I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Evolution education in Iowa

The Republican Party of Iowa State Platform says,

We support the teaching of alternative theories on the origins of life including Darwinian Evolution, Creation Science or Intelligent Design, and that each should be given equal weight in presentation.

Also, a news article reported,

Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Bob Vander Plaats said he believes intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution in schools.

Vander Plaats made the comments during a meeting with students on the Iowa State University campus Tuesday. He had not discussed the issue with his running mate, Jim Nussle [candidate for governor], he told the students, but he believes the two ideas warrant equal time in the classroom.

"If we are going to teach evolution, there is another viewpoint and one that holds pretty good too (evolution) in regards to creation," Vander Plaats said. "I think that is something that I would want to visit further along with Jim Nussle in regards to 'Where are you at on that?' But my viewpoint is I would like to give both of these (time in the classroom)."

However, the state GOP platform's and Vander Plaats' above statements might be moot because the Iowa Department of Education's science standards are based on national standards:

Iowa school districts' science standards are aligned with the National Science Education Standards. The science content network team used the national science standards' content categories to organize the studies reviewed. These categories include Inquiry, Life Science, Physical Science, Earth/Space Science, Science & Technology, and History of Science. (my comment: it is often stated that Iowa has no state science standards, but that is not a completely accurate statement)

Because Iowa science standards are based on the national standards, Iowa is the only state in the USA that was not included in the Fordham Institute's 2005 report on state science standards (the Fordham Institute and the Fordham Foundation have no connection to Fordham University). IMO the report overemphasizes the evolution education standards -- though these standards are assigned just a maximum 3 points possible out of a maximum possible overall score of 69 points for all the science standards, evolution is given special emphasis in the "executive summary." Also, the evaluations of the evolution standards were unreasonable -- two states, Kansas and Ohio, were condemned just for including critical analysis of evolution in the standards. Kansas's evolution standards rating was "not even failed" (see the end of the executive summary of the report), and the report's principal author threatened to downgrade Ohio's overall science score from "B" to "F" just because of the evolution standards (see "Statement from the Authors of the Fordham Report", posted on January 21). I don't have any faith in the Fordham science standards ratings in general, as they do not take student performance into account (and one study claimed that these ratings have no correlation with student performance) and the evaluation questions are too vague, arbitrary, and subjective: e.g., expectations, purpose, audience; quality; seriousness; and inquiry.

On the one hand, I tend to favor uniform national science standards because individual state & local science standards result in non-uniformity and unnecessary and wasteful duplication. On the other hand, I tend to favor individual state & local science standards because they offer the best opportunities for introducing critical analysis of evolution into the curriculum.

The Iowa state Republican party's support for creationism and intelligent design is not unusual. Last year, USA Today reported,

Republicans and conservatives are divided over intelligent design. Seven state Republican parties — Alaska, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas — have "anti-evolutionist" platform planks that support teaching creationism and/or intelligent design, according to the pro-evolution National Center for Science Education.

But the national GOP platform does not mention it. In Pennsylvania, says party spokesman Josh Wilson, "there are Republicans on both sides" and it has never come up at a state committee meeting.

A few conservatives in Congress have aligned themselves with intelligent design.



Anonymous Voice In The Urbanness said...

"Creation Science" is an oxymoron.

The troll who writes the blog articles is a moron.

Sunday, October 15, 2006 4:09:00 PM  

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