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A column about Kansas Science Standards
EducationNews.org ^ | November 14, 2005 | State Board Chairman Steve Abrams, DVM

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 earth’s 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 “aren’t really scientists”… “they really don’t 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 don’t care what the State Board does, and we don’t care what parents want, we are going to continue teaching evolution just as we have been doing.”

But I guess we shouldn’t 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.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: Kansas
KEYWORDS: buffoonery; clowntown; crevolist; evolution; goddoodit; idiocy; ignoranceisstrength; kansas; science
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To: orionblamblam
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.

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

21 posted on 11/14/2005 8:39:57 AM PST by Exigence
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To: PatrickHenry

Please remove me from your ping list, thanks.


22 posted on 11/14/2005 8:41:36 AM PST by TheForceOfOne
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To: Exigence
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.

The word "quantity" comes to mind.

23 posted on 11/14/2005 8:42:18 AM PST by Physicist
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To: VadeRetro
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.

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...

24 posted on 11/14/2005 8:42:29 AM PST by Exigence
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To: Exigence

> 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.


25 posted on 11/14/2005 8:43:25 AM PST by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: Exigence

> Just because someone disagrees with the god of naturalism ...

Do you understand how silly that makes you look?


26 posted on 11/14/2005 8:44:13 AM PST by orionblamblam ("You're the poster boy for what ID would turn out if it were taught in our schools." VadeRetro)
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To: bobhoskins

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.


27 posted on 11/14/2005 8:44:32 AM PST by MeanWestTexan (Many at FR would respond to Christ "Darn right, I'll cast the first stone!")
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To: Exigence
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 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.

This micro/macro evolution distinction has zero scientific backing. The dear Chairman let his agenda show.

28 posted on 11/14/2005 8:44:34 AM PST by sumocide
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To: aft_lizard

Here's one.

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.


29 posted on 11/14/2005 8:44:40 AM PST by From many - one.
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To: orionblamblam
Can you figure out the distinction?

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

30 posted on 11/14/2005 8:44:48 AM PST by Exigence
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To: Exigence
it is about the last 5 words of indicator 7… “scientific criticisms of those explanations.”

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.

31 posted on 11/14/2005 8:44:54 AM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: PatrickHenry

It never ceases to amaze me what some people try to pass off as rational thought. Just an idle observation!


32 posted on 11/14/2005 8:46:49 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: sumocide
This micro/macro evolution distinction has zero scientific backing.

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...

33 posted on 11/14/2005 8:47:33 AM PST by Exigence
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To: Exigence; PatrickHenry
Has anybody here actually seen the new science standards? The closest that I have come is a copy of the docs for the meeting where they were adopted. I don't want to comment on these standards until I have actually read them. I don't care what the NYT says that they say, I don't care what this guy says that they say, I want to read them for myself. Why wont they publish them? I assumed that they had. I can't find them. Has anybody actually seen them?
34 posted on 11/14/2005 8:47:54 AM PST by wyattearp (The best weapon to have in a gunfight is a shotgun - preferably from ambush.)
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To: AntiGuv
Just an idle observation!

I agree... it's a very "idle" observation... *g*

35 posted on 11/14/2005 8:48:15 AM PST by Exigence
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To: VadeRetro

Don't forget the Right Reverend William Paley!


36 posted on 11/14/2005 8:48:54 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: aft_lizard

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.


37 posted on 11/14/2005 8:48:59 AM PST by From many - one.
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To: wyattearp
Has anybody here actually seen the new science standards?

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.

38 posted on 11/14/2005 8:49:26 AM PST by Exigence
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To: Exigence
There are real scientists holding real doctrates from real universities who are endorsing these standards.

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.

39 posted on 11/14/2005 8:49:26 AM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: Exigence
There are real scientists holding real doctrates [sic] 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...

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.

40 posted on 11/14/2005 8:49:34 AM PST by Chiapet
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