Kansas Becomes Fifth State to Allow Teaching of Scientific Criticism of Evolution in Public Schools

Seattle –— Kansas will become the fifth state in the nation to allow students to learn about the scientific evidence both for and against Darwinian evolution if the Kansas State Board of Education adopts proposed science standards tomorrow as expected.

Discovery Institute praised the proposed science standards because they expand the information presented to students about biological and chemical evolution by including some of the scientific criticisms of these theories. The standards also recommend the adoption of a definition of science that is consistent with the definition of science used by most by other states. The standards do not propose teaching intelligent design theory.

“Under these standards students will learn more about evolution not less as some Darwinists have falsely claimed,” said Casey Luskin, program officer for public policy and legal affairs with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture. “Anyone who reads the proposed science standards will see that they deal solely with science, are based on scientific debates in mainstream scientific literature and do not include any alternative theories.”

One big improvement that Luskin pointed out is the traditional definition of science in the standards which reads: “Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory-building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.”

“Until now Kansas was the only state that did not have a traditional definition of science, the only one,” said Luskin. “This definition is nearly identical to the definition of science adhered to in over 40 states across the country, and gets Kansas back into line with the rest of the country.”

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.

Discovery Institute published an exhaustive report of all US state’s definitions of science in May of 2005. According to that report, the definition of science proposed in the science standards is fully consistent with definitions used by all other states in the U.S. By contrast, the definition of science currently used in the Kansas standards and defended by Darwinists is idiosyncratic and out of step with current educational practice.

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.” Pennsylvania, 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.

NOTE: The Discovery Institute report, “Definitions of Science in State Standards” by senior fellow Dr. Jonathan Wells, is available here.

Discovery Institute

Discovery Institute promotes thoughtful analysis and effective action on local, regional, national and international issues. The Institute is home to an inter-disciplinary community of scholars and policy advocates dedicated to the reinvigoration of traditional Western principles and institutions and the worldview from which they issued.