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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.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Darwinist scientists' petition opposes "weaknesses" language


An online petition posted by a group named "21st Century Science Coalition" says,

Scientists for a Responsible Curriculum in Texas Public Schools

A strong science curriculum is an essential part of a 21st-century education and should be based on established peer-reviewed empirical research. In 2008-09 the State Board of Education is revising the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) curriculum standards for the sciences.
Scientifically sound curriculum standards must:

acknowledge that instruction on evolution is vital to understanding all the biological sciences;

There we go again with that "central to biology" claptrap. How in the hell can evolution be central to biology when 13% of science teachers in a national survey agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that an "excellent" biology course could exist that does not even mention Darwin or evolution theory at all (and probably a higher percentage would agree or strongly agree with the statement that evolution is not central to biology) ?

make clear that evolution is an easily observable phenomenon that has been documented beyond any reasonable doubt;

Macroevolution has never been observed.
.
be based on the latest, peer-reviewed scholarship;

Darwinists go running to the courts to charge that criticisms of Darwinism have not been published in peer-reviewed journals. The irony here is that there is a big dirty little secret that most law journals are not peer-reviewed or even faculty-reviewed but are just student-reviewed! And these law journals are not just educational exercises for the law students -- for example, the Harvard Law Review alone was cited 4410 times in federal court opinions alone in the decade 1970-79 alone! How many times have we read that some judge or politician was a student editor of a law review and thought nothing of it? The lousy judges should clean up their own house before pointing fingers at scientific ideas that have not been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Judge Jones once said that peer review
is needed to show that something's true.
But that's just it,
he's full of shit,
his Dover ruling's not peer-reviewed too.

encourage valid critical thinking and scientific reasoning by leaving out all references to “strengths and weaknesses,” which politicians have used to introduce supernatural explanations into science courses;

Here "valid critical thinking" means being spoonfed Darwinist dogma. I can't believe that so many scientists would sign a statement asking that "strengths and weaknesses" language regarding the teaching of scientific theories be omitted from a state's science standards. And what is evolution theory worth if it can't stand up to scrutiny?

and recognize that all students are best served when matters of faith are left to families and houses of worship.

Some scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms (or weaknesses) of evolution theory -- e.g., criticisms concerning (1) the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and (2) the propagation of beneficial mutations in sexual reproduction -- are technically very sophisticated and should be taught only by qualified science teachers.

I was thinking of starting my own online petition in support of the "strengths and weaknesses" language and maybe my other recommendations for the Texas science standards, but then I realized that most online petitions are just a dime a dozen, so why bother -- IMO what counts are the individual comments submitted to the state board of education. Speaking of those comments: about ten working days after posting the proposed science standards, the Texas Education Agency has still not provided a form for submitting comments -- preliminary board hearings on the proposed science standards may be held as early as November and time's a-wasting. An email I got from the Texas Education Agency a few days ago said,

Dear Science Educators,
The first draft of the proposed revisions to the K-12 Science TEKS were posted on September 22nd. This includes the two new courses, Earth and Space Science, and Engineering.

You can access the draft by going to http://www.tea.state.tx.us/teks/scienceTEKS.html

A feedback form will be made available soon at this web address.

I don't know why the email was addressed to "science educators" -- not everyone on the mailing list is a science educator.

Those who want the "strengths and weaknesses" language -- which has been in the Texas science standards for 20 years or more -- to be included in the final biology standards face an uphill battle:

(1) The language has been omitted from the proposed biology standards. However, it is very fortunate that the language was included in the proposed chemistry and astronomy standards -- the chemistry and astronomy committees did not cave in to pressure to omit the language.

(2) It has been reported that the school board is now closely divided on whether to retain the "strengths and weaknesses" language: 7 in favor, 6 opposed, and two undecided. A final board decision on the state science standards is slated for March 2009 but some of the supporters could be lost before then -- the terms of several members expire on Jan. 1, 2009 and some supporters could be voted out or retire from the board. Unfortunately, 4 members are promoting a bible-study course that some people consider to be unconstitutional and I presume that all 4 of these members are in the group of 7 that supports the "strengths and weaknesses" language. As expected, the Darwinists are exploiting this support for the bible studies course to try to discredit board members' support for the "strengths and weaknesses" language.

(3) Though I presume the "weaknesses" language has the most public support, the Darwinists are better organized than their opponents. Their connections in university faculties, schoolteacher associations, and scientific organizations have enabled them to respond quickly, as is evidenced by the quick gathering of hundreds of signatures on the petition. Also, unfortunately some of the organizations that support the "weaknesses" language are fundy-oriented.

Related posts:

The state of evolution education in the USA and an agenda for sane evolution education

Why should scientific and pseudoscientific criticisms of evolution be taught by parents and pastors who have no expertise in biology?

Proposed Texas science standards released

Summary of criticisms of proposed Texas science standards

Promoting "teaching the controversy"

Bibliography bluffing again -- this time in Texas
.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous 'Nonymous said...

13% of science teachers incompetent?

Who'd a thunk it?

Saturday, October 04, 2008 2:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

> 13% of science teachers incompetent? <

Definitely an understatement. Then again it is difficult to get competent people into something such as science, that has become politically charged due to a bunch of hillbillys trying to thrust religious fundamentalism into it.

Sunday, October 05, 2008 9:33:00 AM  

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