Feature Article - July 2005
by Do-While Jones

Science Defeats Evolution in Kansas!

The news media was all abuzz about all the controversy just before the Kansas State Board of Education held hearings on the theory of evolution. Did you read or see anything in the media about what the result was? We didn’t, either.

Normally, we could cover this in our “Evolution in the News” column. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the news. Presumably, the media expected evolutionists to be victorious and maintain their strangle-hold on the public education system. The publicity leading up to the hearings set the stage for the anticipated victory. But when evolution was soundly defeated, the media wasn’t anxious to report the story any more. Here's what they did not tell you.

The Kansas State Board of Education had their hearings and published their findings in an excellent 78-page report 1, which you can find on the web, but hardly anyplace else. It provides an excellent outline for school boards everywhere for how to teach evolution.

Although the table of contents doesn’t specifically divide the report this way, the report consists of about 15 pages of introduction, about 15 pages of scientific findings, almost 15 pages of religious findings, and roughly 20 pages of footnotes.

The report found, “scientific explanations about origins unavoidably impacts religion and religious beliefs”. 2 In view of that fact, they made these decisions in section 3:

3. Given the impact of origins science on religion, we believe objectivity as discussed below is necessary for both teaching the scientific controversy and in actually deciding what to teach:

a. An objective approach to teaching origins science is one that reasonably informs students about relevant competing scientific views. State endorsement of an objective approach that favors neither Naturalistic Explanations or the Scientific Criticism of those Explanations will more appropriately inform students about origins, will provide good and liberal science education, will cause the state to not take sides on the issue, and is a formula that is most likely [to] lead to the best and religiously neutral origins science education.

b. An objective approach to teaching origins science also involves a reasonable assessment of the current scientific consensus regarding the strengths of the various competing theories as well as any biases that may affect that consensus and the presentation of these assessments.

c. Although public education should not discriminate against minority viewpoints, neither should it discriminate in favor of them and thereby: (a) offend the 70 to 80% of the patrons of public education, who, according to polling data introduced during the hearings, prefer reasonable and non-discriminatory and objective teaching of origins rather than a one-sided, “evolution only” paradigm, and (b) further erode economic, political and participatory support and confidence in Kansas public education.

d. Given the unavoidable impact of origins on religious belief, we find anyone promoting any side of the debate may be influenced in their advocacy by their own known or unknown theistic or non-theistic perspectives and that the duty of the Committee and members of the State Board is to (1) fully inform themselves about the issues, (2) ascertain the scientific validity, educational propriety and logical effect of proposals being made, (3) whether the effect of any given proposal is educationally and constitutionally appropriate and (4) in carrying out this duty, set aside as much as possible their own particular religious perspectives from their deliberations with decision making favoring those proposals that are most likely to produce effects that are scientifically, pedagogically and constitutionally sound.
3

The report then revised and expanded the official definition of “science”. The following words in italics were added, and the indicated words were removed from the first paragraph of the old definition.

Nature of Science

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. Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us. Science does so through the use of observation, experimentation, and logical argument while maintaining strict empirical standards and healthy skepticism. Scientific explanations are built on observations, hypotheses, and theories. A hypothesis is a testable statement about the natural world that can be used to build more complex inferences and explanations. A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate observations, inferences, and tested hypotheses. 4

Notice that “natural explanations” is specifically removed from the definition of science. That’s the really controversial point. The sentence about “observation, experimentation, and logical argument” was moved to the beginning of the definition; and “hypothesis testing”, “measurement”, and “theory building” were added. Evolutionists don’t like that because the theory of evolution can’t stand up to measurement and hypothesis testing; and “theory building” opens the door to non-evolutionary explanations.

The second paragraph of the definition of science remained unchanged.

Scientific explanations must meet certain criteria. Scientific explanations are consistent with experimental and/or observational data and testable by scientists through additional experimentation and/or observation. Scientific explanations must meet criteria that govern the repeatability of observations and experiments. The effect of these criteria is to ensure that scientific explanations about the world are open to criticism and that they will be modified or abandoned in favor of new explanations if empirical evidence so warrants. Because all scientific explanations depend on observational and experimental confirmation, all scientific knowledge is, in principle, subject to change as new evidence becomes available. The core theories of science have been subjected to a wide variety of confirmations and have a high degree of reliability within the limits to which they have been tested. In areas where data or understanding are incomplete, new data may lead to changes in current theories or resolve current conflicts. In situations where information is still fragmentary, it is normal for scientific ideas to be incomplete, but this is also where the opportunity for making advances may be greatest. Science has flourished in different regions during different time periods, and in history, diverse cultures have contributed scientific knowledge and technological inventions. Changes in scientific knowledge usually occur as gradual modifications, but the scientific enterprise also experiences periods of rapid advancement. The daily work of science and technology results in incremental advances in our understanding of the world about us. 5 [emphasis supplied]

Evolutionists have tried to define “science” to be “whatever the scientific elite says is true, even if there isn’t any experimental proof to back it up.” Clearly, the highlighted words are devastating to them. But they are still there.

Finally, the following two paragraphs were added to the definition.

According to many scientists a core claim of evolutionary theory is that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion. Other scientists disagree. These standards neither mandate nor prohibit teaching about this scientific disagreement. However, to promote good science, good pedagogy and a curriculum that is secular, neutral and non-ideological, school districts are urged to follow the advice provided by the House and Senate Conferees in enacting the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001:

"The Conferees recognize that a quality science education should prepare students to distinguish the data and testable theories of science from religious or philosophical claims that are made in the name of science. Where topics are taught that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution), the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society." 6

Could anything else be more reasonable? Evolutionists argue that presenting the evidence against evolution will “confuse” students. The truth is that it interferes with their attempt to brainwash students.

Evolutionists like to argue that science should be taught in science class, and religion should be taught in religion classes. The Report specifically rejected this argument.

h. We find that a discussion of origins can not be effectively bifurcated between a science class which discusses only a naturalistic perspective and another class such as “comparative religion” which may or may not even exist, and which if it does exist is likely taught by a teacher who never addresses the issue, and who if asked to address the issue would likely not be qualified to discuss the scientific aspects of both sides of the issue. 7

Furthermore, the theory of evolution is the creation myth of secular humanism, which the report found to be a religion.

s. Relevant legal authorities in the Suggested Conclusions of Law show that Secular Humanism is a religion.

t. Public Education should not endorse or oppose Secular Humanism, but rather should remain neutral as between theistic and non-theistic religions and belief systems.

t. [sic] The promotion by the state of the philosophy of Naturalism would conflict with the theistic beliefs of parents and students, including in particular those holding traditional Christian, Jewish and Muslim views.

u. The fact that certain theistic sects find no fault with naturalism and evolution is irrelevant to the issue of the State’s obligation to remain neutral with respect to the plethora of religious views that it must accommodate. 8

The Report then gives guidance on how to present specific evolutionary topics honestly. Here is just one example. Most of the text is unchanged. The italic text is to be added, and the strikeout text is to be removed.

Patterns of Cumulative Change: Accumulated changes through time, some gradual and some sporadic, account for the present form and function of objects, organisms, and natural systems. The general idea is that the present arises from materials and forms of the past. An example of cumulative change is the formation of galaxies, explained by cosmological theories involving (among other theories) gravitation and the behavior of gasses, and the present diversity of living organisms, which explained by the biological theory of evolution, or descent with modification of organisms from common ancestors seeks to explain. The present position of the continents is explained by the theories of continental drift, which involves plate tectonic theory, fossilization, uplift and erosion. Patterns of cumulative change also help to describe the current structure of the universe. Although science proposes theories to explain changes, the actual causes of many changes are currently unknown (e.g. the origin of the universe, the origin of fundamental laws, the origin of life and the genetic code, the origin of major body plans during the Cambrian explosion, etc.). 9

The Report justifies these changes saying,

a. Based on the unrebutted testimony of numerous credentialed scientists during the hearings, we find that a genuine scientific controversy exists with respect to certain aspects of common ancestry and the extrapolation of microevolution to account for the origination of macroevolutionary changes such as new complex organs or body plans and new biological systems which appear irreducibly complex. 10

The report goes into great detail about what evidence was presented, and why the authors of the report made the decisions they made.

The result in Kansas was a tremendous victory for science, and a staggering defeat for evolution.

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Footnotes:

1 “BEFORE THE SCIENCE COMMITTEE OF THE KANSAS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION IN RE: HEARINGS HELD ON MAY 5 ,6 ,7 AND 11, 2005 CONCERNING KANSAS SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS” available on the web at http://www.ksde.org/outcomes/schearingff.pdf .
2 ibid. page 4
3 ibid. pages 4-5
4 ibid. page 8
5 ibid. pages 8-9
6 ibid. page 12
7 ibid. page 13
8 ibid. page 11
9 ibid. page 14
10 ibid. page 14