Kansas 2005: Have a look see

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If you would like to see what the Intelligent Design folks want to do to the state science standards in Kansas, you’re in luck! They have kindly posted their suggested revisions right here on the Intelligent Design Network website, and on the slick new Kansasscience2005.com website (look, there’s a picture of a student looking through a microscope, it must be scientific!)

A representative quote:

[The passage first quotes the mission statement of the science standards, and suggests that the bolded words be added: “Kansas science education contributes to the preparation of all students as lifelong learners who can use science to make informed and reasoned decisions that contribute to their local, state, national and international communities.” ]

Explanation: This two-word change perhaps reflects the core of the controversy between Proponents and Opponents. Opponents seek to significantly limit the amount of scientific information provided to students about the most fundamental question humanity may address - What is the origin of life and its diversity? Where do we come from? They would narrow the scope of information to that which will not contradict the naturalistic claim that life is adequately explained by chance interactions of matter according to the laws of physics and chemistry. This philosophy allows only “natural” or mechanistic material causes for the origin and diversity of life. It requires that evidence and criticisms that challenge Darwinian evolution (the primary theory that supports the philosophy of Naturalism) not be permitted.

It is reasonable to expect that this viewpoint discrimination will necessarily have the effect of causing students to reach an uninformed, but “reasoned” decision that they, and all other human beings, are merely natural occurrences, accidents of nature that lack intrinsic purpose. The proponents do not believe that this is a correct deduction to draw from current science evidence. For reasons explained elsewhere, we believe that limiting the mix of information not only does violence to good science, but it will tend to indoctrinate rather than to inform and educate.

That’s right, the statement:

“Kansas science education contributes to the preparation of all students as lifelong learners who can use science to make reasoned decisions that contribute to their local, state, national and international communities.”

…is actually disguised hard-core philosophical Naturalism (with a capital N), such that the statement must be changed along with a great deal of the rest of science standards! If it’s not changed, the spiritual consequences could be catastrophic:

It is reasonable to expect that this viewpoint discrimination will necessarily have the effect of causing students to reach an uninformed, but “reasoned’ decision that they, and all other human beings, are merely natural occurrences, accidents of nature that lack intrinsic purpose.

Yep, the intelligent design network is really all about science and objectivity, isn’t it? It is worth checking out what John Calvert, the founder of IDNet and apparently the representative of the folks arguing for ID, said to a different audience a few years back.

Readers should feel free to find their own bits of weirdness in the ID-proposed revisions to the standards and post them in this thread. If anyone can find anyplace where the draft science standards teach the religio-philosophical view that humans are “accidents of nature that lack intrinsic purpose”, I’ll eat my hat.

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Panda's Thumb notices something interesting about the proposed changes to Kansas' science standards: [The passage first quotes the mission statement... Read More

Panda's Thumb notices something interesting about the proposed changes to Kansas' science standards: [The passage first quotes the mission statement... Read More

22 Comments

Oh the irony that Idas (“intelligent design” activists) think that they have the scientifically informed position.

“He got this big grin on his face,” Kyndel told Family Voice. Then the professor belittled Christianity and Biblical creationism, and Kyndel decided to join the fray. Before more than 400 of her peers, she challenged her professor.

She discussed the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics (energy can neither be created nor destroyed; everything tends toward disorder) and the law of biogenesis—life cannot arise from non-life. By the end of the conversation, the professor was speechless. “I don’t really have an answer to what you’re saying right now,” he said.

“Professors aren’t used to Christians backing arguments with science,” said Kyndel. Many students and teachers are realizing science is not at war with religion; rather it is in partnership with it. As knowledge grows, that connection becomes stronger. “When you get challenged,” Kyndel commented, “it encourages you to find out more about science.”

LOL

I do own a hat, I tell you! I’ve even got a hat with stuffed-animal-type fish sticking out of it. It looks kind of like this one:

http://www.villagehatshop.com/product1247.html

(and, did you know that a google image search on fish hat turns up 2,480 hits?)

Here is a news story from today on this:

Posted on Sun, Dec. 12, 2004

Evolution debate is poised to reappear

As the State Board of Education regains a conservative majority, science teaching standards come up for regular review.

BY JOSH FUNK

The Wichita Eagle

[sections] Evolution debate is poised to reappear Conservative concerns An alternate view Contentious history HOW TO COMMENT ON STATE SCIENCE STANDARDS

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 13, column 55, byte 1508 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

Reed A. Cartwright Wrote:

LOL

I wonder if this is the same professor on the airplane that got dusted by Kent Hovind?? LOL

William s. Harris appears to be the leading pseudoscientist on the science standards committee. What do people know about him?

Re: genetic drift as part of natural selection – yep, that’s a straight-up error in the “improvements”, as far as I can tell. Probably due to unfamiliarity with evolution (which they are sure is wrong).

Another story: Kansas board again taking up evolution

The report includes a three-page cover letter to the board signed by committee member William Harris, a medical school professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and 23 pages of proposed revisions. Harris referred questions to John Calvert, a founder of Intelligent Design Network Inc., a nonprofit group that seeks objectivity in origins science.

Calvert issued a statement Friday that said the proposed revisions in the minority report “encourage the teaching of origins science consistent with the nature of scientific inquiry.”

The minority report supports the teaching of evolution and does not advocate the teaching of intelligent design. However, it suggests that teachers be allowed to address scientific alternatives.

Case said that those who signed the minority report “are trying to take little bitty steps to change the nature of science so that their philosophy can be introduced” and that that philosophy is intelligent design.

My first comment: Instead of identifying these folks as religious conservatives, would it be more useful to ID them as religious fundamentalists?

Harris’ prayer paper is a joke.

Here’s an experiment: put a random integer generator in each of three rooms.

In room 1, include nothing additional.

In room 2, people will pray “God, please let the number be even” for five hours a day for 1 month.

In room 3, the same people will pray “God please let the number be odd” for five hours a day for 1 month.

Tabulate results. Publish results on front page of every major newspaper: PRAYER HAS NO DETECTABLE EFFECT ON REALITY.

Then watch the fundies write letters explaining why the experiment wasn’t valid.

Then publish another paper evaluating the letters, entitled: FUNDIES REMAIN CLUELESS ABOUT DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SCIENCE AND RELIGION

Hmmm. So the ~strongest~ criticism y’all can come up with so far, regarding the suggested Kansas modifications, is that the phrase “genetic drift” maybe ought to be excised from that one little specific sub-point. Hmmm again.

Honestly, this time around, the whole thing looks like a solid, savvy, science-minded list of suggested modifications, a total quantum-leap better than those that were offered in 1999.

Further, the 26-member state science committee has 8 known members who say that it isn’t arguing in favor of teaching the idea of intelligent design, but that teachers should be free to discuss such alternative ideas. So it’s not like the committee is monolithic for naturalistic evolution.

Given that kind of cautious, thoughtful positioning on the part of those seeking change, it’s gonna be a little more difficult for evolutionists to get away with the stuff they did in 1999. Just an itty bitty wee tad bit more difficult, ~this~ time around.

If the folks in Dover had been willing to learn from Ohio and do it carefully like with Kansas, they wouldn’t now be facing an ACLU lawsuit guaranteed to exploit the obvious chinks in their armor in front of a judge. But, c’est la vie. Some people just gotta have it their way.

Anyway, this looks like some good opening stuff in Kansas. Clearly lessons have been learned, and we’ll just have to stay tuned.

FL

FL wrote

Anyway, this looks like some good opening stuff in Kansas. Clearly lessons have been learned, and we’ll just have to stay tuned.

The lesson being the same that motivated the ‘design’ of Intelligent Design Creationism, namely, hide your agenda a little better and use neutral-appearing language. I’ll be looking for an “as applied” case in Ohio and perhaps in Kansas if and when their standards are altered along the lines of the minority’s revisions.

RBH

teachers should be free to discuss such alternative ideas.

And free to disparage them ruthlessly. As we’ve pointed out, if we’re talking designers with supernatural powers, then multiple designers make just as much sense as a solitary designer.

Which one of those multiple designers horsewhips the Christian God into operating the rain and wind machines on earth? I’m guessing Ploink Ploink is involved.

And don’t forget the Digestocreative Theory for the origin of all life forms on earth.

And the Popol Vuh.

Oh, there will be work for First Amendment lawyers in Kansas for as long as there are ignorant rubes like you, FL.

FL Wrote:

Hmmm. So the ~strongest~ criticism y’all can come up with so far, regarding the suggested Kansas modifications, is that the phrase “genetic drift” maybe ought to be excised from that one little specific sub-point. Hmmm again.

You’re right. The “strongest” criticism of the proposed changes so far is an obvious error that would have been avoided by anyone familiar with evolutionary science. And you refer to this as “good opening stuff.” Hmmm indeed.

FL Wrote:

Given that kind of cautious, thoughtful positioning on the part of those seeking change, it’s gonna be a little more difficult for evolutionists to get away with the stuff they did in 1999.

What exactly did evolutionists “get away with” in 1999? I seems to me that it was the creationist KSBE members that “got away with” stuff, like removing everything from the standards that conflicted with a literal interpretation of Genesis.

GWW wrote

As we’ve pointed out, if we’re talking designers with supernatural powers, then multiple designers make just as much sense as a solitary designer.

More sense.

RBH

I’ve noticed another interesting thing about the suggested revisions to Draft 1 of Kansas Science Standards. This shows up on page 10 in one of the the “Explanation” sections.

Kenneth Miller, a cell biologist and professor of biology, notes that: “Unfortunately there is a school of thought that rejects the very idea that any theory about the past can be scientific.” According to this theory “Science is based on experiment and direct, testable observation…”

In these two sentences, the “revisionists” use two different meanings for the word “theory.” In the first sentence, they quote Miller as he uses the term to refer to scientific explanations. In the second, they use the term colloquially to refer to a “school of thought.” It makes you wonder if they know the difference.

It is reasonable to expect that this viewpoint discrimination will necessarily have the effect of causing students to reach an uninformed, but “reasoned’ decision that they, and all other human beings, are merely natural occurrences, accidents of nature that lack intrinsic purpose.

The more I read this garbage, the more baffled I become.

Look at the strange syntax: “It is reasonable to expect …”

followed by “will necessarily … caus[e]…”

Is it “reasonable” to expect that teaching students a scientific fact about how the diverse life forms on earth arose will “necessarily” (i.e., automatically, inevitably”) lead students to believe that they lack an “intrinsic purpose”?

I submit that only a brainwashed fundamentalist would ever “expect” such a conclusion to “inevitably” flow from a one hour biology lecture.

Frankly, such an inevitable causation theory is far from “reasaonble”. It’s fxcked-up wacky is what it is.

Compare the “reasonableness” of expecting an “inevitable” causation from a biology lecture versus the “reasonableness” of expecting the same result from, say, reading a book by Mark Twain or Vonnegut’s ‘Cat’s Cradle’. The latter seem far more likely to inevitably cause a young human brain to realize that human beings (especially conservative fundamentalists) are more or less pure shit.

The more I read the quote the more baffled I become. “It is reasonable to expect …”

If I may be permitted toask the ancient question: “You!!! What planet is this??!!!”

Since FL wasn’t satisfied with the silliness in the last offerings of IDNet-proposed changes in the standards, how about page 1, point 2:

2. Revisions to 8th Grade Standard 3, BM 5 (dealing with evolution) and Standard 4, BM 2, dealing with earth sciences (page 7). A minor addition makes it clear that evolution is a theory, and not a fact.

FL bragged that “lessons had been learned” in the ID camp (about how to sneak around court decisions, I guess). They haven’t learned much if “theory not fact” is in there, this is a classic creationist/ID shibboleth going back decades.

“Theory not fact” is also in the Dover Area School Board policy that has just been challenged. The problems with “theory not fact” were explained in the ACLU FAQ on ID, as well as numerous other places such as “What’s Wrong with “Theory not Fact” Resolutions” at NCSE, and Evolution is a Fact and a Theory at TalkOrigins.

Since it apparently needs saying yet again, the scientific definition of the word “theory” is much different than the popular meaning. “Theory” means basically “guess” in popular language (this is how creationists/ID advocates want to portray evolution), but in science “theory” means basically “systematic, well-tested explanation.”

ACLU FAQ:

Is evolution “just” a theory? No. Calling evolution a theory, not a fact, as in the Dover policy, exploits the common definition of “theory” as a hunch or a guess. In science, however, a theory is a systematic explanation of phenomena. The National Academy of Sciences has said that, “evolution is one of the strongest and most useful scientific theories we have.” And National Geographic wrote in November 2004 that “the evidence for evolution is overwhelming.”

2. Revisions to 8th Grade Standard 3, BM 5 (dealing with evolution) and Standard 4, BM 2, dealing with earth sciences (page 7). A minor addition makes it clear that evolution is a theory, and not a fact.

According to a recent essay by Mark Hartwig, when it comes to evolution, we should call a theory a theory. I agree.

Details here:

http://www.arn.org/blogs/index.php/[…]ory_a_theory

FL Wrote:

According to a recent essay by Mark Hartwig, when it comes to evolution, we should call a theory a theory. I agree.

When it comes to the body of evidence supporting evolutionary theory, we should call the facts the facts. Do you also agree?

The scientific evidence is what scientists are referring to when they say evolution is a fact.

The issue here is that a large group of people don’t know that the words “theory” and “fact” have a different meaning in science than they do in everyday language. The IDNet “revisionists” are either part of this group or they are exploiting this common misunderstanding for political gain.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on December 12, 2004 5:29 PM.

Icons of ID: And the Wedge continues was the previous entry in this blog.

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