News items, all on Kansas, with my comments in square brackets.
Since Sunday November 6, my postings are not appearing on CED's front page , presumably due to a Blogger database failure. The missing posts do appear on CED's archives page (including a duplicate and a test post which I cannot remove). I have let Blogger Support know (repeatedly but with no response to date) and I will just keep posting in anticipation of the problem being fixed eventually.
Kansas school board redefines science: New standards question accuracy of evolutionary theory , CNN , November 8, 2005 ... TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) -- At the risk of re-igniting the same heated nationwide debate it sparked six years ago, the Kansas Board of Education approved new public school science standards Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution. The 6-4 vote was a victory for "intelligent design" advocates who helped draft the standards. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power. Critics of the language charged that it was an attempt to inject God and creationism into public schools in violation of the separation of church and state. All six of those who voted for the standards were Republicans. Two Republicans and two Democrats voted against them. "This is a sad day. We're becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that," said board member Janet Waugh, a Kansas City Democrat. Supporters of the standards said they will promote academic freedom. "It gets rid of a lot of dogma that's being taught in the classroom today," said board member John Bacon, an Olathe Republican. The standards state that high school students must understand major evolutionary concepts. But they also declare that some concepts have been challenged in recent years by fossil evidence and molecular biology. The challenged concepts cited include the basic Darwinian theory that all life had a common origin and the theory that natural chemical processes created the building blocks of life. In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena. The standards will be used to develop student tests measuring how well schools teach science. Decisions about what is taught in classrooms will remain with 300 local school boards, but some educators fear pressure will increase in some communities to teach less about evolution or more about intelligent design. ... The vote marked the third time in six years that the Kansas board has rewritten standards with evolution as the central issue. In 1999, the board eliminated most references to evolution, a move Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould said was akin to teaching "American history without Lincoln." Two years later, after voters replaced three members, the board reverted to evolution-friendly standards. Elections in 2002 and 2004 changed the board's composition again, making it more conservative. Many scientists and other critics contend creationists repackaged old ideas in scientific-sounding language to get around a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1987 that banned teaching the biblical story of creation in public schools. The Kansas board's action is part of a national debate. ... [I will comment on the results of the Dover election in my next post. The headline "Kansas school board redefines science" ignores the fact that the Darwinists had first redefined science as applied naturalistic philosophy, and the KBoE is just undoing that question-begging redefinition: Also, it is false that "Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power". All intelligent design holds is that there is empirically detectable evidence for design in nature. It is also false to claim that changing the Darwinists' question-begging definition of science that it was "limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena" is "an attempt to inject God and creationism into public schools in violation of the separation of church and state". All that the new wording does is prevent the Darwinists from setting up a question-begging fallacy definition of "science" that allows only naturalistic explanations, so making evolution the only permitted explanation, irrespective of the evidence. Now in Kansas, Darwinists will have to argue their case on the basis of the evidence alone. As for Kansas "becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world" Ms Waugh should note the opinion polls, which consistently show that most people in the USA (and probably elsewhere) think that the "the standard scientific theory that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process'" (which is what the Darwinists want the science standards to reflect) is wrong:
"Facing such a reality, perhaps we should not be surprised at the results of a 2001 Gallup poll confirming that 45 percent of Americans believe `God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so'; 37 percent prefer a blended belief that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process'; and a paltry 12 percent accept the standard scientific theory that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.'" (Shermer M.B., "The Gradual Illumination of the Mind," Scientific American, February 2002. My emphasis).It is only the Darwinist propaganda that tries to manipulate the people of Kansas to feel that they are in the minority, when in fact it is the reverse is the case! It is also false, as I have pointed out before, that "In 1999, the board" did not "eliminate... most references to evolution", but in fact the 1999 KBoE actually increased by fivefold the curriculum content about evolution, it just was not the ninefold increase that the Darwinists' wanted. Finally, it is false that ID is "creationists repackaged old ideas in scientific-sounding language to get around a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1987 that banned teaching the biblical story of creation in public schools", because (for starters) the origin of ID predated the 1987 Edwards v. Aguillard decision. It seems the Darwinists work on Goebbels' principle of `repeat an untruth long enough and it becomes the truth'!]
Kansas School Board Votes Against Science, Livescience/AP, John Hanna, 08 November 2005 ... TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) _ Risking the kind of nationwide ridicule it faced six years ago, the Kansas Board of Education approved new public-school science standards Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution. .... "This is a sad day. We're becoming a laughingstock of not only the nation, but of the world, and I hate that,'' said board member Janet Waugh, a Kansas City Democrat. ... [Also at: MSNBC & BBC. This headline "Kansas School Board Votes Against Science", is the usual Darwinist apriori begging of the question that "science" is necessarily naturalistic, rather than following the evidence wherever it leads. Also, this Darwinist use of ridicule (and playing on the fear of it) is a form of the arumentum ad populum (appeal to the people) fallacy. I have added these is to my "Problems of Evolution" book outline, PE 2.4.15 "Fallacies used to support evolution ... Ad populum(appeal to the people)". However I disagree that it is "the ... Darwinian theory that all life had a common origin" (my emphasis). That is what the Darwinists want us all to believe, but in fact it was Lamarck who first proposed the scientific theory that all life had a common origin, as even Darwin admitted:
"Lamarck was the first man whose conclusions on the subject excited much attention. This justly celebrated naturalist first published his views in 1801; he much enlarged them in 1809 in his Philosophie Zoologique, and subsequently, in 1815, in the Introduction to his Hist. Nat. des Animaux sans Vertebres. In these works he upholds the doctrine that all species, including man, are descended from other species." (Darwin C.R., "The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," , Everyman's Library, J.M. Dent & Sons: London, 6th Edition, 1928, reprint, pp.7-8).To his credit, Sir Gavin de Beer, although a devout Darwinist, conceded in his biography of Darwin, that "Lamarck ... put forward a full theory of `transformism' or evolution, which he was the first to do, invoking descent of species during long periods of time from other species":
"It is for his Philosophie zoologique published in 1809 that Lamarck is remembered in the history of science. Confronted with the task of classifying the collections in the Paris Museum of Natural History, he experienced such difficulty in distinguishing between species and varieties of species that he concluded that there was no basic difference between them. He argued that if enough closely related species were studied together, differences between them could no longer be made out and they merged into one another. In fact this is not the case, because the barrier between species is always discernible even if very difficult to detect, but the appearance that species graded into one another led Lamarck to put forward a full theory of `transformism' or evolution, which he was the first to do, invoking descent of species during long periods of time from other species, so that the Animal Kingdom could be represented by a genealogy of branching lines, the last branch being that of man. Fossil organisms he thought had not become extinct but had been transmuted into their living descendants. (de Beer G., "Charles Darwin: Evolution by Natural Selection", Nelson: London, 1963, pp.5-6).Swedish biologist Lovtrup even states that "the theory ... of evolution, which today goes under the name of Darwinism ...ought to be called `Lamarckism'"!:
"Whether we trace back its history two millennia or two centuries, it will turn out that the notion of `evolution' was not Lamarck's creation. However, from the preceding discussion it appears that the authorities quoted at the head of the last section of this chapter are right: the theory on the reality of evolution, which today goes under the name of Darwinism, was first stated by Lamarck and ought to be called `Lamarckism', or still better Lamarck's first theory on evolution. ... We have seen that it follows from the theory on the reality of evolution that a classification of living organisms with respect to their phylogenetical affinities will depict the course of evolution. This was clearly realised by Lamarck who wrote: `The aim of a general arrangement of animals is not only to possess a convenient list for consulting, but it is more particularly to have an order in that list which represents as nearly as possible the actual order followed by nature in the production of animals; an order conspicuously indicated by the affinities which she has set between them' [Lamarck J.B., "Philosophie Zoologique," J. Cramer: Weinheim, Germany, 1960, Two volumes in one, p.56]" (Lovtrup S., "Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth," Croom Helm: London, 1987, pp.42-43. Emphasis original) ]
Kansas Board Approves Challenges to Evolution, The New York Times, Jodi Wilgoren, November 9, 2005 TOPEKA, Kan., Nov. 8 - The fiercely split Kansas Board of Education voted 6 to 4 on Tuesday to adopt new science standards that are the most far-reaching in the nation in challenging Darwin's theory of evolution in the classroom. The standards move beyond the broad mandate for critical analysis of evolution that four other states have established in recent years, by recommending that schools teach specific points that doubters of evolution use to undermine its primacy in science education. Among the most controversial changes was a redefinition of science itself, so that it would not be explicitly limited to natural explanations. The vote was a watershed victory for the emerging movement of intelligent design, which posits that nature alone cannot explain life's complexity. John G. West of the Discovery Institute, a conservative research organization that promotes intelligent design, said Kansas now had "the best science standards in the nation." A leading defender of evolution, Eugenie C. Scott of the National Center for Science Education, said she feared that the standards would become a "playbook for creationism." The vote came six years after Kansas shocked the scientific and political world by stripping its curriculum standards of virtually any mention of evolution, a move reversed in 2001 after voters ousted several conservative members of the education board. A new conservative majority took hold in 2004 and promptly revived arguments over the teaching of evolution. The ugly and highly personal nature of the debate was on display at the Tuesday meeting, where board members accused one other of dishonesty and disingenuousness. .... But supporters of the new standards said they were simply trying to open the curriculum, and students' minds, to alternative viewpoints. There is little debate among mainstream scientists over evolution's status as the bedrock of biology, but a small group of academics who support intelligent design have fervently pushed new critiques of Darwin's theory in recent years. Kenneth Willard, a board member from Hutchinson, said, "I'm very pleased to be maybe on the front edge of trying to bring some intellectual honesty and integrity to the science classroom rather than asking students to check their questions at the door because it is a challenge to the sanctity of evolution." Steve E. Abrams of Arkansas City, the board chairman and chief sponsor of the new standards, said that requiring consideration of evolution's critics "absolutely teaches more about science." The board approved the standards pending editing to comply with a demand from two national science groups that their copyrighted material be removed from the standards document because of its approach to evolution. When Sue Gamble, a board member opposed to the standards, questioned the wisdom of voting on an unfinished document, calling it "a pig in a poke," Mr. Abrams dismissed the concern, saying, "It's immaterial because you're not going to vote for it anyway." Indeed, when it was time to raise hands, the four self-described moderate board members cast nay ballots in unison. Their protest was echoed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, who called the vote "the latest in a series of troubling decisions" by the board. "If we're going to continue to bring high-tech jobs to Kansas and move our state forward," Ms. Sebelius said in a statement, "we need to strengthen science standards, not weaken them. Stronger public schools ought to be the mission of the Board of Education, and it's time they got down to the real business of strengthening Kansas schools." Kansas' move comes a week after the conclusion of a trial in which parents sued the school board in Dover, Pa., over the district's inclusion of intelligent design in the ninth-grade biology curriculum. The two debates have led a swell of evolution skirmishes in 20 states this year. Local school districts in Kansas, as in most states, choose textbooks and set the curriculum, but the standards provide a blueprint by outlining what will be covered on state science tests, given every other year in grades 4, 7 and 10. The new standards emerged as part of a routine review and would take effect in 2007, presuming next year's elections do not shift the balance on the board and result in another reversal. Though the standards do not specifically require or prohibit discussion of intelligent design, they adopt much of the movement's language, mentioning gaps in the fossil record and a lack of evidence for the "primordial soup" as ideas that students should consider. The other states that call for critical analysis of evolution - Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Pennsylvania - do so only in broad strokes, in some cases as part of a standard scientific process. "They've given a green light to any creationist throughout the state to bring these issues into the classroom," said Jack Krebs, a Kansas science teacher and dissenting member of the standards-writing committee. "Science teachers are not prepared for that discussion and don't want it, because they've got plenty of science to teach." John Calvert, a lawyer who runs the Intelligent Design Network, based in Kansas, praised the board as "taking a very courageous step" that would "make science education interesting to students rather than boring." In the standing-room-only crowd in the small board room for Tuesday's session were two dozen high school students fulfilling an assignment for government class by attending the public meeting. They shook their heads at the decision. "We're glad we're seniors," said Hannah Teeter, 17, from Shawnee Mission West .... "I feel bad for all the kids that are younger than us that they have to be taught things that aren't science in science class." ... [Apart from the falsehood that "Kansas ... strip[ed] its curriculum standards of virtually any mention of evolution", this isn't a bad article. At least it gets right that "the standards do not specifically require ... discussion of intelligent design"! But the student's comments that "all the kids that are younger than us that they have to be taught things that aren't science in science class" shows that she is an unwitting victim of Darwinist misinformation. In fact these younger students she is feeling sorry for will have the opportunity to learn more about evolution (i.e. its philosophical assumptions and its problems) than she did!]
Small Group Wields Major Influence in Intelligent Design Debate: Some Question Organization's Religious Affiliations as Controversy Continues, ABC News, Dan Harris, Nov. 9, 2005- Intelligent design, the idea that life was designed by a higher power, is dividing communities across the country. In Tuesday's election, voters in Dover, Pa., removed from office the school board that wrote intelligent design into the high school curriculum. And Kansas became the fifth state in the nation to question evolution in its curriculum. The Kansas school board now says high school students should learn that evolution is controversial -- including some of its basic tenets, such as monkeys evolving into men. They also redefined the word "science," no longer limiting it to natural explanations of phenomena. The move opens the door to alternative explanations such as intelligent design. "This is a great day for education," said Kansas Board of Education member Steve Abrams. "This absolutely raises science standards. I have no doubt about it -- positively no doubt about it whatsoever." Not all board members agreed. "I think this is a sad day," said another member, Carol Rupe, "not only for Kansas kids, but for Kansas." ... It was a major victory for the Discovery Institute, a little-known think tank in Seattle that promotes intelligent design. Instead of forcing students to learn intelligent design, the Discovery Institute takes a "teach the controversy" approach -- exactly what Kansas adopted. "Our policy proposal for science education is that students should learn the strengths and the scientific weaknesses of modern Darwinian theory," said Discovery Institute Director Dr. Stephen Meyer. This "free speech" approach has been endorsed by President Bush and helped insert intelligent design into the national dialogue. But many scientists say it's just slick marketing. "When they say 'teach the controversy' -- their ringing phrase -- they want us to pretend to students that scientists are arguing whether evolution took place," said Eugenie Scott ... "This argument is not taking place." The Discovery Institute denies allegations that its true agenda is religious. Their public relations representative stopped ABC News' interview when asked about the organization's many evangelical Christian donors. "I don't think we want to go down that path," he said. Meyer says no matter who provides financial support, his goals are scientific and that science may one day prove his belief that the intelligent designer is God. ... [Again, "Intelligent design" is NOT "the idea that life was designed by a higher power". It is the idea (or rather the scientific theory) that there is empirically detectable evidence of design in nature. It is therefore irrelevant whether or not the Discovery Institute's true agenda is religious, to the question of whether intelligent design is true. Notice that the reporters never question whether "the true agenda is religious" (i.e. anti-religious) of Scott (who "describes herself as atheist") and her ilk. And Scott never defines what exactly is this "evolution" that "scientists are" not "arguing whether [it] ...took place"! It cannot be common ancestry, because Mike Behe (and I) accept that:
"I want to be explicit about what I am, and am not, questioning. The word `evolution' carries many associations. Usually it means common descent - the idea that all organisms living and dead are related by common ancestry. I have no quarrel with the idea of common descent, and continue to think it explains similarities among species. By itself, however, common descent doesn't explain the vast differences among species." (Behe M.J., "Darwin Under the Microscope," The New York Times, October 29, 1996, p.A25. Access Research Network, 4 November 1996What Scott (and her atheistic ilk) really mean by "evolution" is not "Evolution in the sense of common ancestry" but "evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process":
"EVER since 1996, when Pope John Paul II said that evolution (a term he did not define) was "more than just a hypothesis," defenders of neo-Darwinian dogma have often invoked the supposed acceptance - or at least acquiescence - of the Roman Catholic Church when they defend their theory as somehow compatible with Christian faith. But this is not true. The Catholic Church, while leaving to science many details about the history of life on earth, proclaims that by the light of reason the human intellect can readily and clearly discern purpose and design in the natural world, including the world of living things. Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science." (Schönborn C., "Finding Design in Nature," The New York Times July 7, 2005)but like the late Pope John Paul II, she (and they) prefer to leave the term "evolution" undefined. These new Kansas science standards will enable (amongst other things) students to be made aware of what exactly is the "evolution" that Scott (and her ilk) claim that there is no scientific controversy about! Then students can be made aware that (as atheist evolutionist William Provine pointed out) that "atheistic or agnostic scientists [like Scott] publicly deny that there is any conflict between science and religion" for the intellectually dishonest but "pragmatic" reason that "funding for science might suffer if the atheistic implications of modern science were widely understood":
"My observation is that the great majority of modern evolutionary biologists now are atheists or something very close to that. Yet prominent atheistic or agnostic scientists publicly deny that there is any conflict between science and religion. Rather than simple intellectual dishonesty, this position is pragmatic. In the United States, elected members of Congress all proclaim to be religious. Many scientists believe that funding for science might suffer if the atheistic implications of modern science were widely understood." (ProvineW.B., Review of "Trial and Error: The American Controversy over Creation and Evolution," by Edward J. Larson, Oxford University Press: New York, 1985, Academe, Vol. 73, January/February 1987, pp.51-52, in Morris H.M., "That Their Words May Be Used Against Them: Quotes from Evolutionists Useful for Creationists," Master Books: Green Forest AR, 1997, p.396)]