterday that “allow for the teaching of alternatives to evolutionary theory.”  It alleged that “scientists” (unspecified by name or number) say that the new draft standards are “a thinly disguised attempt to slip intelligent design (ID) into the science curriculum.”
    The brief report admits that the standards do not mention intelligent design (ID); it only calls for students “to learn about the best evidence for modern evolutionary theory, but also to learn about areas where scientists are raising scientific criticisms of the theory.”  To anti-ID professor Steve Case, though, the intent is implicit: the draft is “is littered with language that is routinely used by intelligent design advocates.”
    Case was also concerned that the change in definition of science from seeking “natural explanations” to using “observations, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena” opens the door to inserting supernatural explanations into science (see 05/18/2005 entry).
    The report recalls that the six days of hearings in May were boycotted by scientific organizations “on the grounds that the board was simply trying to confer scientific legitimacy to ID” (see 04/21/2005 story).  Last week, Science magazine in its Random Samples section1 mentioned that anti-ID historian Niall Shanks called this a “huge mistake,”  a criticism that riled Steve Case.  Shanks just joined the philosophy department at Wichita State, “ground zero for the creationism movement,” although he claims the controversy is not what he is interested in; he “may extend his work from the study of biological self-organization and complexity into the philosophy of medicine.”
    Access Research Network posted an analysis of the new Kansas science standards.  After an external review, they will go into effect this fall.


1Random Samples, Science, Volume 309, Number 5736, Issue of 05 August 2005.

The picture of Niall Shanks posted in Science makes him look like a pouting loser, but maybe that is his ordinary expression.  The Darwin Storytelling Festival is coming to an end, and now scientists will have to work for a living: they will have to do science the old-fashioned way, using “observations, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”  For loafers reclining on couches entertaining “tantalizing speculations” (see 12/22/2003 commentary), they will have to learn a new word: rigor.  It will be like making bums work for their welfare checks.
    The Darwinists give nuance to the word paranoia.  Read the standards: is there anything said about supernaturalism?  Is there any mention of intelligent design, a Designer, Genesis, God, or creationism?  On the contrary, the standards explicitly call for students to learn about the best evidence for modern evolutionary theory.  There is no such explicit call for creationism or ID; the Darwin Party thus already has a big advantage.  The thing that is frightening them into paranoia is the accountability.  Now, for the first time, students will get to hear about “areas where scientists [not theologians] are raising scientific [not religious] criticisms of the theory.”  The Darwin Playstation Game now comes with a warning label.  Student customers in the Darwin Store can only buy the Darwin product, but the label will also mention the fact that some in the manufacturing division have grave concerns about it.  Students might also learn (gasp) about the existence of other stores with products that work better.  Darwin Marketing doesn’t want accountability, and it doesn’t want competition.  Sorry, science is about freedom of inquiry.
    Teachers newly empowered by the standards will find plenty of “scientists… raising scientific criticisms” of evolution.  Welcome to the back issues of Creation-Evolution Headlines, with over 600 entries on evolutionary theory, most right out of leading science journals over the last five years.  So– teachers, click away and have at it.  You can start here or here and work back for much, much more, and use our handy-dandy Evolution Curriculum as an outline.

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