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Kansas Scientists Propose Science Education Standards Encouraging Critical Analysis of Evolution

SEATTLE, DEC. 21 – Students in Kansas will be allowed to learn about the scientific evidence both for and against Darwinian evolution if the State’s Board of Education adopts a proposed revisions from a group of scientists on the science standards writing committee.

The eight proponents of the proposal made it very clear a statement to School board that “We do not believe the standards should include the teaching of intelligent design as an objective.”

“We’re very encouraged about the science-based approach of these members of the writing committee in Kansas,” said attorney Seth Cooper, program officer in public policy & legal affairs for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. “They are pursuing exactly the right course in asking the school board to allow students to learn more about evolution, including the scientific strengths and weaknesses of the theory.”

Discovery Institute supports teaching students more about evolutionary theory, including introducing them to mainstream, peer-reviewed scientific debates over key aspects of modern evolutionary theory (known as neo-Darwinism). The Institute does not favor requiring that students learn about the scientific theory of intelligent design.

According to members of the writing committee, three with doctoral degrees in the life sciences, current science education in Kansas does not apply the scientific method equally to all aspects of science, and consequently students are not learning about scientific discussions when it comes to Darwinian evolutionary theory.

“This is a debate about whether true scientific inquiry should be applied to origins science in the same way that it is applied in other areas of science,” said thirty year science teacher John Yost in a statement from the proponents of the proposal.

Cooper added that he expects some Darwin-only supporters will try to mischaracterize the proposed standards.

“Anyone who reads the proposed revisions will see that they are based solely on science, deal with current issues from mainstream scientific literature and do not try to include any alternative theories,” explained Cooper.

In 2002, Ohio became the first state to require students to learn about scientific evidence critical of neo-Darwinian theory, adopting a benchmark that says students should know “how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.” Minnesota and New Mexico have also adopted similar standards calling for critical analysis of the scientific evidence both for and against neo-Darwinian theory, as have individual school districts around the country.

For more information visit: http://www.kansasscience2005.com/