TOPEKA, KS – The Discovery Institute today faulted defenders of Darwin’s theory for refusing to defend their views before the Kansas State Board of Education and for being afraid to answer tough questions about the scientific problems of modern evolutionary theory.
“Darwinian scientists showed contempt for science and the citizens of Kansas by refusing to appear before the State School Board,” said Dr. Jonathan Wells, a biologist at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. “Why won’t Darwinists defend biological and chemical evolutionary theory and answer questions posed by their scientific critics? What is it that they’re afraid of? If they are so sure they are right, they should have the courage to be cross-examined.”
The Center for Science and Culture today listed just three questions that the state board of education were unable to pose to Darwinian scientists because they refused to attend the hearings:
(1) It is clear from last week’s testimony as well as the scientific literature that there is a continuing controversy over whether microevolution (changes within existing species and gene pools) can be extrapolated to explain macroevolution (the origin of new species, organs and body plans). Why shouldn’t Kansas students be informed about this scientific controversy?
(2) According to the standards proposed by the Majority on the writing committee, “patterns of diversification and extinction of organisms are documented in the fossil record.” One of the most striking patterns in the fossil record is the Cambrian Explosion of animal body plans, which Darwin himself considered a “serious” problem for his theory that all animals are modified descendants of a common ancestor. Why shouldn’t Kansas students be informed of the Cambrian Explosion and the problem Darwin thought it posed to his theory?
(3) The standards supported by the Majority on the writing committee define science as “the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us.” Every other state in the U.S. that has a definition of science in its standards defines it as a process of inquiry, an attempt to investigate the natural world by formulating hypotheses and testing them against the evidence. The definition proposed by the Minority is much more consistent with this view of science as a process of inquiry. Why does the Majority — out of keeping with all other states in the union — emphasize the sort of explanation a scientist is supposed to find rather than the open-ended process of empirical investigation?
The Institute explained that scientists critical of evolution went to Kansas and answered the board of education’s questions last week out of concern for the children of Kansas and in the hopes that science standards in the state will be improved to include critical analysis of biological and chemical evolution.
“Darwinists are trying to dumb-down the teaching of evolution in Kansas by only allowing schools to present students with part of the scientific evidence relating to evolution,” said Seth Cooper, a Senior Policy Analyst with the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. “Students will be the ones who suffer if these Darwinian fundamentalists are allowed to censor the scientific information students are allowed to hear in the classroom.”