Posted by Jack Krebs on February 10, 2006 10:22 PM

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!

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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