Darwinists ignore L-word in proposed Texas science standards
The "strengths and weaknesses" language has been in the Texas science standards continuously since the 1980's. The language was added to the Texas textbook proclamations in the 1980's (I was told that the textbook proclamations were the de facto state standards back then) and added to the state science standards around 1997-98. "Strengths and weaknesses" was in the first drafts of the proposed new chemistry and astronomy standards and "strengths and limitations" was in the second drafts of the biology, chemistry, and physics standards but just the word "limitations" was retained in only the proposed final draft of the biology standards (there were eight science committees and one engineering & design committee, which doesn't count here).
A news article says,
. . . . with the "weaknesses" requirement removed and a new definition for science, the new plan makes it clear that supernatural explanations like creationism and intelligent design have no place in public classrooms, said Dan Quinn with the Texas Freedom Network, an Austin-based nonprofit group that opposes religious influence on public education . . . . .
Educators removed the "weaknesses" phrase in their first draft of the science curriculum.
That is not exactly true. There were eight science committees and two of them -- chemistry and astronomy -- retained the "strengths and weaknesses" language in the first drafts.
After a public hearing that attracted more than 200 speakers, the phrase was back in the second draft, but "weaknesses" was changed to "limitations."
About 90 -- not 200 -- people signed up to speak at the hearing.
As noted above, "strengths and weaknesses" was in the first drafts of the chemistry and astronomy standards and "strengths and limitations" was in the second drafts of the biology, chemistry, and physics standards. The Darwinists objected to the "strengths and limitations" language as well as the "strengths and weaknesses" language.
The second draft was published before -- not after -- the hearing, but so soon before the hearing that apparently some of the speakers were not aware of the change.
The third and final draft says students should be able to analyze and evaluate scientific explanations. There is also a new requirement that students should be able "to evaluate models according to their limitations in representing biological objects or events," but it would take a mind-boggling leap for anyone to interpret that as applying to evolution, Quinn said, particularly when viewed through the plan’s new definition of science.
Why is the word "limitations" OK by itself if the phrase "strengths and limitations" is not OK? And why would it take a "mind-boggling leap" for anyone to interpret "limitations" as applying to evolution? Evolution is one of the most obvious applications of the term "limitations." The Darwinists are taking a pollyannish view of the retention of the term "limitations" so that they can declare victory. Anyway, omitting all terms like "weaknesses," "limitations," and "criticisms" would not prevent the Texas board of education from selecting textbooks containing criticisms of evolution (Texas is unusual in that the state selects and purchases textbooks for the entire state).
The old definition — which included phrases like "a way of learning about nature" and "may not answer all questions" — has been replaced with a definition from the National Academy of Sciences. It states that science involves using evidence to form explanations and make predictions that can be measured and tested. It also warns that questions on subjects that cannot be scientifically tested do not belong in science.
Well, then maybe the large part of evolution theory that cannot be scientifically tested does not belong in science.
In the end, the wording in the final draft may not matter because the board is not required to use it. In May, the board threw out a teacher-suggested language arts curriculum in favor of another that some board members have said they had only an hour to read before voting on it.
The state board will hold a second public hearing Jan. 21 and is scheduled to take a final vote on the new science standards in March.
As I said many times before, I proposed that the phrase "strengths and weaknesses" be replaced by "strengths and criticisms." "Criticisms" is a neutral, general term that covers limitations, real weaknesses, invalid criticisms (including pseudoscientific criticisms), criticisms of whole theories, and criticisms of imperfections in theories.
A related article is here.
Labels: Texas controversy (new #1)