Jack Krebs posted Entry 1998 on February 10, 2006 10:22 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1993

Do the Kansas Science standards say “teach ID?”

The Discovery Institute and the Kansas state BOE say “no”.

I say “yes”.

Casey Luskin “challenges the Darwinists” - which I presume includes me, to back up our claim that the Kansas standards do say “teach ID”.

Well, here you go, Casey. Read on.

What the DI and the BOE say

Over at the DI’s Evolution News & Views (which I think of as the DI Spin Center), Casey Luskin is talking about what he calls the False Fear Epidemic over Critical Analysis of Evolution.

Breaking News: False Fear Syndrome … The primary symptom is the spreading of false fears about teaching intelligent design in states that are merely encouraging the critical analysis of evolution. The Syndrome is typically accompanied by paranoia among educators, politicians, and the newsmedia. This epidemic broke out in full force in Kansas last November.

Luskin then links to an earlier post where he makes the point that the Kansas standards say nothing about teaching ID – that Kansas is merely “daring to teach lines of scientific evidence which challenge Neo-Darwinism.”

Luskin quotes the Kansas standards, which say,

We also emphasize that the Science Curriculum Standards do not include Intelligent Design, the scientific disagreement with the claim of many evolutionary biologists that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion. While the testimony presented at the science hearings included many advocates of Intelligent Design, these standards neither mandate nor prohibit teaching about this scientific disagreement. (Kansas Science Education Standards DRAFT 2(d) August 9, 2005)

and Luskin goes on to comment,

How could the board have been more clear? These standards do not “mandate” nor even “include” teaching about intelligent design! …

If Darwinists are going to continually claim that the new standards “open the door” for teaching intelligent design (or creationism, or religion, etc.) then I challenge them to produce language in the standards which sanctions the teaching of such. From what I can read, the standards specifically disclaim endorsement or prohibition of teaching ID. The standards explicitly go out of their way to be neutral on the subject. (my emphasis)

Well. let me take Casey up on his challenge: the standards do say to teach ID, and I’ll show why.

Why the Kansas standards do say to teach ID.

The Board Rationale statement on page ii of the Board standards, from which Casey’s quote is taken, also says (before the part Casey quoted):

Regarding the scientific theory of biological evolution, the curriculum standards call 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. These curriculum standards reflect the Board’s objective of: 1) to help students understand the full range of scientific views that exist on this topic, 2) to enhance critical thinking and the understanding of the scientific method by encouraging students to study different and opposing scientific evidence, and 3) to ensure that science education in our state is “secular, neutral, and non-ideological.” (my emphasis)

Now let’s analyze these two statements together:

First, from the paragraph quoted by Casey, we learn that Intelligent Design is “the scientific disagreement with the claim of many evolutionary biologists that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.” (In a supporting document, the ID Minority called this a “core claim.”)

Notice two things. First, ID is a scientific disagreement, according to the Board. Secondly, ID is defined negatively as a disagreement with evolutionary theory as they purport to understand it.

Then notice that the paragraph I quoted says that students are to “learn about areas where scientists are raising scientific criticisms of the theory”, are to “understand the full range of scientific views that exist on this topic”, and “to study different and opposing scientific evidence.”

Now, it is clear that one of those “scientific views” in which scientists are “raising criticisms” is Intelligent Design, as they have already stated that ID is in fact a scientific disagreement with the topic of evolution. In fact, ID is the only such “view” and “criticism” mentioned in the standards. In fact, the Board specifically says that teaching ID is not prohibited, making it clear that there is no reason to not teach ID - that certainly leaves the door open.

So the obvious conclusion is that, indeed, students should be taught ID. All you have to do is read the two paragraphs and see that ID should be taught because students should hear about views critical of evolution and ID is a view critical of evolution. Not only do they open the door to teaching ID, they say explicitly that teachers should walk through that door. Students should learn about scientific criticisms of evolution, and ID is such a criticism – ID merely being the argument that evolution is wrong about it’s core claim. Therefore, students should learn ID.

How they can say that the standards don’t say “teach ID” is beyond me – it’s right there in black and white!

===================================
Let me be more explicit about the take-home message here: teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution, teaching evolution “objectively”, teaching the students to “critically analyze” evolution, or any other variant of “teach the controversy” is teaching ID.

The Kansas standards are remarkably candid about this: ID is merely the disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory, and of science in general, that we can seek, and are succeeding at finding, natural explanations for the complexities of life.

The ID argument is what Judge Jones in the Dover decision called a “contrived dualism.” There is no scientific theory of ID or creationism: no proposed mechanism, no testable hypotheses, no research.

However, the ID argument is that if evolution is false, ID must be true. Teaching the so-called weaknesses of evolutionary theory is teaching Intelligent Design, because that is all there is to ID: The only proposed evidence for ID is evidence against evolution.

Conclusion
So I conclude that the Kansas BOE’s Rationale statement in the science standards explicitly supports the teaching of Intelligent Design. I have supported this claim with a logical analysis of the Board’s own words.

Remember that Casey Luskin wrote, “If Darwinists are going to continually claim that the new standards “open the door” for teaching intelligent design (or creationism, or religion, etc.) then I challenge them to produce language in the standards which sanctions the teaching of such”

Well, I think I have met that challenge. I invite Casey to respond

Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org. See our full disclaimer.

Comment #78851

Posted by PvM on February 10, 2006 10:45 PM (e)

How ironically, Casey Luskin twice in a row about ID and teaching critically about evolution. Ken Miller has already explained why limiting critical analysis to evolution makes for poor educational policy, and presents the students with an impression that evolution is somehow different from other sciences.

Indeed, ID’s position is changing from ‘teach ID’ to “teach criticisms of evolutionary theory” at the expense good science education.

Comment #78854

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 10, 2006 10:59 PM (e)

Another “standard response” from me:

Despite all their bluster and arm-waving, the IDers had already recognized, even before Dover, that ID would never prevail as an “alternative scientific theory”, and that a new strategy must be pursued if the goals of the Wedge Document were to have any chance of success. Out of this realization, the strategy of “teach the controversy” was born.

There is, of course, no serious scientific “controversy” over evolution. No serious biologist rejects it, and while there are healthy and interesting debates within science over how evolution happens, there is no debate at all over whether it happens. The only “controversy” over evolution is the social/political/religious one created by the anti-evolutionists themselves. However, after the annihilation of ID “theory” in Dover, “teach the controversy” became the only game in town. From now on, the guiding goal of the ID movement was no longer “we have an alternative scientific theory of origins that we want you to teach”; instead, it became “our alternative scientific theory isn’t, uh, ready yet, so we want you to teach about the controversy about evolution instead”. Instead of attempting to push “intelligent design theory” into schools, the Discovery Institute and its supporters have been forced to retreat to the much weaker notion of teaching the alleged “scientific problems” with evolution instead. The new strategy drops any mention of “intelligent design”, and instead attempts to argue that somehow, somewhere, something must be wrong with evolution. And this is the argument they are now presenting in both Ohio and Kansas. The Dover decision, DI is now arguing, doesn’t apply to the “teach the controversy” approach, since, they say, “teach the controversy” doesn’t mention ID and doesn’t attempt to teach it.

To beat this strategy in court, anti-IDers therefore need to demonstrate that (1) “teach the controversy” is nothing but the same old creation “science” and intelligent design “theory” under a different name, and (2) “teach the controversy” has the same religious motivation and effect that creation “science” and ID did.

Fortunately for us, this is not difficult to demonstrate, using the IDer’s own statements. After all, the switch from “teach our alternative theory” to “teach the controversy about evolution” was explicitly made, publicly, by the very director of the Center for Science and Culture, DI fellow Stephen Meyer, during a presentation sponsored by the Ohio Board:

“Recently, while speaking to the Ohio State Board of Education, I suggested this approach as a way forward for Ohio in its increasingly contentious dispute about how to teach theories of biological origin, and about whether or not to introduce the theory of intelligent design alongside Darwinism in the Ohio biology curriculum.

I also proposed a compromise involving three main provisions:

(1) First, I suggested–speaking as an advocate of the theory of intelligent design–that Ohio not require students to know the scientific evidence and arguments for the theory of intelligent design, at least not yet.

(2) Instead, I proposed that Ohio teachers teach the scientific controversy about Darwinian evolution. Teachers should teach students about the main scientific arguments for and against Darwinian theory. And Ohio should test students for their understanding of those arguments, not for their assent to a point of view.

(3) Finally, I argued that the state board should permit, but not require, teachers to tell students about the arguments of scientists, like Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe, who advocate the competing theory of intelligent design.”

As part of the new strategy, members of the Ohio Board of Education proposed a “model lesson plan” that was largely written by Discovery Institute members and supporters, entitled “Critical Analysis of Evolution”. The model lesson pointed out the same supposed “scientific problems with evolution” that the Discovery Institute had been preaching for years. In March 2004, the Board passed a modified version of the lesson plan which, while erasing all of the references to intelligent design “theory”, nevertheless accepted most of the Discovery Institute’s “teach the controversy” strategy and included many of the supposed “scientific criticisms of evolution” that have been trotted out for years by the Discovery Institute and other creationists.

Meanwhile, the State Education Board in Kansas, not unexpectedly, rejected the majority report, written by 17 scientists, listing evolution as the core concept of modern biology, and adopted the Discovery Institute’s new “teach the controversy” line. Board Chairman Steven Abrams stated; “The Minority Report does not mandate the teaching of Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design is not a code word for creationism. Teaching the arguments against evolution is not a code word for creationism. It is simply good science education. At this point, however, we do not think it’s appropriate to mandate the teaching of Intelligent Design. It’s a fairly new science, it’s a modern science of Intelligent Design, it’s a maturing science and perhaps in time it would be there, but at this point we think mandating it is inappropriate.” (Kansas Hearings transcript)

In order for DI’s “teach the controversy” policy to survive court challenges in Ohio and Kansas, it must survive two different questions. First, is “teach the controversy” different in any substantial way from either intelligent design “theory” or creation “science”, both of which have already been ruled illegal by the courts? And second, is “teach the controversy” religiously motivated, does it imply state endorsement of religion, or does it have the effect of advancing religion? If the answer to the first question is “no”, or if the answer to the second question is “yes”, then “teach the controversy” fails.

So, is “teach the controversy” different in any substantial way from either ID or creation “science”? No. In fact, they are all identical. In the case of Ohio, this was made obvious by the fact that all of the “scientific evidence against evolution” listed by the proposed “teach the controversy” curriculum was lifted intact, word for word, from standard ID books and websites. Indeed, the standards even attempted to list these ID resources themselves as part of the lesson plan. All of the “controversies about evolution” listed by the proposed curriculum are standard ID/creationist boilerplate, and most of them have already been presented as part of the “scientific theory of intelligent design” and/or creation “science”. None of these “scientific arguments against evolution” has appeared in any peer-reviewed science journal with any supporting data or evidence. All of them are found in ID/creation ‘science’ texts, and only in ID/creationist texts. The arguments are not substantially changed, in form or in substance, from the very same arguments previously made in support of the “alternative scientific theories” of ID and/or creationism.

In the case of Kansas, the absolute unity between ID/creationism and “the scientific arguments against evolution” were spelled out, in great detail, during the Kangaroo Court “hearings” that were held by the Board before adopting the “teach the controversy” policy. During these hearings, 23 witnesses testified in favor of “teach the controversy”. Every “scientific argument against evolution” presented by these 23 witnesses had already been made previously by creation “scientists” and/or intelligent design “theorists”. In addition, most of the witnesses testified to their belief that science should not be “limited” to “naturalistic” or “materialistic” explanations (a standard ID complaint), and most of the witnesses also testified that humans and apes have a separate ancestry, that the earth is relatively young, that evolution can occur only within narrowly fixed limits, and that life made a sudden appearance through the actions of a designer. All of these are tenets of creation “science” as defined in the Arkansas Act 590 bill, thus establishing that the arguments made by creation “science”, design “theory”, and “teach the controversy” are in fact identical, and have not changed at all in the intervening 25 years.

Indeed, the state standards adopted in Kansas specifically include standard ID/creationist arguments, including the “no transitional fossils” argument:

“Patterns of diversification and extinction of organisms are documented in the fossil record. Evidence also indicates that simple, bacteria-like life may have existed billions of years ago. However, in many cases, the fossil record is not consistent with gradual, unbroken sequences postulated by biological evolution.” (2005 Kansas state curriculum standards)

“The Cambrian explosion” argument:

f. The view that living things in all the major kingdoms are modified descendants of a common ancestor (described in the pattern of a branching tree) has been challenged in recent years by:

i. Discrepancies in the molecular evidence (e.g., differences in relatedness inferred from sequence studies of different proteins) previously thought to support that view.

ii. A fossil record that shows sudden bursts of increased complexity (the Cambrian Explosion), long periods of stasis and the absence of abundant transitional forms rather than steady gradual increases in complexity.” (2005 Kansas state curriculum standards)

The “microevolution/macroevolution” and “created kinds” argument:

d. Whether microevolution (change within a species) can be extrapolated to explain macroevolutionary changes (such as new complex organs or body plans and new biochemical systems which appear irreducibly complex) is controversial. These kinds of macroevolutionary explanations generally are not based on direct observations and often reflect historical narratives based on inferences from indirect or circumstantial evidence. (2005 Kansas curriculum standards)

And the “argument from design”:

c. Natural selection, genetic drift, genomes and the mechanisms of genetic change provide a context in which to ask research questions and then help explain observed changes in populations. However, reverse engineering and end-directed thinking are used to understand the function of bio-systems and information. (2005 Kansas curriculum standards)

As the lawyer for the Dover plaintiffs, Eric Rothschild, put it in a talk in Kansas shortly after the Pennsylvania trial: “These same negative arguments against evolution that have arisen out of the creationist movements — and which are outdated and discredited and just plain false — those are the same arguments that were supporting intelligent design in the Dover case. They’re absolutely present in Kansas.” (Lawrence Journal-World, January 29, 2006)

The Ohio model lesson plan included in the state standards is also riddled with standard ID/creation “science” arguments, including the “no fossil transitionals” argument:

“Transitional fossils are rare in the fossil record. A growing number of scientists now question that Archaeopteryx and other transitional fossils really are transitional forms. (Ohio state standards model lesson plan)

The “Cambrian explosion” argument:

“The “Cambrian explosion” of animal phyla is the best known, but not the only example, of the sudden appearance of new biological forms in the fossil record.” (Ohio state standards model lesson plan)

And the “microevolution/macroevolution” and “limited variation within kinds” argument:

The increase in the number of antibiotic resistant bacterial strains demonstrates the power of natural selection to produce small but limited changes in populations and species. It does not demonstrate the ability of natural selection to produce new forms of life. Although new strains of Staphylococcus aureus have evolved, the speciation of bacteria (prokaryotes) has not been observed, and neither has the evolution of bacteria into more complex eukaryotes. Thus, the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance demonstrates microevolution. (Ohio state standards model lesson plan)

In both cases, “teach the controversy” is based upon the same false “two models” approach already used by both creation “scientists” and IDers, and already rejected by courts in the Maclean, Aguillard and Kitzmiller cases. Under the “two models” view, any evidence against evolution must necessarily be viewed as evidence for creation/design. The intention of the “teach the controversy” approach is thus made apparent – any “evidence against evolution” is viewed by both creation “scientists” and intelligent design “theorists” as support for their “alternative model”, even if that “alternative model” is un-named and unspecified. The intent and aims of both “teach the controversy” and ID/creationism are therefore one and the same — to attempt to discredit evolution in favor of a religious model of origins.

Not only are the aims, intent and arguments presented in the Ohio “teach the controversy” approach identical in every way with ID and/or creation “science”, but it is the very same people presenting them as ID and/or creation science. In the case of Ohio, the “teach the controversy” policy was itself proposed by the Discovery Institute, as a “compromise” over teaching intelligent design “theory”. As a matter of public record, the Discovery Institute introduced its “compromise” only after it became apparent that the Ohio Board simply would not approve teaching intelligent design “theory”. At a hearing about the “teach the controversy” policy in March 2002, leading ID “theorists” Jonathan Wells and Stephen Meyer both spoke in favor of the policy. Ohio Board member Deborah Owens-Fink, who asserted that the policy contained nothing from ID, had nevertheless herself introduced measures in 2000 and in 2002 that would have presented ID in class as a scientific theory. Board member Michael Cochran, and ID supporter Robert Lattimer, both also spoke in favor of including ID “theory” in the standards – and then later switched in mid-stream, spoke in favor of the “teach the controversy” policy, and declared that it did not contain any ID theory.

The fact that IDers themselves introduced and supported the “teach the controversy” policy in Ohio indicates clearly that “teach the controversy” and “intelligent design” are one and the same, with the same supporters, same financial/political backers, and same framers.

In the case of Kansas, the continuity between the supporters/framers of “teach the controversy” and Creationism/design are apparent from the witnesses who testified in support of the policy at the Kangaroo Court. Among those who spoke in favor of “teach the controversy” were Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, and Jonathan Wells, all of whom were fellows at the Discovery Institute, all of whom were recognized as leading figures in the intelligent design “theory” movement, and all of whom had written extensive ID materials that were being offered as part of the “scientific arguments against evolution”. Another witness was Charles Thaxton, who was one of the chief architects of the intelligent design movement’s Wedge Strategy. Even more clearly than in Ohio, Kansas shows us that “teach the controversy”, far from being substantially different than intelligent design ‘theory”, is in fact written, produced and directed by the very same people, and makes the very same arguments. There simply is no substantial difference between ID/creationism and the “teach the controversy” policies in Kansas and Ohio.

Quite aside from the fact that “teach the controversy” is indistinguishable in any substantive sense from creation ‘science” and ID, if it can be shown that the policy has religious motivations, has the effect of advancing religion, or implies governmental endorsement of religion, it will independently fail on church/state grounds. And this is not difficult to show.

In both Ohio and Kansas, the IDers, faced with the likely possibility that their “scientific theory” would be viewed as simply religious doctrine, reacted in the same way – if ID wasn’t science, they concluded, then they would use legal fiat to simply change the definition of “science” in the standards so that ID could be included anyway. In Ohio, Meyer proposed that “Ohio should enact no definition of science that would prevent the discussion of other theories”. (cited in Forrest and Gross, p. 232) The original standards read, “Scientific knowledge is limited to natural explanations for natural phenomena based on evidence from our senses or technological extensions… Explanations that are open to further testing, revision and falsification, and while not ‘believed in’ through faith may be accepted or rejected on the basis of evidence.” (cited in Forrest and Gross, p. 235) During the Ohio fight, however, members of the standards committee attempted to change this to “Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, based on observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation and theory building, which leads to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena”. The part about “natural explanations”, “falsification” and “not believed in through faith” were all to be dropped, since ID could not meet any of those standards. The effort to redefine science to make it more ID-friendly, failed.

In Kansas, the religious aim of redefining science was just as explicit, and more successful. The original definition of “science” in the state standards read, “Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us”. ID proponents successfully altered this to read: “Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory-building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”

There is, of course, only one reason why IDers in Ohio and Kansas would wish to alter the legal definition of “science” to drop any reference to “natural explanations” – such a definition explicitly rules out ID, which is not based on any natural explanations. Indeed, ID is based on supernaturalistic explanations. It is religious doctrine.

In Kansas, the religious motives behind the “teach the controversy” policy are explicit and obvious. The Chairman of the education board, Steve Abrams, who played a pivotal role in getting the “teach the controversy” policy adopted, has made open statements to the press pointing out his religious motivations: ““At some point in time, if you compare evolution and the Bible, you have to decide which one you believe. That’s the bottom line.” (Lawrence Journal-World, Sept 24, 2005) Board member Kathy Martin, when asked if ID had a religious agenda, Martin declared, “Of course this is a Christian agenda. We are a Christian nation. Our country is made up of Christian conservatives. We don’t often speak up, but we need to stand up and let our voices be heard. (Pitch.Com, May 5, 2005) Prior to the hearings, Board member Connie Morris asked for a list of witnesses that those opposing the policy planned to call, explaining that she would be “praying over” the witness list. (Kansas Star, April 20,2005)

In Ohio, the board members were more careful not to speak openly of any religious motives. The Discovery Institute members and other IDers who introduced the “compromise”, however, have been publicly vocal about their religious motivations. One of the early IDers to show up in Ohio was John Calvert (who was also the lawyer who questioned the 23 witnesses in the Kansas hearings). The Kansas City Star reports:

“Ohio began work on its standards in 2001. It was the same year that Calvert retired early from the Lathrop & Gage law firm to devote his time to the Intelligent Design Network of Shawnee Mission, which he had co-founded. On a cold January night in 2002, Calvert was in Columbus, Ohio, to address the standards committee of the Ohio Board of Education. The committee is comprised of about half of the state board’s 19 members. One of them, evolution defender Martha Wise, remembers Calvert well. “I sat through his half-hour presentation and thought, ‘What is he talking about — a higher power?’ During a break, I remember going over to some people who are recognized as our Ohio Academy of Science and I said to them: ‘It sounds like he is talking about God’ and they said: ‘You got it.’ I was flabbergasted.” (Kansas City Star, June 14, 2005)

The conclusion seems clear and inescapable, in both Ohio and Kansas. The “teach the controversy” policy is identical in every substantive way with creation “science” and/or ID “theory, both of which have already been ruled illegal on church/state grounds. “Teach the controversy” and ID/creationism both depend on exactly the same “scientific arguments” – none of which have ever been published in any scientific journal, none of which are accepted as valid by the scientific community, and all of which are lifted, word for word, from creation “science” and ID texts. The identical nature of the “controversy”/ID arguments is matched by a similar identity in supporters, backers and framers. The people who have put together and are pushing for adoption of “teach the controversy” are the very same people who were earlier putting together and pushing for adoption of creation “science” and/or ID “theory”. And public statements from both board members and from the individuals who helped formulate and implement the “teach the controversy” policy make it clear that they are still motivated by the very same religious motives that fueled their earlier efforts to introduce creationism/ID into classrooms.

In short, “teach the controversy” is creationism/intelligent design. There is no substantive difference between them, nor can there be. After all, there simply is no scientific theory of Intelligent Design. ID was not ever anything other than a string of unrelated criticisms of evolution – the very same unrelated string of criticisms of evolution which now make up the “controversy” that IDers want to teach. “Teach the controversy” is, transparently, nothing more than an attempt to respond to state education board decisions and court rulings banning creationism/ID by dropping the words “intelligent design” altogether, while leaving the arguments the same. And it is extremely unlikely that any of these arguments will survive court challenges.

Comment #78861

Posted by Cat on February 10, 2006 11:23 PM (e)

There is another way to look at this. If you take Casey Luskin at his word (bad idea… I know… but just go with it for a moment) then ID cannot be one of the scientific theories that scientists are using to raise scientific criticisms about the theory of Evolution. Therefore he is admitting that ID is not science at all. Fair enough. I think that is what everyone has been trying to get through his head for a long time. Nice of him to catch up. These “real scientific criticisms” then must be those brought up by Dawkins and Coyne in “One Side Can be Wrong.” Once again, fair enough. But does anyone really think that sort of detailed exploration of a particular science is appropriate at the high school level? Anyway… removing tounge from cheek now.

Comment #78865

Posted by PvM on February 10, 2006 11:40 PM (e)

Judge Jones wrote:

Accepting for the sake of argument its proponents’, as well as Defendants’ argument that to introduce ID to students will encourage critical thinking, it still has utterly no place in a science curriculum.
Moreover, ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID.

Comment #78868

Posted by Tiax on February 11, 2006 12:14 AM (e)

“If Darwinists are going to continually claim that the new standards “open the door” for teaching intelligent design (or creationism, or religion, etc.) then I challenge them to produce language in the standards which sanctions the teaching of such.”

sanc·tion n.
1. Authoritative permission or approval that makes a course of action valid. See Synonyms at permission.

“While the testimony presented at the science hearings included many advocates of Intelligent Design, these standards neither mandate nor prohibit teaching about this scientific disagreement.

I win!

Comment #78873

Posted by pough on February 11, 2006 2:08 AM (e)

If Darwinists are going to continually claim that the new standards “open the door” for teaching intelligent design (or creationism, or religion, etc.) then I challenge them to produce language in the standards which sanctions the teaching of such.

This guys’s as slippery as an eel! He used a contronym. I wonder if it was on purpose…

Comment #78874

Posted by PvM on February 11, 2006 2:19 AM (e)

explanation of contronym

Sanction

Support or encouragement, as from public opinion or established custom.
Authoritative permission or approval that makes a course of action valid

versus

A penalty, specified or in the form of moral pressure, that acts to ensure compliance or conformity.
A coercive measure adopted usually by several nations acting together against a nation violating international law.

From http://www.answers.com/topic/contronym
(A word having opposite or contradictory meanings, as sanction or cleave.)

Comment #78875

Posted by Tiax on February 11, 2006 2:24 AM (e)

You know, the more I think about it, the more I like “teach the controversy.” Bear with me on this. We just need to insert a word. “Teach the real controversy!” The lesson will go something like this:

“I know you kids have been hearing a lot in the news (yeah, right American kids and news) about the controversy over evolution. Well, today I’m going to teach you about it. While there are still open discussions about various minor details of evolution, these exist within the paradigm of evolution, and do not constitute a controversy. Similarly, though there exists a small group of people who like to call themselves scientists and then reject evolution, this also does not constitute a controversy. Finally, though there are many non-scientists who believe in such things as YEC, this does not constitute a controversy in the same way that the fact that I don’t understand Chinese does not constitute a controversy about the correct meaning of a given Chinese word. The only controversy that exists is a political/religious one, and you should probably ask your social sciences teacher about it, because we don’t cover that in biology.”

This is the controversy, and it should be taught.

Comment #78905

Posted by RupertG on February 11, 2006 8:45 AM (e)

I’m all for teaching the controversy. Disagreements can be a thrilling and engaging way to learn about a subject - I’ve picked up far more about evolutionary biology (and even Christian theology) by hanging out in talk.origins for years than I ever did at school. Trouble is, that particular controversy’s not about science.

So teach scientific controversies, like what went on in the back story with Mike Dunford’s piece on sympatric speciation. In such disputatious areas where the science is most fluid and open to question one might expect IDers to be queuing up to offer their interpretation, to show how the evidence falls in ways that match their theories: it is notable, if not surprising, that they are almost entirely silent. Thought they like controversies?

R

Comment #78947

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 11, 2006 1:05 PM (e)

Yes they’re bringing in ID, but it’s one thing to point this out to people who are interested in the truth, quite another to make the case in court. Obviously the IDiots have always thought that criticisms of “Darwinism” were actually arguments in favor of ID, so that clearly, for the DI, pushing criticisms of “Darwinism” is virtually the same as teaching ID.

Intelligent Design is “the scientific disagreement with the claim of many evolutionary biologists that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.”

Let me start off my comments about the above quote by noting that I don’t from the beginning believe that there is “apparent design of living systems.” That’s a construct, and is not the original belief of humans, because they recognized that life was not like what they themselves designed. It belongs to more arrogant times to suppose that life is analogous with our productions. IDiots like to include this “apparent design” in many of their statements, trying to make this a given, when it is not a given at all (and Ruse shouldn’t say it is).

Moving on, though, Luskin’s statement is not necessarily going to be the ruling definition of ID. Judge Jones ruled that Luskin’s line is BS, and Kansas only has to state that they agree with Jones to get away from equating criticisms of evolution with ID per se.

1) to help students understand the full range of scientific views that exist on this topic, 2) to enhance critical thinking and the understanding of the scientific method by encouraging students to study different and opposing scientific evidence

This is where ID appears for all intents and purposes, of course, because the “full range of scientific views” is supposed to include ID, according to Luskin and the DI. But again, all Kansas would have to do is to claim to agree with Judge Jones to avoid the problem legally, or at least that is how I see it. I’m not banking on any IDist telling the truth, and after all, the Kansas standards are really written to smother creationist motivations and intentions (promoting their purpose, however) by following Luskin’s the the DI’s deceptive plan of attack.

On our side, I think we’re going to have to show the illegitimacy of the various attacks on science made by IDiots in the schools. It’s hard for me to see how they’re going to even be able to meaningfully raise legitimate problems that yet exist in evolution without teaching evolutionary theory in considerable depth. So the criticisms of evolution are going to be either distortions of the truth (which should be vulnerable in a court of law), or full-blown BS taken from the IDists. A pattern of distortions and lies should be actionable in the courts, once their motivations are tied to these distortions and falsehoods.

What I’m saying is, yes this is the latest Trojan Horse, but it’s not going to be as easy as in Dover. Luskin’s nonsense about ID being the scientific disagreement with evolution does not legally define the battle in Kansas, unless of course one could tie the wording of the standards to Luskin’s, or the DI’s, particular view (which I doubt is the case).

Dissembling works, in other words, and it is going to require more and more effort to fight the DI’s mendacity as their war against science proceeds.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #78949

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 1:11 PM (e)

On our side, I think we’re going to have to show the illegitimacy of the various attacks on science made by IDiots in the schools.

Already done. After all, if the IDers want us to “teach the evidence against evolution”, they have to SHOW IT TO US.

Alas, all they have to offer is the same “IC”, “no transitional fossils”, “EF”, “thermodynamics”, “Cambrian explosion” crapola that ID/creationists have been serving up for decades now – the same stuff that has never been accepted by any serious scientists, that has never appeared in a peer-reviewed science journal, and has ONLY appeared in ID/creationist literature. All of this stuff was offered before in court, as part of the rejected “two models” approach. All of it failed. All of it has been irrevocably linked with ID/creationism.

Any judge with an IQ above room temperature will see, with crystal clarity, that “teach the controversy” is nothing but ID/creationism without the words “ID” or “creationism”. Same crap, different toilet.

The IDers don’t have a prayer.

Comment #78953

Posted by whoever on February 11, 2006 1:27 PM (e)

“While the testimony presented at the science hearings included many advocates of Intelligent Design, these standards neither mandate nor prohibit teaching about this scientific disagreement.”

Christalmighty Jack, how clear do they have to make it for you?

Comment #78962

Posted by Jack Krebs on February 11, 2006 1:58 PM (e)

to Glen D: you are a little confused here about which quotes are from Luskin and which from the Kansas standards.

Here’s the complete Board Rationale statement from the Kansas standards:

Rationale of the State Board for Adopting these Science Curriculum Standards

We believe it is in the best interest of educating Kansas students that all students have a good working knowledge of science: particularly what defines good science, how science moves forward, what holds science back, and how to critically analyze the conclusions that scientists make.

Regarding the scientific theory of biological evolution, the curriculum standards call 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. These curriculum standards reflect the Board’s objective of: 1) to help students understand the full range of scientific views that exist on this topic, 2) to enhance critical thinking and the understanding of the scientific method by encouraging students to study different and opposing scientific evidence, and 3) to ensure that science education in our state is “secular, neutral, and non-ideological.”

From the testimony and submissions we have received, we are aware that the study and discussion of the origin and development of life may raise deep personal and philosophical questions for many people on all sides of the debate. But as interesting as these personal questions may be, the personal questions are not covered by these curriculum standards nor are they the basis for the Board’s actions in this area.

Evolution is accepted by many scientists but questioned by some. The Board has heard credible scientific testimony that indeed there are significant debates about the evidence for key aspects of chemical and biological evolutionary theory. All scientific theories should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered. We therefore think it is important and appropriate for students to know about these scientific debates and for the Science Curriculum Standards to include information about them. In choosing this approach to the science curriculum standards, we are encouraged by the similar approach taken by other states, whose new science standards incorporate scientific criticisms into the science curriculum that describes the scientific case for the theory of evolution.

We also emphasize that the Science Curriculum Standards do not include Intelligent Design, the scientific disagreement with the claim of many evolutionary biologists that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion. While the testimony presented at the science hearings included many advocates of Intelligent Design, these standards neither mandate nor prohibit teaching about this scientific disagreement.

Finally, we would like to thank the Science Standards Committee for their commitment and dedication in their work toward the standards. (page ii)

Comment #78966

Posted by Glen Davidson on February 11, 2006 2:22 PM (e)

No, I didn’t confuse which statements were Luskin’s and which were from the Kansas standards. I quoted Luskin:

Intelligent Design is “the scientific disagreement with the claim of many evolutionary biologists that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.”

I complained about his claim of “apparent design”, then wrote this of Luskin’s comments on ID:

Moving on, though, Luskin’s statement is not necessarily going to be the ruling definition of ID. Judge Jones ruled that Luskin’s line is BS, and Kansas only has to state that they agree with Jones to get away from equating criticisms of evolution with ID per se.

Perhaps I should have prefaced the Kansas board’s statement with a remark that clearly set it off from Luskin’s remarks, but I expected that the differentiation would be understood from the original post:

1) to help students understand the full range of scientific views that exist on this topic, 2) to enhance critical thinking and the understanding of the scientific method by encouraging students to study different and opposing scientific evidence

Then I agreed that if we use Luskin, ID appears above, but contrasted it to what Kansas could claim, in the following:

This is where ID appears for all intents and purposes, of course, because the “full range of scientific views” is supposed to include ID, according to Luskin and the DI. But again, all Kansas would have to do is to claim to agree with Judge Jones to avoid the problem legally, or at least that is how I see it.

My point was that ID appears in the Kansas statement “for all intents and purposes” because of what ID is, as stated by Luskin and the DI. But Kansas may demur from accepting what Luskin and the DI say. That’s my point. Clearly their statement ((1) to help students understand the full range of scientific views that exist on this topic, 2) to enhance critical thinking and the understanding of the scientific method by encouraging students to study different and opposing scientific evidence) does not refer to what Luskin has said and written, nor is it obvious that it depends upon Luskin’s concept of ID.

If you’re out to trap Luskin in his own words, well and good, you did it. What I wanted to say is that we have to do battle with the creationists on other terms in the legal arena. That we have to show the religious motivations behind the attacks on science, as well as to demonstrate how distorted and incorrect the arguments are.

I just don’t want anyone to think that it’s going to be easy to fight ID in Kansas. I also didn’t believe that you were suggesting that it would be, I only thought that some could take it that way.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #78976

Posted by Registered User on February 11, 2006 3:05 PM (e)

“While the testimony presented at the science hearings included many advocates of Intelligent Design, these standards neither mandate nor prohibit teaching about this scientific disagreement.”

Christalmighty Jack, how clear do they have to make it for you?

I second this. Seemed like a lot of excess verbiage to take down Luskin.

Comment #78977

Posted by Liz on February 11, 2006 3:10 PM (e)

If the BOE thinks it dodged a legal bullet by specifically stating that the standards do NOT, repeat DO NOT! require the teaching of ID, I believe they think wrong.

What the BOE has done clearly fails the Lemon test:

http://www.ncseweb.org/selman/Selman_FAQ.html

“Under Lemon, a government policy is unconstitutional if:
(1) it has a primarily religious purpose,
(2) it has a primarily religious effect, or
(3) it excessively entangles the government and religion. A policy is unconstitutional if it fails the test of any prong.”

There is no conceivable reason OTHER than religious why the BOE has rejected the Majority standards. In fact, they have proudly stated their religious motivations and have been quoted in the media doing so.

Teaching “other theories” has to mean creationism in some form. I don’t believe for a nanosecond they intend for Raelianism or the Flying Spaghetti Monster Theory to be discussed in science class. And the lie that there are significant arguments in the scientific community as to whether evolutionary theory is valid is downright fantastic.

Yes, the Kansas standards open the door to teaching just about anything a science teacher wants to teach. YEC, OEC, Flat-Earthism, FSM, etc. Is this the best we can do for our students? Heck, no!

Comment #78980

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 3:17 PM (e)

I just don’t want anyone to think that it’s going to be easy to fight ID in Kansas.

Au contraire, it will be crushingly easy.

Exhibit A:

The Chairman of the education board, Steve Abrams, who played a pivotal role in getting the “teach the controversy” policy adopted, has made open statements to the press pointing out his religious motivations: ““At some point in time, if you compare evolution and the Bible, you have to decide which one you believe. That’s the bottom line.” (Lawrence Journal-World, Sept 24, 2005) Board member Kathy Martin, when asked if ID had a religious agenda, Martin declared, “Of course this is a Christian agenda. We are a Christian nation. Our country is made up of Christian conservatives. We don’t often speak up, but we need to stand up and let our voices be heard. (Pitch.Com, May 5, 2005) Prior to the hearings, Board member Connie Morris asked for a list of witnesses that those opposing the policy planned to call, explaining that she would be “praying over” the witness list. (Kansas Star, April 20,2005)

Game over.

Comment #78982

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on February 11, 2006 3:19 PM (e)

If the BOE thinks it dodged a legal bullet by specifically stating that the standards do NOT, repeat DO NOT! require the teaching of ID, I believe they think wrong.

After all, the Arkansas Act 590 (creation ‘science’ balanced treatment act) specifically and clearly stated that religion was NOT,repeat NOT, to be taught.

It, uh, didn’t help them very much.