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Study: Evolution Gains Bigger Foothold in Science Standards

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Evolution is being covered more extensively and better in state science standards than was true nearly a decade ago, according to a review of the standards in 50 states and the District of Columbia by the National Center for Science Education. But the reviewers are concerned that at the same time, "creationist jargon" has increasingly been included in science standards. My story on the review was just published at edweek.org.

Charles%20Darwin_LoC.jpg

Some may question if the reviewers are overly sensitive about what they deem to be "creationist jargon." The head of the Texas board of education, who voted for the new Texas science standards, by the way, says the reviewers are dead wrong in concluding that her state's standards contain creationist jargon.

One example of creationist jargon in the Texas standards, the report says, is that students are asked to "analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning the complexity of the cell."

But Anton Mates, a co-author of the 50-state review of how evolution is included in state science standards, contends that he and the other co-author are not reading too much into things.

"Creationists have become more sophisticated in their language," he said. "We're looking for language that allows teachers to bring in materials that attack evolution."

Photo credit: Library of Congress

3 Comments

Why do science teachers try to hide opposing viewpoints? There is a growing number of scientists who dispute the concept of macro-evolution. Why are teachers not allowed to point this out. why is "creationist jargon" taboo in the first place? Darwin himself pointed out flaws in his research, criteria that, if realized, would cause his theory to fail: much of that criteria has been realized, from the complexity of the cell through the theory of irreducible complexity. Besides, aren't schools SUPPOSED to be institutions of free thought? And shouldn't students be able to decide whether or not what is presented to them in these institutions is true or not. Darwin also presents the fact, in his book "The Descent of Man," that the black race is inferior to the white becaquse they are lower on the evolutionary scale. Should we teach this? Is racism merely a means to an end, the "survival of the fittest"? If we are all cosmic "accidents," as Darwinism suggests [note the "-ism"--this suggests philosophy, a wonderful psuedonym for "religion"], then how can we turn around and say that this racism is "wrong" since, within Darwinism, there is no other universal truth than that the cosmos is all that is, all that ever was, and all that ever will be? What does the NCSE fear? Why can't opposing views, views that are in fact supported by science, be discussed. Texas is right, California is wrong; this is why California's prisons are loaded. Teach people that they are animals, and they will act like animals, except that we are human, so we will act worse than the animals.

For the last five years of my full-time career, with the full knowledge (and dismay) of state and county school officials as well as the ACLU I demonstrated to my students that mathematics proves beyond the shadow of doubt that evolutionism is nonsense. The students saw that the evidence clearly shows that every item associated with humans, animals and plants are Intelligent Designs and Intelligent Design is science. I always let the students figure it out for themselves and allowed them to believe what they chose, but at least they were exposed to the scientific facts that extremists want to censor from the minds of public school students.

Evolutionists are bluffing when they say their beliefs are scientific. Be sure to look at the list of evolutionists who refuse the debate challenge from Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo. See the list at http://www.lifescienceprize.org/.

Why do science teachers try to hide opposing viewpoints?

A science teachers job is not to present everyone's viewpoint! It is to teach students what science is, how it works and what we have discovered using it!

There is a growing number of scientists who dispute the concept of macro-evolution.

Is this "growing number of scientists" anything like the Discovery Institutes list of "Scientific Dissent from Darwinism"? Do we really need to explain how that "list" does not actually say what you think it does and how completely irrelevant the list is? To truly understand how ridiculous the "growing number of scientists" argument is, take a moment to peruse the Project Steve list!

why is "creationist jargon" taboo in the first place?

Because it is unconstitutional.

Darwin himself pointed out flaws in his research, criteria that, if realized, would cause his theory to fail: much of that criteria has been realized, from the complexity of the cell through the theory of irreducible complexity.

Darwin is not the end all be all of our understanding of evolution. His was merely the strongest beginning. Arguing that Darwin was wrong about some details (he definitely was), has nothing to do with understanding what we know about evolution today! BTW: There is no such thing as "the theory of irreducible complexity". There is merely a notion entertained by some people searching for some way around rulings made by the US Supreme Court banning the inclusion of religious teachings in public schools.

Besides, aren't schools SUPPOSED to be institutions of free thought? And shouldn't students be able to decide whether or not what is presented to them in these institutions is true or not.

A high school student with only a week's worth of instruction is supposed to be able to determine whether or not evolution is true? Should we allow chemistry students the same option as to concerns on the existence of atoms? What about physics students deciding whether or not relativity is true? Or even gravity!

Darwin also presents the fact, in his book "The Descent of Man," that the black race is inferior to the white becaquse they are lower on the evolutionary scale. Should we teach this? Is racism merely a means to an end, the "survival of the fittest"?

Again, you are arguing against the inclusion of ideas that were demonstrated to be wrong decades ago! Those ideas are NOT included in our current evolutionary theory.

If we are all cosmic "accidents," as Darwinism suggests [note the "-ism"--this suggests philosophy, a wonderful psuedonym for "religion"], then how can we turn around and say that this racism is "wrong" since, within Darwinism, there is no other universal truth than that the cosmos is all that is, all that ever was, and all that ever will be?

Your complete lack of understanding of what evolutionary theory actually is is not an argument against the teaching of the actual theory to students. Put simply, you have no idea what you are talking about here.

Science is not about the search for "Truth" in the philosophical sense. Science is simply the best tool we have for figuring out how the universe works.

What does the NCSE fear?

They fear that the US Constitution will be trampled. They fear that US students will be denied understanding of one of the most important scientific ideas to ever come along. They fear that a society increasing dependent on the products of science being run by people with an increasing ignorance of what that science is.

Why can't opposing views, views that are in fact supported by science, be discussed.

As soon as the creationists get around to producing some actual scientific explanations that can withstand the standard vigor of confirmation and testing, some "opposing views" might become appropriate for high school science classes. However, press releases, blogs, and letters to the editor do not constitute actual research.

Texas is right, California is wrong; this is why California's prisons are loaded. Teach people that they are animals, and they will act like animals, except that we are human, so we will act worse than the animals.

Seriously? This is the level of your understanding of biology and sociology? I'd say it's far past time that more science instruction make it into our classrooms, if only to reduce the chances that someone in the future might make such monumentally naive statements.

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