Re: DI and Kansas standards

Date: Thu Mar 22 2001 - 04:21:06 EST

  • Next message: Todd S. Greene: "Cambrian Explosion"


    I accept that you criticize the ID for their view of God's intervention and
    eg creation of new species
    seen in the Cambridge explosion. BUT how do you as a Christian geologist
    explain the Camridan
    explosion and the lack of intermediate varieties or transition forms?

    Sam (Keith B Miller) on 21.03.2001 16:42:18

    Sent by:

    Subject: DI and Kansas standards

    Following is an essay by a Discovery Institute fellow criticising the new
    Kansas Science Standards.

    I encourage everyone to read the standards for themselves.


    >Mark Hartwig
    >Alton (Ill.) Telegraph
    >March 18, 2001
    >The evolution controversy is getting out of hand. Passions have yet to
    >in Kansas, where a 7-3 majority of the state board of education has made
    >evolution a centerpiece of the state's new science standards. But already
    >there's another donnybrook brewing in Pennsylvania-also over state science
    >And that's not to mention all the lesser scuffles over the last two years
    >Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Michigan,
    >Minnesota, Oklahoma and West Virginia.
    >Why does this controversy continue to blaze? The conventional answer is
    >the controversy is fanned by "religious fundamentalists" who mistakenly
    >believe that evolution threatens their religious beliefs and sense of
    >meaning. As Eugenie Scott, of the California-based National Center for
    >Science Education, put it, "I think there's often a sense that accepting
    >evolution means losing one's sense of purpose and meaning, the specialness
    >humans think they have because God personally created them. To them,
    >evolution makes distant the personal, hands-on God they grew up with."
    >Although that answer plays well in newsrooms, it overlooks a serious
    >of conflict: namely, the shabby maneuvers prominent science educators have
    >pulled to advance the cause of evolution in public schools.
    >Such maneuvers are easily spotted in Kansas' recently approved science
    >standards. Lauded by the American Association for the Advancement of
    >(AAAS), the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the National Science
    >Teachers Association (NSTA) as "a model for other states," the standards
    >more aptly described as a model of subterfuge.
    >For example, the standards state that "natural selection and its
    >evolutionary consequences provide a scientific explanation for the fossil
    >record that correlates with geochemical dating results. The distribution
    >fossil and modern organisms is related to geological and ecological
    >Contrary to what this statement seems to say, the fossil record has always
    >been a liability for conventional evolutionary theory.
    >According to that theory, species are gradually transformed by random
    >genetic changes that are preserved through natural selection. As changes
    >accumulate over many generations, they may produce new limbs, tissues and
    >organs. Given enough time, organisms may change so radically that they
    >almost no resemblance to their original ancestor.
    >If the theory were true, the fossil evidence should show lots of gradual
    >change, with one species slowly grading into the next. In fact, it should
    >hard to tell where one species ends and another begins. But that's not
    >we find.
    >As Darwin himself noted, "The number of intermediate varieties, which have
    >formerly existed on the earth, [must] be truly enormous. Why then is not
    >every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate
    >links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graded organic
    >chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which
    >can be urged against my theory."
    >That problem remains with us today. Most fossil species appear all at
    >fully formed, and change very little throughout their stay in the fossil
    >evidence. Several years ago, this situation led noted paleontologist Niles
    >Eldredge to remark, "Either you stick to conventional theory despite the
    >rather poor fit of the fossils, or you focus on the [data] and say that
    >[evolution through large leaps] looks like a reasonable model of the
    >evolutionary process-in which case you must embrace a set of rather
    >biological propositions."
    >That problem reaches dramatic proportions with what paleontologists call
    >"Cambrian explosion," which began 543 million years ago. Over a period of
    >only five to ten million years, a flash of geological time, virtually
    >major animal group (or phylum) appears in the fossil evidence. This is
    >precisely the opposite of what conventional theory would lead us to
    >So, far from being a bulwark of support for conventional theory, the
    >evidence is something that must be explained away. Of course, the science
    >standards don't directly contradict this. But the statement is so
    >weaseled that you'd never guess how problematic the fossil record really
    >Why the weaseling? Because the science education establishment desperately
    >wants to insulate the science classroom from dissent--and one of the best
    >ways to do that is to deny that there are any problems.
    >That works particularly well with another maneuver, which is to define
    >dissent as "unscientific" and ban it from the classroom. Kansas' new
    >standards do this with flair.
    >After first defining science as "human activity of seeking natural
    >explanations for what we observe," the standards state that if a student
    >raises a question that is "outside the domain of science," the teacher
    >should respectfully "explain why the question is outside the domain of
    >natural science and encourage the student to discuss the question further
    >with his or her family and other appropriate sources."
    >Thus, if a student questions the proposition that all organisms were
    >produced by the blind processes of natural selection and genetic drift, he
    >is politely told to take a hike--no matter what evidence he can produce.
    >Although such maneuvers may seem clever to the AAAS, NAS and NSTA, the
    >thing they do is confuse people and stir up animosity and suspicion.
    >hardly a recipe for good science education, or a healthy society.
    >Let's bag the maneuvers--and give our kids an honest chance to think
    >out for themselves.
    >Mark Hartwig, Ph.D., is a Fellow of Discovery Institute's Center for the
    >Renewal of Science and Culture.

    Keith B. Miller
    Department of Geology
    Kansas State University
    Manhattan, KS 66506

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Mar 22 2001 - 04:22:48 EST