Skip to comments.A column about Kansas Science Standards
Posted on 11/14/2005 8:06:26 AM PST by Exigence
A column about Kansas Science Standards
Monday, November 14, 2005
By Steve Abrams, chairman, Kansas State Board of Education
Evolution. Creation. Intelligent Design. Is there any truth or facts that can come out of what has been bandied about in the media in the last few days?
Let me first comment a little about what my critics claim. Some of my critics claim it is nothing short of trying to insert the supernatural into the Science classroom. Others claim I am trying to insert creation into the Science classroom via the backdoor. A few claim that I know nothing about science and that my Doctorate must have come from a mail order catalog.
The critics also claim that in the scientific community, there is no controversy about evolution. They then proceed to explain that I ought to understand something about this, because surely I can see that over a period of time, over many generations, a pair of dogs will evolve. There is a high likelihood that the progeny several generations down the line will not look like the original pair of dogs. And then some of the critics will claim that this proves that all living creatures came from some original set of cells.
Obviously, that is one of the reasons that we tried to further define evolution. We want to differentiate between the genetic capacity in each species genome that permits it to change with the environment as being different from changing to some other creature. We want to provide more clarity to this inflamed issue and we ask that the evolutionists reveal what they are doggedly hiding, but they prefer to misinform the media and assassinate the character of qualified scientists who are willing to shed some light. In our Science Curriculum Standards, we called this micro-evolution and macro-evolution changes within kinds and changing from one kind to another. Again, as previously stated, evolutionists want nothing to do with trying to clarify terms and meanings.
Most of the critics that send me email send 4 basic comments: they claim that we are sending Kansas back to the Dark Ages, or that we are making a mockery of science, or that we are morons for putting Intelligent Design into the Science Standards or that they also are Christian and believe in evolution.
There are a few critics that want to present an intellectual argument about why Intelligent Design should not be included in the Science Curriculum Standards. They claim that ID is not good science. From the aspect that Intelligent Design is not a full fledged developed discipline, I would agree. But, if one takes the time to read the Science Curriculum Standards, they would see that Intelligent Design is not included.
So, what are a couple of the main areas that our critics take issue?
It seems that instead of making it a he said, and then she said, and then he said and so on and on, it would make sense to go to the document about which everyone is supposedly commenting about: The Kansas Science Curriculum Standards.
The critics claim that we have redefined science to include a backdoor to Biblical creation or the super-natural.
From Science Curriculum Standards, page ix:
Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation that uses observations, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.
Where does that say the field of science is destroyed and the back door opened to bring Biblical creation into the science classroom?
Another claim that our critics promote through the media is that we are inserting Intelligent Design. Again, if we go to the Science Curriculum Standards, Standard 3 Benchmark 3 Indicators 1-7 (pg 75-77). This is the heart of the evolution area. Only 7 indicators
1) understands biological evolution, descent with modification, is a scientific explanation for the history of the diversification of organisms from common ancestors.
2) understands populations of organisms may adapt to environmental challenges and changes as a result of natural selection, genetic drift, and various mechanisms of genetic change.
3) understands biological evolution is used to explain the earths present day biodiversity: the number, variety and variability of organisms.
4) understands organisms vary widely within and between populations. Variation allows for natural selection to occur.
5) understands that the primary mechanism of evolutionary change (acting on variation) is natural selection.
6) understands biological evolution is used as a broad, unifying theoretical framework for biology.
7) explains proposed scientific explanations of the origin of life as well as scientific criticisms of those explanations.
As anyone can see, Intelligent Design is not included. But many of our critics already know this. This is not about Biblical creation or Intelligent Design it is about the last 5 words of indicator 7 scientific criticisms of those explanations.
Evolutionists do not want students to know about or in any way to think about scientific criticisms of evolution. Evolutionists are the ones minimizing open scientific inquiry from their explanation of the origin of life. They do not want students to know that peer reviewed journals, articles and books have scientific criticisms of evolution.
So instead of participating in the Science hearings before the State Board Sub-Committee and presenting testimony about evolution, they stand out in the hall and talk to the media about how the PhD scientists that are presenting testimony about the criticisms arent really scientists they really dont know anything they obviously are in the minority and any real scientist knows there is not a controversy about evolution.
Instead of discussing the issues of evolution, noisy critics go into attack mode and do a character assassination of anyone that happens to believe that evolution should actually be subject critical analysis.
In spite of the fact that the State Board approved Science Curriculum Standards that endorses critical analysis of evolution (supported by unrefuted testimony from many credentialed scientists at the Science Hearings) and does NOT include Intelligent Design, and add to that, the fact that scientific polls indicate that a large percentage of parents do not want evolution taught as dogma in the science classroom what is the response from some of the Superintendents around Kansas? They seem to indicate that, We dont care what the State Board does, and we dont care what parents want, we are going to continue teaching evolution just as we have been doing.
But I guess we shouldnt be surprised, because Superintendents and local boards of education in some districts continue to promulgate pornography as literature, even though many parents have petitioned the local boards to remove the porn. Obviously that is a different issue than the Science Standards, but it still points out the lack of commitment on the part of administration in some districts to allow parents to control the education for their own children.
I have repeatedly stated this is not about Biblical creation or Intelligent Design
this is about what constitutes good science standards for the students of the state of Kansas. I would encourage those who believe we are promoting a back door to creation or Intelligent Design to actually do your homework
READ and investigate the Science Curriculum Standards (www.ksde.org) and base your comments on them and not on the misinformation critics have been plastering the print and clogging the airways with
unless of course, your only defense really is baseless character assassination.
Way to go, Steve Abrams and KS Board of Education!
"unless of course, your only defense really is baseless character assassination."
Now we all know evos would never stoop to something like this, don't we?
Why they never would! Every one of them are fine upstanding PhD holding sincere christians who would never insult anybody who disagrees with there point of view! /sarcasm off
Hmmm I wonder where the evos are on this one, they attack everything about the KBOE standards, they cant show up and refute him?
> I wonder where the evos are on this one
What, you can't wait six posts? Sheesh.
Oh, they are alive and working hard and places like the Kansas City Star, (smaller rags such as the Johnson County Sun Newspapers) each and every local television station manager, the KS Governor's Office, the KS House of Represenataives and Senate, the Kansas National Education Association and many umbrella sham organizations run under them, the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, etc.
Wait a minute, that's not fair. You actually expect people to read something before they criticize it? </sarc>
"Evolutionists do not want students to know about or in any way to think about scientific criticisms of evolution."
This is the most damning thing Abrams could ahve possibly said. However, it damns *himself,* as it is an astonishingly blatant LIE.
"Evolutionists" are *constantly* publicizing scientific criticisms of various aspects of evolution. And if some good science came along that criticised evolution itself, that would get openly debated as well.
You are exactly correct. That is how science is suppose to be and is practiced unlike what a few on this board seem to think.
I'm curious, what are the uppoer/lower bounds of permitted gentic change in a species? What happens when it reaches the maximum allowed changes in that species? Does some flag get set off that says, "Woah there! You can't have any less body hair than that!" Or, "You can't have teeth any sharper than that ... no meat-eating scavenging for you!" At what point do non-harmful mutations somehow get edited out as being too far beyond a (man-made) "species" delimiter?
I mean this to be a legitimate question ... I'm curious as to the answers ...
Translation: We wanted to insert into science class a bogus distinction made only in creationist talking points and not by real scientists in the peer-reviewed literature.
Really? Then why did you post that no such criticisms existed here: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1511195/posts?q=1&&page=251?
There are no scientific criticisms of evolution at this point, just ID and similar religious beliefs.
Methinks you may be tripping in your own rhetoric...
Not that we're creationists or anything...
"In the last turn of events, 3 members of the Board rewrote the standards to produce a "compromise" document. While not including the more objectionable parts of the alternate proposal, it still eliminated the theory of evolution as a model for understanding the history and diversity of life. Furthermore it does not mention cosmology (Big Bang) or the Age of the Earth. It also includes errors of fact and misrepresentations of scientific methodology and content. This version passed the Board on August 12th by a 6 to 4 vote. The original standards document written and unanimously endorsed by the appointed committee was not even brought to a vote. This decision was made in opposition to the recommendations of virtually every scientific and educational body in the state. The Governor of Kansas and all of the presidents of the regents institutions (state universities) appealed to the Board to reject the alternate document. The academic and educational communities are very irritated by the current situation.
"The new science standards do not require or mandate teachers to teach anything. They certainly do not mandate the inclusion of creationism. What they do is establish the content of statewide assessment tests, and thus serve as recommendations for which topics and principles should be emphasized at each grade level from K-12. Teachers and local school boards are free to establish their own curricula. However the exclusion of evolutionary theory as an explanatory framework for the history of life and as a unifying concept in the biological sciences, the exclusion of theories of the origin of the universe (Big Bang model of cosmology), and the removal of references to a very ancient Earth history from the standards have significant implications. These omissions are critical, and remove the core unifying concepts from the sciences of biology, geology, and astronomy. Since they will not be subject to state assessment tests, these concepts are much less likely to be taught in districts where there is vocal opposition. By throwing the issue to "local control" the state board leaves teachers much more vulnerable to complaints by parents or administrators eager to avoid controversy. Furthermore, the decision is already having an impact on textbook publishers. Since the decision, one publisher has removed an introductory chapter on the geologic history of Kansas from a history textbook for fear that it would limit sales."
Keith B. Miller
Department of Geology
Kansas State University
Except in Kansas... or at least, except in Kansas until the Board wisely amended our standards to allow such criticism. The old standards forbade it... which one should know before launching criticism at the new standards.
> Methinks you may be tripping in your own rhetoric...
Actually, it appears more likely that you are suffering from some reading comprehension troubles. Read the two sentences of mine again: "Evolutionists" are *constantly* publicizing scientific criticisms of various aspects of evolution. And if some good science came along that criticised evolution itself, that would get openly debated as well."
Can you figure out the distinction?
Come back to us when you've figured it out.
Well, of course you would be against local control. What would the world come to if Freepers believed they should have local control of their government bodies and taxes? Perish the thought. /sarc
Please remove me from your ping list, thanks.
The word "quantity" comes to mind.
There are real scientists holding real doctrates from real universities who are endorsing these standards. Just because someone disagrees with the god of naturalism does not make them "unreal" scientists to the intellectually honest parties in a debate. That is an ad hominem attack, but, unfortunately, par for the course...
> Well, of course you would be against local control.
In some things, yes. The Constitution lays out some things as absolutes regardless of locality. The state school board sets standards. Abdicating responsibilities here has led to a hodge-podge of unConstitutional local gun laws as well as allowing schools to become urban cesspits of crime and stupidity in some places and rural cesspits of superstition and stupidity in others.
> Just because someone disagrees with the god of naturalism ...
Do you understand how silly that makes you look?
Not sure what you mean, but if the population of a single species gets seperated (say by geology -- earthquake or flood or something), and are seperated long enough with no cross-breeding, the seperated species often eventually change into two species.
This can be chance --- like, say if the population was 50% black and 50% white --- then the "event" (say flood with a new river) occurs, and you end up with a population that is 60% white on one side and 60% black on the other --- you'd generally get two distinct populations of black and white whatevers.
(They recently found a population of frogs where this happened that recently go re-mixed --- they generally don't cross breed, although physically very similar, apparently b/c cross-bred offspring are not very viable -- croaks being the only ready distinction)
Or, to use the more typical form of evolition, if one type of predator is one one side and not on the other, that population would start to pre-dispose whatever trait helped avoid that preditor (assuming any live, that is).
As far as "how far can they go" and not be the same species? (which I think is the question) --- the answer is, it depends.
The simplified definition of a species is usually: can they have viable children?
And the answer to that is: just depends on how far the DNA changes, on a case-by-case basis.
This micro/macro evolution distinction has zero scientific backing. The dear Chairman let his agenda show.
Let's look at that "harmless" science standard.
"Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation that uses observations, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena."
...."more adequate... is not the same as scientific and leaves the door open to supernatural explanations.
That's what's wrong.
Got it. You said there were no criticisms and now you're backpeddaling and trying to blame me for your previous misstep. I see the distinction. It's called: CYA on your part. lol
If you have to go outside the scientific literature to get the "scientific criticisms," then this is indeed the mislabeling its critics attack it as being. Hint: if your scientific criticisms are compiled by Duane Gish, Jonathan Sarfati, Philip Johnson, Jonathan Wells, Stephen Meyer, or a quote salad compiled by any of the preceding, they don't belong in biology class.
I have never seen an attempted collection of "scientific criticisms of those explanations" which would be anything more than what we have in creation/ID presentations on FR, an exercize in playing "find the gimmick." We shouldn't ask the ninth-graders to play that and win with their education on the line.
It never ceases to amaze me what some people try to pass off as rational thought. Just an idle observation!
Really? My staunch "evolution explains everything" prof for my undergrad evolutionary biology course said there was a distinction. Even he was intellectually honest enough to admit that -- and to cover the same criticisms of evolution in our course that Kansas science teachers were previously forbidden to utter. Very curious...
I agree... it's a very "idle" observation... *g*
Don't forget the Right Reverend William Paley!
Here I am again.
Note the following from the article:
"The critics also claim that in the scientific community, there is no controversy about evolution. They then proceed to explain that I ought to understand something about this, because surely I can see that over a period of time, over many generations, a pair of dogs will "evolve". There is a high likelihood that the progeny several generations down the line will not look like the original pair of dogs. And then some of the critics will claim that this proves that all living creatures came from some original set of cells."
A thoroughly dishonest representation of most scientists' views on evolution and no attribution given.
Maybe if you read the article I posted. The one above with the link to the standards that Abrams is urging everyone to read before they begin discussing the same.
Gish has a degree in engineering. Behe is a real biochemist. Wow! That's one. Wells got some sort of biology degree to help Papa Sun Myung Moon destroy Darwinism from within. That's two. Johnson is a lawyer.
Yeah. Just call them the experts and ignore the world.
Perhaps you should look up the definition of "ad hominem." The sentence that you were responding to is not an ad hominem attack, but actually addresses a substantive issue. Hint: ad hominem is a personal attack to distract from the substance of the topic being argued.
And before you say it, yes, I realize that the sentence implied a distinction between "real scientists" and the advocates of the KSB standards. However, this is, in fact, one of the substantive issues in this context.
Then I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that it was your post #30 that inspired it.
There is nothing being hidden. This is one of the facets of scientific inquiry; it's all published (unless The Government suppress things about weapons or something.) Mr Abrams's claim is vacuous. If he wants to make claims of things hidden, he can publish his research on the topics.
Yet another example of a creationist trying to insult evolution by calling it a religion. Tells you a lot about them....
Here's another gem:
Obviously, that is one of the reasons that we tried to further define evolution. We want to differentiate between the genetic capacity in each species genome that permits it to change with the environment as being different from changing to some other creature. "
In other words we would like to redefine evolution out of existence and hide behind a flurry of words whilewe do so.
I think that the Kansas state board has drafts posted on their website. Try google.
Probably at a DU fundraiser.
You are hardly a neutral source
I did read what you posted. Next time you post an excerpt, identify it as such. I always go to the source if the post is an excerpt.
Too simplified to be operational; it doesn't apply to two men but it does to two earthworms.
I named no one, so go ahead and "cherry pick" those who you think fit your argument. That's not an intellectually honest method, but, hey, all loose reasoning is fair when we're talking about "science," eh?
Let's not forget the Board chair holds a doctrate in the sciences and I have friends and acquaintances on the faculties of or who are alums with doctrates in the sciences from major universities who have no problem with the new standards... they just can't get interviewed by the "unbiased" press.
It's also interesting how foreign science journals are more honest about printing research that might chip away at evolution. Only the politically motivated US journals man the portal of scientific publications so voraciously and politically. Of course, that has no effect on "science," right? Long live the god of naturalism, eh?
(And, of course, we know that university profs as a body are diverse in their views. It's not like it's hard to get tenure if you hold different viewpoints than the liberal agenda dictates, right?)