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Archive for Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Science standards face review by Kansas school board

June 12, 2012

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— The Kansas State Board of Education is preparing to review the first draft of proposed science standards that could renew the debate over teaching evolution.

The standards on the board's Tuesday afternoon agenda are being drafted by 26 states, including Kansas, along with the National Research Council. The goal is to create guidelines that can be used by all states, and Kansas is likely to consider whether to adopt them next year.

State Board of Education member Ken Willard, a Republican from Hutchinson, said last week he considers the initial draft problematic. That document was released in May and describes evolution as a well-established, core scientific concept.

Kansas has switched multiple times between standards expressing skepticism about the theory and evolution-friendly guidelines like the ones now in place.

Comments

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

Is Creationism correctable?: No. Creationism professes to be the absolute Truth, not a provisional assessment of data which can change when new information is discovered. When you believe that you already have the Truth, there is no possibility of future correction and no reason to look for more data. The only real changes which have occurred in the creationist movement is to try and push the biblical arguments further and further into the background in order to make creationism look more and more scientific.

Does Creationism follow the scientific method?: No. First, the hypothesis/solution is not based on analysis and observation of the empirical world - rather, it comes directly from the Bible. Second, as there is no way to test the theory, creationism cannot follow the scientific method because testing is a fundamental component of the method. =================================================================== The bottom line:

Do Creationists think Creationism is science?: Even prominent creationists like Henry Morris and Duane Gish (who pretty much created scientific creationism) admit that creationism is not scientific in creationist literature. In Biblical Cosmology and Modern Science, Morris, while discussing catastrophism and the Noachic flood, says:

  “We cannot verify this experimentally, of course, any more than any of the various other theories of catastrophism [e.g. Velikovsky], but we do not need experimental verification; God has recorded it in His Word, and that should be sufficient.”

This is a statement of religious faith, not a statement of scientific discovery.

Even more revealing, Duane Gish in Evolution? The Fossils Say No! writes:

  “We do not know how the Creator created, [or] what processes He used, for He used processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural universe. This is why we refer to creation as special creation. We cannot discover by scientific investigation anything about the creative processes used by the Creator.”

So, even leading creationists basically admit that creationism is not testable and clearly state that biblical revelation is the source (and “verification”) of their ideas. If Creationism is not considered scientific by the movement’s own leading figures, then how can anyone else be expected to take it seriously as a science?

http://atheism.about.com/od/creationismcreationists/p/scientific.htm

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

About Creationism?

Is Creationism logically consistent?: Creationism is usually internally consistent and logical within the religious framework in which it operates. The major problem with its consistency is that creationism has no defined boundaries: there is no clear way to say that any particular piece of data is relevant or not to the task verifying or falsifying creationism. When you deal with the non-understood supernatural, anything is possible; one consequence of this is that no tests for creationism can really be said to matter.

Is Creationism parsimonious?: No. Creationism fails the test of Occam’s razor because adding supernatural entities to the equation when they are not strictly necessary to explain events violates the principle of parsimony. This principle is important because it is so easy for extraneous ideas to slip into theories, ultimately confusing the issue. The simplest explanation may not always be the most accurate, but it is preferable unless very good reasons are offered

Is Creationism useful?: To be “useful” in science means that a theory explains and describes natural phenomena, but creationism is not able to explain and describe events in nature. For example, creationism cannot explain why genetic changes are limited to microevolution within species and don’t become macroevolution. A true explanation expands our knowledge and understanding of events, but saying that “God did it” in some mysterious and miraculous way for unknown reasons fails in this.

Is Creationism empirically testable?: No, creationism is not testable because creationism violates a basic premise of science, naturalism. Creationism relies on supernatural entities which are not only not testable, but are not even describable. Creationism provides no model that can be used for making predictions, it provides no scientific problems for scientists to work on, and does not provide a paradigm for solving other problems unless you consider “God did it” to be a satisfactory explanation for everything.

Is Creationism based upon controlled, repeatable experiments?: No experiments have ever been performed that either demonstrate the truth of Creationism or suggest that evolutionary theory is fundamentally flawed. Creationism did not originate out of a series of experiments that produced anomalous results, something that has occurred in science. Creationism has, instead, developed out of the religious beliefs of fundamentalist and evangelical Christians in America. Leading Creationists have always been open about this fact.

http://atheism.about.com/od/creationismcreationists/p/scientific.htm

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NewtonJamie 1 year, 10 months ago

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md 1 year, 10 months ago

We shall know at the end

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tange 1 year, 10 months ago

Pondering evolution in the never-ending now.

/ did the me who began that sentence punctuate it?

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beatrice 1 year, 10 months ago

If evolution in schools is outlawed, then only outlaws will be able to pass college entrance exams.

Umm ... maybe I didn't get that one quite right. Let me try some others.

In Kansas, friends don't let friends evolve.

This is your brain. This is your brain on evolution.

Only YOU can prevent evolution.

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beatrice 1 year, 10 months ago

Forcing scientists to ignore evolution? I thought rulings based on Sharia Law are illegal in Kansas.

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question4u 1 year, 10 months ago

Only hypotheses, not theories, are tested. Arthur Eddington didn't test the theory of relativity. He tested Einstein's hypothesis that the sun's gravity could deflect grazing rays of light by roughly 1.75 arc-seconds. The result was consistent with Einstein's theory. Was Eddington a scientist and Einstein not? Was Einstein's prediction science but his reason for making the prediction not science? Should we not teach the theory of relativity in schools because it isn't testable in itself but can only be supported or undermined by testing hypotheses?

The Miller-Urey experiment tested the Oparin and Haldane hypothesis, which was formed in response to evolutionary theory. The experiment was science, and the hypothesis was science. Does it really seem reasonable to say that the theory that prompted the hypothesis is not science? Would it make sense to teach students about the Miller-Urey experiment and not about the evolutionary theory that caused Oparin and Haldane to form their hypothesis?

There is no logical reason to omit evolutionary theory from science classes unless you believe that the theory of relativity should not be taught in science classes. By the same token, there would be no legitimate reason to omit creationism from science classes if there were a significant number of scientists forming hypotheses in response to the Biblical story of creation and acquiring new and significant knowledge by testing those hypotheses.

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JackMcKee 1 year, 10 months ago

I would like to thank Devo for making the entire LJWorld website a little dumber. I think he spent too much time at the creation museum looking at Jesus on the back if a triceratops.

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yourworstnightmare 1 year, 10 months ago

How could evolution be refuted. By a thousand thousand ways.

Examples: if radiocarbon dating and all of geological science conludes that the earth is not 4 billion years old but, say, 6000.

If fossils of T rex were found in the same geological strata and of the same radiocarbon dating age as human fossils.

If fossils of all extinct and extant animals were found to be of the same age.

If human genes were distinct from genes of other species, and if fly genes did not work in humans.

If genetic change and differences did not correlate precisely with the fossil record and geologic data about the history of life on earth.

There are thousands more. Evolution could be easily refuted. It has not been. In fact, the theory is strengthened the more we test it.

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MontgomeryMia 1 year, 10 months ago

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Fossick 1 year, 10 months ago

"Yourworstnightmare: "So, you advocate that scientists should just ignore the fossil record and ignore stars and galaxies? Some scientist."

Not taking sides, but I've a question for you: Is history science? I'm of the opinion* that it's not, though there are some who try to make it so. And I'm of the opinion that it's not a science mostly because it's not testable. We gather data and make a logical case for why something was one way and not another, but we are not really testing anything in a rigorous, controlled, scientific manner.

If history is not a science, is archaeology a science? I'm of the opinion that it's not, and for the same reason. We can gather evidence and we can make inferences, but what we are doing is applying logic and interpretation to data. But that's not really on the level of chemistry or physics, which are actual, real sciences. The results are less trustworthy in direct proportion to how little we can test.

If archaeology is not a science, is paleo-anthropology a science? If so, what differentiates it from archaeology and history?

I'm curious as to where you draw your cutoff between "science" and "systematic study," if there is one.

  • And it's not just an opinion, I'm a trained historian (award winning, even) though I'm not a professional one.
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Randall Uhrich 1 year, 10 months ago

I'd like to see the opponents of teaching evolution to offer any kind of proof that evolution hasn't occurred. What is it about the difinition of 'science' that they don't understand? I can't believe that these chowderheads actually got elected to office. Also, it's unfortunate that 'theory' has been used to described evolution. It confuses the ignorant. Perhaps we should call it the 'observed process' of evolution.

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yourworstnightmare 1 year, 10 months ago

Devo, you know as well as I how theories are tested.

Theories are tested by making hypotheses based on the theory and then doing experiments to test the hypothesis. Failure to refute the hypothesis, based on the thoery, is a test of the theory itself.

You also know as well as I that "observational" science also tests hypotheses and thus theories, but it relies on making predictions about what one expects to observe or not if the hypothesis and thus the theory is correct.

Devo, you are a science denier who masquerades as a scientist.

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Ken Lassman 1 year, 10 months ago

Just to throw a total wrench into the reporting on this topic and the ensuing discussion, I thought I'd provide a link to the science framework being discussed:

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13165&page=1

Sorry in advance for subversively providing access to the document in question and thinking that this might actually be relevant to considering and discussing the topic.

Which, by the way, looks pretty darned good to me at first glance. Seems like the goal is to actually come to some kind of understanding of what science is and what science has learned about the universe we are a part of. Talk about being subversive....

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yourworstnightmare 1 year, 10 months ago

It is a simple lie that evolution is untestable. It is tested all of the time by thousands of scientists worldwide for 160 years now.

Evolution has survived three scientific revolutions: mendelian genetics, molecular genetics, and genomics, and it has come away stronger and with more explanatory power. This is why scientists are so convinced that evolution is a core scientific concept, maybe the scientific concept.

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blindrabbit 1 year, 10 months ago

To clear up this mess once and for all, I suggest we bring back the 6 conservative, bible-thumping Board of Education ostrichs that voted in the Creationist consideration back in 2004/2005. Fortunately, more intelligent heads prevailed in 2007, and tossed out their B.S. agenda. Kansas needs more bad publicity, now with Gov. stumping on the abortion issue in Virginia, Herr Kobach messing with the voters, and the Koch-a-Kolas buying the elections.

Remember them; how could you forget! Dr. Steve Abrams John Bacon Kathy Martin Connie Morris Iris VanMeter Ken Willard

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JackMcKee 1 year, 10 months ago

How does one graduate from high school, much less become a State School Board Member without understanding basic scientific principles? I'm not even talking evolution here, I'm talking the absolute basics: observation, testing, hypothesis, theory, law.

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Ragingbear 1 year, 10 months ago

Kansas Schooling: Derp, Derp, Depity Derp, Creationism, Derp, GOOOOOOOOD, Derpity doo, derp derp Gays are bad, derp derp.

There. That took me like 20 seconds. Why is it taking the school board so long to come to the same exact conclusion?

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Alyosha 1 year, 10 months ago

The operative phrase should be "science standards." Knowledge should be the only goal — not coddling insecure people's unexamined and unenlightened beliefs.

If you're not a scientist, you have no business refining science standards. Unless religious folks allow atheists to determine religion standards for sunday school, or animal abusers to determine animal shelter standards, anti-science folks should respectfully be shown the door when attempting to control what science standards are to be taught.

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