Jack Krebs posted Entry 2452 on July 16, 2006 09:28 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2447

Earlier this week the Kansas state Board of Education unveiled a glossy pamphlet on the changes made to the Kansas science standards. Even though they claimed to just be including direct quotes from the standards, they in fact did some significant editorializing that supports the Discovery Institute and the Intelligent Design network’s campaign position that Intelligent Design is not included in the standards.

But the Kansas science standards do say that students should learn about ID, and that ID content ought to be in the standards.

If you want to read more about this new KBOE pamphlet, see State BOE aligns itself with Intelligent Design campaign in saying “No ID in standards at KCFS News.

However, here I would like to repost from KCFS News my analysis of the Board’s Rationale statement showing that indeed the Board does call for students to learn about ID. I know Nick Matzke posted on this topic earlier, but I wanted to present my take on the matter also.

The Discovery Institute, the Intelligent Design network (IDnet), and the Kansas state Board of Education (KBOE) are making the false claim that the KBOE science standards do not include Intelligent Design.

All three are primarily basing their claim on this paragraph from the “Rationale of the State Board for Adopting these Science Curriculum Standards.” (KBOE Standards, page ii)

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.

The KBOE recently published a pamphlet which asks the question, “Do the standards include Intelligent Design?” They answer the question by bolding the first sentence in the paragraph above: “We also emphasize that the Science Curriculum Standards do not include Intelligent Design.” (See here for the whole story.)

John West of the Discovery Institute remarked here, “Which part of ‘do not include Intelligent Design’ can’t opponents of the standards understand?”

And the Intelligent Design network’s FAQ pamphlet about the KBOE standards says this:

Q: Did the Board insert Intelligent Design into the standards?

A: No. It expressly excluded ID from the standards.

The Discovery Institute, the IDnet, and the KBOE are all wrong. They are all clinging to the assertion that Intelligent Design is not included in the standards even though the evidence shows otherwise. A central part of their strategy in Kansas is supposedly to be “just teaching evolution honestly,” so it is important to them to disassociate themselves from Intelligent Design. However, they are not being honest: not about the standards, teaching, Intelligent Design or the theory of evolution.

Let me explain.

The Kansas Science Standards DO include Intelligent Design (ID)

The standards include Intelligent Design in two ways. First, the rationale statement taken as a whole clearly does say that students should learn Intelligent Design. Secondly, a number of Intelligent Design concepts and claims, all rejected by mainstream science have been inserted into the standards.

In this post, I will explain why it is true that the KBOE standards do expect students to learn about Intelligent Design, and that Intelligent Design content has been added to the standards.

Part I: The rationale statement DOES say that students should learn about Intelligent Design

— The Board’s rationale statement

Below are the second, third paragraphs and fifth paragraphs of the rationale statement. I have bolded certain key phrases to help discuss this statement:

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 objectives: 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.””

Evolution in 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.”

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.

— So what does this statement say?, and what conclusion can we reach from it?

First, students are expected to “understand the full range of scientific views that exist” on the topic of biological evolution. They are to “learn about areas where scientists are raising scientific criticisms of the theory,” and “to study different and opposing scientific evidence.”

Secondly, the Board believes there “are significant debates about the evidence for key aspects of chemical and biological evolutionary theory,” and that “it is important and appropriate for students to know about these scientific debates and for the Science Curriculum Standards to include information about them.”

So what “scientific debates” should students know about? What scientific criticisms and opposing scientific evidence should they learn about?

Well, the only alternative “theory” mentioned in the rationale statement is Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design is defined as “the scientific disagreement with the claim of many evolutionary biologists that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion”; or in other words, Intelligent Design is defined as the scientific agreement with the claim that design is real.

Given all the statements in the rationale about students being expected to learn about the “full range of scientific views” and “scientific criticisms” of evolution,” and given that Intelligent Design is the only such criticism mentioned, it is absolutely clear that students are expected to learn about Intelligent Design.

This seems like an inescapable conclusion based on what the Board themselves has written.

— So what about the Board’s disclaimers about Intelligent Design?

One of the Board’s disclaimer’s can be dismissed immediately. The Board writes, ““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.”

This is a statement without consequence. State science standards are not mandatory, so of course they don’t mandate any curricular topic. As the introduction to the science standards say, standards assist local districts in developing curricula, provide the foundation for state assessments, and “represent high, yet reasonable expectations for all students.” Standards are not mandatory, and therefore they do not mandate Intelligent Design any more or less than any other topic.

Similarly, standards don’t prohibit anything either. Standards are an outline of core, fundamental learning objectives for students. They are not a complete curriculum. All teachers, as part of their local teaching responsibilities, teach a great deal more than what is outlined in the standards. Just because something is not mentioned in the standards doesn’t mean it is prohibited.

The above statement is an empty statement that might make it look like the Board is being neutral about Intelligent Design to those who don’t understand what standards are. But they are not being neutral, as I have shown: they do express their intent for students to learn about Intelligent Design and for the standards to contain Intelligent Design content. My opinion is that they clearly added this explicit disclaimer as an counterpoint to the obvious implicit endorsement of teaching about Intelligent Design.

The second Rationale statement says, as has been already quoted, “We also emphasize that the Science Curriculum Standards do not include Intelligent Design.”

I will address this statement in Part II of this post. There we will have to look at the critical issue of the nature of science: the Board has made changes to the definition of science statement for the purpose of allowing supernatural causation into scientific explanations. We’ll also have to consider what “Intelligent Design” really is so that we can see if it is really in the standards. To do this, we’ll look at a number of the specific changes the Board made to the content of the standards.

End of Part I

From KCFS News: Part I: The KBOE science standards DO include Intelligent Design

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Comment #112775

Posted by Registered User on July 17, 2006 1:36 AM (e)

What this bizarre story really needs is a group of Sasquatch promoters who show up and protest that the Sasquatch life history and evidence thereof (including psychic powers and links to extraterrestrials) are not taught.

Or maybe some HIV and/or Holocaust deniers.

Comment #112800

Posted by Steven Poole on July 17, 2006 5:43 AM (e)

Exactly so.
See also Standard Seven of Life Science, Grades 8-12, Benchmark 3d:

“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.” (page 79)

Of course no one outside ID ever uses the phrase “irreducibly complex”. I wrote to the board pointing this out while preparing my book. Bill Wagnon and Sue Gamble responded in agreement. None of the majority replied.

Comment #112810

Posted by Graham Douglas on July 17, 2006 6:06 AM (e)

Re: the IDnet’s “FAQ” answer

“does not include” != “excludes”

Terminological inexactitude… why doesn’t it surprise me?

Comment #112823

Posted by mark on July 17, 2006 7:41 AM (e)

As written, the quotes above from the standards are misleading and deceptive, very seriously downplaying the very real role of evolution theory in biology. A naive reader would get a very distorted view of evolution and the anti-evolution movement from this material. They could have said, “The Theory of Intelligent Design won’t be taught,” but obviously, you can’t teach a theory that doesn’t exist.
It should come as no surprise that Creationists who refuse to name the Creator should write about Intelligent Design without actually saying “Intelligent Design.”

Comment #112832

Posted by Flint on July 17, 2006 7:57 AM (e)

My opinion is that they clearly added this explicit disclaimer as an counterpoint to the obvious implicit endorsement of teaching about Intelligent Design.

I think mark is exactly right. There are two goals here: to teach ID in science classes, and to put up a prima facie defense against the accusation that they are doing so.

The solution is quintessentially typical of the creationist mentality. Include in the recommendations all the talking points about intelligent design without using that exact phrase, then deny you’re doing so using “intelligent design” explicitly. Then cite the denial out of one side of the mouth while teaching the superstition out of the other.

As always, lying is encouraged so long as Jeezus is telling you in your heart that he approves.

Comment #112833

Posted by Steven Poole on July 17, 2006 7:59 AM (e)

Sorry, I should have noted that one of the majority, Kathy Martin, did reply to me, claiming to be unaware that “irreducibly complex” was not a phrase used by scientists. More here.

Comment #112890

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 17, 2006 12:25 PM (e)

In a sense they are correct to say that ID is not included in the Kansas standards, for ID has never been substantially more than criticism of evolution. The DI and the Kansas board are implicitly acknowledging that ID actually is nothing but a negative response to evolution.

But they are expressly denying that their subtle rubbishing of science and faulty criticisms embody the strain of creationism that is called “ID”. They deny favoring the teaching the false dichotomy inherent in “creation science” and in ID, even as they bring it up in their pamphlet:

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

What “apparent design”? There is no design apparent to biologists in organisms, and in fact at times biologists note that design is not seen in biological systems—in order to prevent people from unconsciously smuggling in anthropomorphic conceptions (IOW, sometimes there is “apparent design” in the same way that “apparent ghosts” are perceived by people).

The “evolutionary biologists” purportedly claim that “apparent design” is an “illusion” (for any good reason, Kansas board?), while Intelligent Design is “scientific disagreement” with this mere “claim” by the actual biologists.

There is so much tendentiousness packed into that fragment of one sentence that you know it has to be written by creationists.

The one unintended funny bit is that they bandy “scientific disagreement” about while crediting “evolutionary biologists” for making their “claim” about an “illusion”. What, isn’t it a biological disagreement, KB? We don’t have a number of biologists disagreeing that “apparent design” is an “illusion”?

Well, no, but the rubes on the school board wouldn’t recognize that legitimate scientific disagreement regarding evolution would come from biologists, not mathematicians (who aren’t actually scientists anyhow) or biochemists.

I like the “…credible scientific testimony that indeed there are significiant debates about the evidence for key aspects of chemical and biological evolutionary theory.”

How’s that? Didn’t the scientists who write about evolution as scientists boycott their little shenanigans? So how could they hear “credible testimony” about scientific debates on evolutionary theory from the non-biologists (unless the moonie spoke) who espouse pseudo-science? That is to say, does the KB even try to tell credible lies, or are the most blatant and unbelievable falsehoods sufficient for their purposes?

About the only reason they could advance for the claim that ID isn’t included is that, apart from a bit of IDist language, nothing coming explicitly from ID, rather than from “scientific creationism”, is in the standards. This is to say that the whole patter about “scientific disagreement” and “opposing scientific evidence” is not exclusive to ID, rather it also constitutes the body of the “alternative” of “scientific creationism” as much as it does “ID”. They do not refer to Dembski’s “work” (an embarrassment to all), which constitutes about all of the “new concepts” in ID that have been widely accepted by various kinds of creationists.

IOW, if they really want to say that they’re not favoring the teaching of ID, then surely they must be in favor of teaching some more explicit forms of creationism. The same loony PRATTs and false dichotomies exist in both “scientific creationism” and “ID”, and in both cases the mere criticism of evolution is supposed to be evidence for “intelligent design”. Naturally, the fact that they bring up ID as “scientific disagreement” demonstrates that they do indeed implicitly include ID in their recommendation, however I am willing to take their confusion to imply that “scientific creationism” is hardly ruled out either.

Maybe they really do intend to question geology as well as evolutionary theory. After all, the fossil record sensibly supports modern evolutionary conceptions (archaeopteryx’s wings are analogous with pterodactyl wings, while being homologous with the general vertebrate forelimb and not with the specialized flying forelimb), so surely it must be as questionable as evolution is. In truth, I really wouldn’t be surprised if the board actually thinks that it is not mandating ID because it considers “scientific creationism” to be among the “scientific views” that it recommends to use for “critical analysis”.

Regardless of the scope of their anti-science recommendations, even to call ID a “scientific disagreement” tips their hand immediately. Labeling religious apologetics as “scientific disagreement” only indicates that they wish to turn science classes into sessions for religious indoctrination.

It’s odd how truly obtuse they are. Do they really think that we’d forget that they had no testimony from scientists, but only from shills for religious dogmas? Are they so ignorant that they don’t know that biologists don’t generally claim that “apparent design of living systems is an illusion”, instead recognizing that the only apparent driver of form and function is evolution with its various “mechanisms”? Do they think that we don’t know better than to believe that IDists have any kind of “scientific disagreement” with evolution, when they’re off preaching in churches about their mission to undo the scientific consensus? Yes, they probably are that ignorant, which means that they have no moral right to recommend any standards for the children of Kansas.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #112901

Posted by Flint on July 17, 2006 1:07 PM (e)

Glen D:

That is to say, does the KB even try to tell credible lies, or are the most blatant and unbelievable falsehoods sufficient for their purposes?

The latter. This is exactly the case. The target audience is the majority of Kansans, who WANT this to be the case and will believe it if you tell them it’s the case. Remember, this is politics and not science. Science is concerned with what’s true. Politics is concerned with what voters WISH were true. Very different constituencies.

Comment #112908

Posted by steve s on July 17, 2006 1:24 PM (e)

Is Dembski going to have to change his title to “The Isaac Newton of Teach the Controversy Theory”?

Maybe he can global search and replace “Intelligent Design” with “Teach the Controversy”, replace “Design Theorists” with “Controversy Theorists”, and publish it all in his new book, No Free Brunch.

Comment #112911

Posted by Glen Davidson on July 17, 2006 1:30 PM (e)

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

I just want to add that there was an “apparent” fact known before evolutionary theory was accepted. It was not “apparent design”, though some such as Paley tried to make the case for “apparent design” (even he had to make excuses for apparently “bad design”). What was apparent was the family resemblances between the organisms, at least up to the kingdom level at that time.

Darwin came up with the evidence (but not the concept) that showed that “apparent family resemblances” were not an “illusion”. IDists want to claim that apparent resemblances in fact are an illusion, or more confusingly, that some apparent resemblances are illusions while others are not.

Using proper standards and the “level of detail” despised by Dembksi, there is no “apparent design” of organisms. What is more, IDists haven’t begun to amass and correlate evidences for design in a manner similar to Darwin’s evidences and model of evolution by natural selection. They haven’t made reasonable predictions based upon what “design can do” (they avoid predicting rational design, for good reason), so that even if one were to argue for “apparent design”, the evidence that it is “real” is wholly lacking.

We did not simply look at “apparent family resemblance” and accept evolution. Yet the relatedness of life is much more apparent than is any rational design of organisms. Evolution had to be demonstrated with evidence, cross-correlations, and predictions and/or post-dictions (like vestigial organs–platypus and baleen whale teeth for example) that could and would be tested. Of course, in amassing the evidence in favor of actual relatedness, any semblance of “apparent design” disappeared for those who paid attention.

All of this scientific work is ignored by the dolts on the Kansas board, along with “apparent relatedness” of all life, in favor of a “design” that is “apparent” simply because of their a priori religious beliefs.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #112932

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on July 17, 2006 2:32 PM (e)

From the Kansas Science Standards Summary of Changes

The science Standards from 2001 used the following definition of science:
“Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us” (p 4, KSES, 2001).

The 2005 standards use the following definition:
“Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation that uses observations, hypothesis testing, measurements, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena” ip. Ix KSES, 2005).

Science is no longer the search for natural explanations. By changing the definition, it legitimizes the search for ghosts, aliens, and alien goats, as an explanation for phenomena in the natural world.

Changing the definition of science allows ID in the door along with all sorts of interesting and creative ideas, all of which belong in a creative writing class.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #113254

Posted by Eisnel on July 18, 2006 6:16 PM (e)

Wow, that’s a good point! It’s amazing how the KBOE’s long-winded wording attempts to obscure that. So if I understand this right, the KBOE standards could be paraphrased like this:

1. ID is neither mandated NOR PROHIBITED.

2. Alternative scientific theories should be taught.

3. ID is an alternative scientific theory.

Comment #113259

Posted by Jack Krebs on July 18, 2006 6:29 PM (e)

Therefore, ID should be taught. Q.E.D.

You got it.

Comment #113553

Posted by CHRISTENSEN on July 19, 2006 8:24 PM (e)

You arguing by IMPLICATION JacK, something you just got through smearing me about over at KCFS…

Your double standard is nauseating.

Ironic that you keep mouthing off about Calvert being a LIAR>

The standards do NOT call for teaching ID.

I hope you are going to have question and answer sessions at your speeches!!!

Comment #113654

Posted by Sir_Toejam on July 20, 2006 5:54 AM (e)

meh, calvert/luskin same animal, different skin.

Comment #113666

Posted by Jack Krebs on July 20, 2006 7:11 AM (e)

Hey guys, lets not turn this thread into a flame war.

FWIW, Christensen was just banned at the KCFS forum, and he’s been banned at Red State Rabble also, under various pseudonyms. I don’t want his style or his anger carrying over here, and I don’t want people to respond to him uncivilly or angrily either.

This thread is for specific and substantial discussion of the Kansas Standards and the question of whether ID is in them.

I’ve moved a few posts to the bathroom wall.

Comment #113676

Posted by fnxtr on July 20, 2006 7:48 AM (e)

Bravo, Jack.

While I admire Tara’s patience on the spontaneous abortion thread, it’s also important to keep the thread from getting too tangled.

Is it just my impression, or are the personal attacks and fifth-grade name-calling getting more and more prevalent lately?

“You’re a moron.”
“No, you’re a moron!”
“Am not!”
“Are too!”
“Prove it!”
“No, you prove it.”

Sheesh. The best and the brightest.

Comment #113683

Posted by Jack Krebs on July 20, 2006 8:12 AM (e)

Thanks. There are plenty of places on the internet where people can act like 5th graders. I don’t think the Panda’s Thumb should be such a place.

However, moderation varies on threads for a variety of reasons:

1. Each PT contributor moderates their own threads
2. The time we have for moderation varies as our lives vary
3. Some threads deserve, in my opinion, closer moderation than others - some times it OK (illuminating, even) to let the flames run wild, but at other times, such as this thread, I want cool responses and discussion.

Comment #114482

Posted by Jesus Freak on July 24, 2006 4:40 PM (e)

Sir, a Christian Scientist one time told me that they were not a cult and their beliefs were not a cultish issue. Was I ever surprised to find that they were. Why can we not say the same for Evolution? What beliefs make Evolution not a cult? Why believe in Evolution? What does Evolution have to offer me? Does believing in Evolution help me in getting to heaven? What would Charles Darwin do? What do eyewitness accounts say about Charles Darwin? Do we have any outside proof of his existence? Where can I find a local church in regards to the belief of Evolution? Why do people still worship Charles Darwin’s teachings today? Thanks for your time and have a great day.

Honest questions about Charles Darwin:

Sir,
I have a question. Was Darwin a liar, a lunatic or a loser? Was he an idiot?
Question no. 2 Did Darwin go crazy at the Galapogos Islands? Was he hallucinating? What do the experts say?
Question no. 3 Are there any eyewitness accounts of Darwin? What do the eyewitness accounts of Darwin at the Galapogos say? Can we prove through Science that Charles Darwin ever existed?

Thanks for your time sir. Have a good day.

Casey Powell

Comment #114483

Posted by Jesus Freak on July 24, 2006 4:41 PM (e)

Sir, a Christian Scientist one time told me that they were not a cult and their beliefs were not a cultish issue. Was I ever surprised to find that they were. Why can we not say the same for Evolution? What beliefs make Evolution not a cult? Why believe in Evolution? What does Evolution have to offer me? Does believing in Evolution help me in getting to heaven? What would Charles Darwin do? What do eyewitness accounts say about Charles Darwin? Do we have any outside proof of his existence? Where can I find a local church in regards to the belief of Evolution? Why do people still worship Charles Darwin’s teachings today? Thanks for your time and have a great day. This is not a malicious comment, rather an honest one.

Honest questions about Charles Darwin:

Sir,
I have a question. Was Darwin a liar, a lunatic or a loser? Was he an idiot?
Question no. 2 Did Darwin go crazy at the Galapogos Islands? Was he hallucinating? What do the experts say?
Question no. 3 Are there any eyewitness accounts of Darwin? What do the eyewitness accounts of Darwin at the Galapogos say? Can we prove through Science that Charles Darwin ever existed?

Thanks for your time sir. Have a good day.

Casey Powell