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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: Exigence

Then I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that it was your post #30 that inspired it.


41 posted on 11/14/2005 8:49:49 AM PST by AntiGuv ()
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To: Exigence
... we ask that the evolutionists reveal what they are doggedly hiding, ...

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.

42 posted on 11/14/2005 8:50:34 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: Exigence
Just because someone disagrees with the god of naturalism...

Yet another example of a creationist trying to insult evolution by calling it a religion. Tells you a lot about them....

43 posted on 11/14/2005 8:50:46 AM PST by highball ("I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." -- Thomas Jefferson)
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To: aft_lizard

I'l ba-aack.

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.


44 posted on 11/14/2005 8:51:57 AM PST by From many - one.
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To: wyattearp

I think that the Kansas state board has drafts posted on their website. Try google.


45 posted on 11/14/2005 8:52:38 AM PST by Chiapet
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To: Coyoteman

Probably at a DU fundraiser.


46 posted on 11/14/2005 8:53:42 AM PST by Mamzelle (.)
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To: Exigence

You are hardly a neutral source


47 posted on 11/14/2005 8:54:59 AM PST by From many - one.
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To: Exigence
Maybe if you read the article I posted.

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.

48 posted on 11/14/2005 8:55:22 AM PST by wyattearp (The best weapon to have in a gunfight is a shotgun - preferably from ambush.)
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To: MeanWestTexan
The simplified definition of a species is usually: can they have viable children?

Too simplified to be operational; it doesn't apply to two men but it does to two earthworms.

49 posted on 11/14/2005 8:56:53 AM PST by Doctor Stochastic (Vegetabilisch = chaotisch ist der Charakter der Modernen. - Friedrich Schlegel)
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To: VadeRetro
Yeah. Just call them the experts and ignore the world.

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?)

50 posted on 11/14/2005 8:57:57 AM PST by Exigence
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To: VadeRetro
Gish has a degree in engineering.

And amazingly, he doesn't seem to understand the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (or he deliberately distorts it - I'm not sure which).

51 posted on 11/14/2005 8:58:07 AM PST by Quark2005 (Science aims to elucidate. Pseudoscience aims to obfuscate.)
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To: MeanWestTexan
I was more asking about why you'd have any sort of distinct categories of "microevolution" versus "macroevolution" ... how the process of evolution itself could be bounded into such distinctions ...

What you stated is basically how I unserstand evolution, I was just amazed by the article's statement: 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.

And was curious how they could define a "genetic capacity" when one of the things evolution could do is change the "genetic capacity", and what would regulate such "permission to change" if such permission is contained in DNA and thusly could itself be changed ...

52 posted on 11/14/2005 8:58:24 AM PST by bobhoskins (?)
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To: VadeRetro
Behe is a real biochemist.

Just not a particularly good one, it seems.

53 posted on 11/14/2005 8:59:04 AM PST by RogueIsland
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To: From many - one.
You are hardly a neutral source.

Are you saying that the link provided in the article to the State of Kansas website has to be provided by a neutral source? You're kidding, right? Sheesh...

54 posted on 11/14/2005 8:59:26 AM PST by Exigence
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To: wyattearp
The science standards, approved 08 November, are linked at this website under "Hot Topics":
Kansas State Department of Education.
55 posted on 11/14/2005 9:00:12 AM PST by PatrickHenry (Expect no response if you're a troll, lunatic, retard, or incurable ignoramus.)
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To: From many - one.

This is truly classic!


56 posted on 11/14/2005 9:00:15 AM PST by blowfish
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To: wyattearp
Next time you post an excerpt, identify it as such.

What excerpt? I posted the entire text. Check the link!

57 posted on 11/14/2005 9:00:34 AM PST by Exigence
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To: Exigence
It's also interesting how foreign science journals are more honest about printing research that might chip away at evolution.

Any specific citations? This would be more effective than an apocryphal reference. I'm all for peer-reviewed literature being used in the context of proper science education. I'm aware of none that exists supporting ID or creationism.

58 posted on 11/14/2005 9:00:39 AM PST by Quark2005 (Science aims to elucidate. Pseudoscience aims to obfuscate.)
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To: Quark2005
I may have confused him with Dr. Walt Brown, who at least got his engineering degree from MIT. I should go Google before I post but sometimes don't realize what's getting jumbled in the old head.

I'll be back in a sec.

59 posted on 11/14/2005 9:01:02 AM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: Exigence

BTTT.


60 posted on 11/14/2005 9:01:39 AM PST by The Ghost of FReepers Past (The nastiness of evolutionists proves one theological point: human depravity..)
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