[Marxism] Scientists in America make concessions to Religious Right
joe_radical at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 10 21:22:58 MST 2005
Science standards debated
Thursday, March 10, 2005 12:00 am
Committee members spar over evolutions place in
states science standards
By MICHAEL STRAND
Coming closer together, getting more specific,
allowing for uncertainty and eliminating dogmatic
phrases marked Wednesdays meeting of some two
dozen science educators working to rewrite the
states science standards for public schools.
The group dealing with elementary school science
standards already had wrapped up its work on its
second draft before arriving in Salina Wednesday
morning, and the group working on middle school
standards largely breezed through its task, as well.
But as with past gatherings of the committee, most
of the disagreement was among members of the
group working on high school standards, where two
of the most vocal voices have ended up.
Jack Krebs, a mathematics and technology
coordinator in Lawrence, and Bill Harris, professor of
medicine at the University of Missouri and managing
director of the Intelligent Design Network, have
sparred at several meetings mostly over
evolutions place in the states science standards.
Agreement on document changes
Harris and about a third of the committee dont want
evolution portrayed as incontrovertible fact. They
also want at least some mention given to intelligent
design, which holds life didnt start spontaneously
and is the product of some higher power. Intelligent
design isnt considered part of mainstream science.
But Wednesday, Krebs, Harris and the rest of the
committee were able to agree on numerous
document changes, mostly acknowledging that
science doesnt have all the answers.
Krebs, for example, supported wording changes
such as from biological evolution explains ..., to
biological evolution is used to explain ...
In another case, evidence may indicate that simple,
bacteria-like life existed billions of years ago was
amended to evidence indicates that simple bacteria-
like life may have existed billions of years ago.
In other instances, the word evolution was replaced
with natural selection or genetic drift, terms Krebs
said were both more specific and avoided using the
lightning-rod term evolution.
In other places, statements such as the fact that life
is very similar at the most basic level is evidence of
evolution was changed to is used as evidence of
That makes it clear that this is the current,
prevailing model, Krebs said, adding its a subtle
point but an important one.
Science is one way of explaining the world not
the only way, he said.
Harris, however, said that no matter which way such
phrases are worded, theres still a preference given
Those same basic facts common cell structures,
for example are also used as evidence of
common design and were not saying that. It
highlights one but not the other.
But Krebs and others used much that same
argument later, when Harris wanted to amend the
introduction to the biology section to add theory of
in front of biological evolution.
Id be OK with saying theory here if we say it
everywhere else in the standards where were
talking about a theory, committee chairman Steve
Case said in mentioning plate tectonics and other
less-controversial parts of the standards.
Others, too, said they opposed singling out evolution
to specify as a theory; when put to a vote of the
entire committee, Harris proposal failed 16-5.
Not for preaching
But everyone agreed the classroom is not for
conversion or, as Case put it, preaching instead
of teaching is wrong we want to make sure the
standards dont give energy to people who want to
And the committee approved a statement that
believing in evolution is different than understanding
it, and compelling students to believe is inconsistent
with the goal of evolution.
Throughout the days discussion, when consensus
couldnt be reached, Harris often said he simply
would include his position in a separate draft of the
recommendations he and several other members
plans to submit.
The State Board of Education, which eventually will
use the committees report in drafting new science
standards, has said it wants to hear from that
minority group, as well. Case said he thinks its a
valid way of dealing with issues where committee
members cant reach consensus.
Krebs said he was concerned that this pro-intelligent
design minority report would include substantial
evidence to back its points, while the majority report
wouldnt. He asked if he could compile evidence in
favor of evolution for the state board to consider.
If a small group can go off and do things on its own,
why cant I form a group of one? Krebs asked.
I agree, one committee member can submit a
minority report, Case said.
Good, I needed something else to do, Krebs
Following the meeting, Harris explained why, even
though hell be writing a separate report, hes
continuing to press for changes to the majority
Ninety-five percent of the report is fine, most of it is
noncontroversial, he said. Hes pressing points
where he thinks compromise can be reached, and
rather than spending time arguing the other points,
hell include those in his recommendations.
The real decision will be made higher up, he said,
referring to the state board of education, which has a
6-4 majority favoring intelligent design.
Case had addressed that at the beginning of the
meeting, saying one job of this committee is to keep
politics out. The state board is a political body
their job is to put politics in, they have a
Teens & creation/evolution: Most see God's
Mar 9, 2005
By Michael Foust
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--America's public schools
may be teaching evolution, but a significant number
of teenagers aren't buying it, and an overwhelming
majority of them believe that God one way or
another was involved in the creation of humanity,
according to a new Gallup poll.
The poll of 1,028 teenagers ages 13-17 found that
38 percent don't believe in evolution, believing
instead that "God created human beings pretty much
in their present form at one time within the last
10,000 years or so." Another 43 percent believe that
humans "developed over millions of years from less
advanced forms of life, but God guided" the process.
All total, 81 percent believe that God was somehow
Only 18 percent believe that evolution took place
without God playing a role.
Mark Hartwig, a social research analyst for Focus on
the Family, said the poll underscores the fact that
creation itself points to a creator. Hartwig also
serves as a fellow for the Discovery Institute's
Center for Science and Culture.
"You have to be educated into not seeing the design
around you in the natural world," he told Baptist
Press. "... You have to be either bullied or ...
socialized out of it."
The Gallup poll also asked teens their opinion about
the evidence behind Darwin's theory of evolution.
Only 37 percent said they thought Darwin's theory
was "well supported by evidence." Thirty percent
said it was "just one of many theories" and one that
"has not been well supported by evidence." Thirty-
three percent said they did not yet know enough
about Darwin's theory to answer the question.
Secularist evolution -- that is, the idea that the
universe was created naturally and apart from God --
is a "minority position" among not only teens but also
adults, Hartwig said.
Evolution, he noted, has been advocated for years in
school textbooks, school classrooms and even in
various TV specials -- such as PBS' "Evolution."
"And Americans are still saying, 'No, I don't believe
it,'" Hartwig said.
Adults actually are somewhat more likely not to
believe in evolution. In a Gallup poll of adults last
November, 45 percent said they believed in
creationism while 38 percent believed that God
guided the process of evolution. Only 13 percent of
adults said they believed that evolution occurred
without God's guidance.
A CBS News poll in November found an even larger
percentage of adults disagreeing with evolution. In
that poll, a majority of adults, 55 percent, believed
that God created humans in their present form.
Twenty-seven percent believed that God guided the
process of evolution, while 13 percent believed in a
God-less evolution. Sixty-five percent of adults in the
CBS poll favored schools teaching both creationism
and evolution, while 37 percent said creationism
should be taught instead of evolution.
"Education has changed considerably since the
famous 'Scopes Monkey Trial,' but the debate about
teaching evolution hasn't ended," Gallup's Heather
Mason wrote in an online article. "... Data from
Gallup Youth Surveys and adult surveys alike
reinforce the notion that evolution is far from a
foregone conclusion among large numbers of
Such polls, Hartwig said, are bad news for the
academic world and for evolution supporters.
"They're frustrated by it," he said. "They're pulling out
their hair over these polls."
The Gallup poll of teenagers, released March 8, was
based on telephone interviews and was conducted
Jan. 17 to Feb. 6. The Gallup poll of adults was
based on telephone interviews with 1,016 adults
The CBS News poll was conducted via telephone
Nov. 18-21 among a sample of 885 adults.
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