Thursday, August 11, 2005

What's the Matter With Kansas, Indeed

Well, kids, we shouldn't be surprised.

The Kansas Board of Education voted 6-4 Tuesday to include greater criticism of evolution in its school science standards, but it decided to send the standards to an outside academic for review before taking a final vote.

According to the National Center for Science Education:

The American Institute of Biological Sciences was quick to decry the board's decision. In a press release issued on August 9, AIBS stated that the board "is doing a disservice to the state's K-12 students by adopting a curriculum that redefines science such that intelligent design/creationism and other non-scientific concepts could be taught in science classes." AIBS's executive director Richard O'Grady explained, "The theory of evolution underpins all of modern biology," and AIBS's president Marvalee Wake added, "If our students are going to compete in the global economy and if we are going to attract the next generation into the sciences, we must teach science. ... We simply cannot begin to introduce non-scientific concepts into the science curriculum."

The standards will be reviewed by Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), a reputable Colorado-based educational research organization. According to the Capitol-Journal, "In addition to commenting on whether the standards cover what students need to know, McREL is also to consider such issues as if the standards give enough guidance for curriculum and assessment." The review process is expected to take at least a month; the board is therefore expected to consider the standards again in light of McREL's assessment at its October meeting. But the board is not obligated to pay any attention to the assessment, and the six-member conservative majority seems to be bent on ignoring informed scientific and educational opinion.

Keep track of the NCSE homepage for updates on the various battles across the country. I swear... these ID people are going to give me a stroke.


Officious Pedant said...

You know what? If I have to hear one more conservative Christian whine about "leveling the scientific field", I swear I'm going to puke. It sickens me to see that they have co-opted the educational concept of leveling the field, largely because that field cannot be leveled.

There are smart kids, and stupid kids (I flat refuse to slow), and reducing the curriculum down to some kind of one size fits all pap is an egregious attack on our children and their ability to compete in a global market.

Science is or is not. You can either prove, or have disproven, your hypothesis. Any competing theory must have the same ability, and ID most assuredly does not. How can you possibly prove that an intelligent designer designed the cell? How can you possibly prove that it is IMPOSSIBLE for the cell to have come about through natural means?

They do not want to air conflicting theories of evolution, because they can't possibly test their pet hypotheses, they want to pick at what they consider to be holes in the theory. Here's the problem, at least for them. The holes aren't in the fucking THEORY! The holes, as scientists have been telling these idiots for years, is in the mechanisms that caused evolution, not evolution itself. Even BEHE, the supposed prophet of the new ID mythology (using terms like irreducible complexity) conceded the consept of common descent. A fundamental plank in evolution, that.

If ID is a science, it must have a hypothesis, yes? What is it? How do we test it? But, no. Why? Because it would open the hypothesis to being DISproven, and one thing a Bible thumper cannot have happen is to show any portion of the Bible to be in error. And that is, after all, what will be the basis of the hypothesis.

Cantankerous Bitch said...

I have yet to listen, but here's a link
to a debate between Richard Dawkins and George Gilder. It's alleged to be a thing of beauty.

Bill Ziemer said...

I was talking to a former middle school teacher that had moved (fled) from Kansas. She was saying that the policy is merely a reflection of the current reality in the classroom. When she teaches the e-word, a full third of the class puts their heads down and covers their ears, on orders from their parents. Incredible.

Officious Pedant said...

You know what makes that most telling, Bill? The fact that they premise the entire argument for ID on the idea that it's a competing theory, but rather than have their kids argue from that competing "theory", they have them ignore the competition.

What do they call that, again? The "La la la la, I'm not listening to you" school of argumentation?

Cantankerous Bitch said...

Given the results of a 2001 National Science Foundation survey of "average adults", I shouldn't be surprised.

Evidently, 25% of them believe the sun revolves around the earth.