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Archive for Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Science teachers pan new standards

Guidelines violate church-state separation, association believes

February 14, 2006

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— Kansas science teachers have struck a defiant stance against the science standards adopted by the State Board of Education.

The Kansas Association of Teachers of Science believe the science standards violate the separation of religion and government by promoting the teaching in public school science classes of intelligent design, an idea that science shows the existence of a creator.

"By redefining science in the Kansas Science Education Standards, the KSBE is promoting intelligent design tenets that purport supernatural explanations as valid scientific theories," the association said Monday.

In November, the State Board of Education voted 6-4 for science standards that criticize evolution. The decision came after months of often contentious debate.

The association urges science teachers to continue to "not attribute natural phenomena to supernatural causation" and to teach students about the evidence for evolutionary theory and refute the "so-called evidence against evolution."

Lawrence school officials have indicated that evolution would continue to be taught.

Statewide tests based on the new science standards will not take effect until 2008.

Lynda Allen, director of math and science for the Lawrence school district, said if the new standards remained in place, then at some point school officials would have to confront some of the changes.

But, she added, later this year a new board majority could be elected and change the standards back to those supportive of evolution.

"There are a lot of uncertainties," Allen said.

The association said the Education Board was irresponsible for ignoring mainstream scientists and "substituting its own religiously motivated agenda." It called on the board to not include items related to the disputed portions of the standards on statewide science tests.

It also said the standards conflicted with the state's efforts to increase bioscience research.

Education Board Chairman Steve Abrams, a Republican from Arkansas City, led the charge to enact the standards, and defended them.

He said on Monday that the science teachers association was basing its assertions on a false premise.

"It's ridiculous to even think that we are suggesting that science ought to be based upon the supernatural," Abrams said. "Science ought to be based on what is empirical science - what is observable, measurable, testable, repeatable and falsifiable."

Abrams said the science standards were sound, and he indicated it was late for complaints. Referring to hearings on the standards, he said, "We asked evolutionists to come testify. They refused. If they wanted to have something to say they had an opportunity, and they didn't," he said.

At the time of the hearings in May, mainstream scientists boycotted the proceedings because they said they didn't want to give any credence to intelligent design.

Education Board member Bill Wagnon, a Democrat from Topeka whose district includes Lawrence, said he was glad to see the science teachers taking a stand.

"They are being professionally responsible," said Wagnon, who voted against the science standards.

Comments

fossilhunter 8 years, 10 months ago

Abrams came right out and said - it's either creationism or evolution. Choose one. How can he say the teachers are ridiculous?

Kodiac 8 years, 10 months ago

Abrams is lying when he says "It's ridiculous to even think that we are suggesting that science ought to be based upon the supernatural," Abrams said. "Science ought to be based on what is empirical science - what is observable, measurable, testable, repeatable and falsifiable." Abrams and his cohorts have the term "irreducible complexity" in the standards. I want him to sit there and tell me how that term is based on empirical science. He cannot because he is lying. It amazes me how he can stand up there and lie like that and call himself a christian.

mcoan 8 years, 10 months ago

"Science ought to be based on what is empirical science - what is observable, measurable, testable, repeatable and falsifiable."

Atually, I'm pretty sure science should NOT be falsifiable. You don't want scientists falsifing the empirical evidence...it leads to all kinds of problems.

Or am I misreading something here?

Kansas continues to be the laughingstock of the world because of this issue. And the governor won't stand up to Extreme Right and call them what they are. Consequently, there will be NO economic development here. "Will the last scientist to leave Kansas, please turn out the lights?"

badger 8 years, 10 months ago

mcoan -

She's made it clear that the BoE is an elected body, and as such she has no control over what they do or say. She has veto power over Congress, and no one else. She's publicly stated that she disagrees with their postion but accepts that they are acting within their authority (because they are). Besides, she can't 'stand up' to the Extreme Right (I assume you mean telling them off and kicking them out of the state?) because they, like those who agree with her, are her constituents.

A good politician doesn't just govern the people who agree with her. That 'Extreme Right' accounts for a fair percentage of the people in this state, and as much as I disagree with them, they don't deserve to be dismissed or disrespected by government just because they're whackjobs. They're whackjobs who vote and pay taxes, and that puts them ahead of a lot of the people who make demands about what government should do.

Even loonies deserve representative government. And if the rational portion of the population can't get off its overstuffed sofas to counteract the loonies (and I won't believe that everyone who complains about the handiwork of the 'Extreme Right' or the 'Loony Left' actually voted until I see voter turnout at 70% of eligible adults), then we deserve the representation that the involved and organized lunatic fringe gives us.

aeroscout17 8 years, 10 months ago

"Will the last scientist to leave Kansas, please turn out the lights?"

Too late, we are already in the dark! ;)

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 10 months ago

What most don't realize is that the idea of intelligent design creationism has been considered by science and has been rejected. Even if it was a real scientific hypothesis which could be tested (which it isn't), the facts just don't support the notion.

ID creationism is simply wishful thinking on the part of those who want desperately for reality to match their dogma.

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