January 5, 2001
Board of Directors
Kansas State Board of Education
120 SE 10th Avenue
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1182
Re: Science Education Standards
Ladies and Gentlemen: This letter contains suggested revisions to the “Kansas Science Education Standards, Sixth Draft of Science Writing Team, December 2000 (Tentative — Not “Official”).” This is the draft that was circulated to members of the Kansas State Board of Education in December, 2000, prior to the December 12, 2000 meeting. We refer to that document in this letter as the “Sixth Draft.”
We understand that the Board will be asked to replace the existing Standards that were adopted in December 1999 with the Sixth Draft. Although we have no comment on the bulk of the Sixth Draft, we believe it imperative that our suggested revisions be included in any final Standards that the Board does adopt.Our proposal is focused on one issue. It seeks only to stop the teaching/preaching of Naturalism to our children in the area of origins science – science that deals with the origin of the universe, of life and its diversity. As you know, Naturalism is a doctrine or belief that states that all phenomena result only from natural causes – chance and necessity – and that design inferences are invalid. It is not a proven theory. It is a philosophy.
The Sixth Draft proposes to use Naturalism to censor any discussion or teaching which conflicts with its essential tenet that no natural system is designed. We believe this is fundamentally wrong. The use of Naturalism to limit inquiry and explanation violates rules of logic. It conflicts with the scientific method. It will lead our schools into violations of the neutrality required by the establishment clause of our Constitution. It will have profound negative affects on our culture and our ethical and moral values. Due to its censoring mechanism – Naturalism will lead our science teachers to omit to discuss information that is material to the question at hand. This results in misinformation. Our proposal seeks to cure these problems that inhere in the Sixth Draft.This letter consists of an “INTRODUCTION TO THE SUGGESTED REVISIONS” and a second part consisting of the SUGGESTED REVISIONS AND COMMENTARY. The suggested revisions include portions of the text around each revision so that the reader can generally understand the context within which the suggestion is being made. We have also included a “comment” section after each set of revisions so that you can understand the reasons for the suggested change. Finally, we have posted a copy of this letter on our web site at: http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SUGGESTED REVISIONS
The fundamental issue raised by the Sixth Draft is whether we should adopt Science Standards that will have the effect of causing Kansas teachers to promote a philosophy of Naturalism in teaching our children about origins – the origin of the universe, the origin of life and the origin of the diversity of life. Naturalism is “the doctrine that cause-and-effect laws (as of physics and chemistry) are adequate to account for all phenomena and that teleological [design] conceptions of nature are invalid” (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary).
We believe Kansas Science Standards should not promote Naturalism for the following reasons:
1. Naturalism Conflicts with Principles of Logic. There are essentially only two hypotheses regarding origins. The naturalistic hypothesis is that life and its diversity results only from chance and necessity while the design hypothesis suggests that it results from a combination of design, chance and necessity. If you philosophically limit inquiry and explanation to only the naturalistic hypothesis, then you violate the laws of logic which seek to produce reliable and trustworthy explanations. Applying naturalism to origins science is like an investigator assuming that every house fire is the result of accidental or natural causes and that arson (a fire started on purpose, by design) is not a permitted explanation. If the investigator rules out design before examining the evidence he will always conclude that fires result only from accidental or natural causes. Like an arson investigation, origins sciences, including evolutionary biology, are historical sciences. They seek to use present evidence to explain a past (unobservable) event. Rigorous logic and objectivity are particularly necessary in the writing of any historical account. An historical account that is driven by bias or a single philosophical, cultural, religious or other viewpoint, can never be credible, reliable or trustworthy. This issue is discussed in more detail in the IDnet letter to Ms. Rupe and Ms. Gamble that was circulated to each of you.
2. Naturalism Conflicts with the Scientific Method. Although Naturalism may work well in strictly empirical sciences,it does not work in origins sciences. In this area of science it clearly conflicts with the scientific method. The scientific method requires that a hypothesis be tested against all competing hypotheses and their related evidence. With regard to origins science, Naturalism censors the competing design hypothesis and declares it to be invalid as a matter of assumption and not as a matter of evidence.The need to test a hypothesis against a competing hypothesis is recognized by the Sixth Draft where it is stated that:”Inquiry is central to science learning. These standards call for more than “science as a process,” in which students learn discrete skills such as observing, inferring, and experimenting. When engaging in inquiry, students describe objects and events, ask questions, construct explanations, test those explanations against current scientific knowledge, and communicate their ideas to others. They identify their assumptions, use critical and logical thinking, and consider alternative explanations. In this way, students actively develop their understanding of science by combining scientific knowledge with reasoning and thinking skills. (emphasis added) However, after enunciating the requirement that alternative explanations be considered, the Sixth Draft uses naturalism to censor the design hypothesis rather than to encourage its objective consideration. One of the better examples is Benchmark 3 of Standard 5 for grades 1-4:“
Benchmark 3: All students will distinguish between natural and human-made objects. Some objects occur in nature; others have been designed and made by people to solve human problems and enhance the quality of life. (emphasis added)In this Benchmark, it is assumed, without discussion, that natural systems are not designed. What is the basis for the assumption that no design is involved in the creation of a falcon when we know that highly sophisticated design and engineering is involved in the human design and construction of a much less sophisticated F-16 Fighting Falcon jet fighter? The basis is not found in any objective examination of the evidence. The basis is found in the definition of science in the Sixth Draft that only permits “natural explanations.”Thus, instead of asking children whether birds or flowers are designed, the draft seeks to lead our children into the naturalistic belief that they are not the products of design. If we were to teach children origins science according to the scientific method we would ask them to consider and confront the evidence that supports the competing design hypothesis rather than leading them away from it. It should be noted that this slight of hand occurs by violating another of the scientific principles noted above that require students to “identify their assumptions.” Not only does the Sixth Draft fail to identify its naturalistic bias as an assumption (except with one word in the definition of science) it leads students into thinking that there are no assumptions other than the objectivity enunciated by the quoted paragraph. This is misinformation that is exceedingly deceptive. The science community responsible for the Sixth Draft should be aware that Naturalism is driving the teaching. It violates its public trust when it omits to tell students about that assumption and the effect of that assumption on the credibility of the explanations given. This is why Michael Ruse, a Darwinist philosopher of science, recently declared that evolution has become a religion.
If origins science would stick to the scientific method and allow this historical science to be written objectively and without philosophical and religious bias, then it would qualify for our respect and attention. Otherwise, it really does become nothing more than a myth and a religion.3. Teaching Naturalism conflicts with the Establishment clause of our Constitution by mandating bias rather than neutrality with respect to a fundamental religious issue.The First Amendment to the Constitution provides that the federal government will impose no law or regulation “respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” The court has also held that by virtue of the 14th Amendment, the First Amendment also applies to any state or local government or subdivision thereof. This has been construed by the Supreme Court to mean that the “principal or primary effect” of a state action must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion [Board of Education v. Allen, 392 U.S. 236, 243, 88 S.Ct. 1923, 1926 (1968)]. Similarly, the Supreme Court has held that a state institution that encourages open discourse on a subject may not censor single or multiple viewpoints without violating the Free Speech clause of the constitution [Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, 515 U.S. 819, 831-2, 115 S.Ct. 2510,2518 (1995)].The neutrality required by the Constitution is articulated by Justice O’Connor in her concurring opinion in the Rosenberg v. Rector, et. al, at page 846 (2525 S.Ct.) as follows:”‘We have time and again held that the government generally may not treat people differently based on the God or gods they worship, or do not worship.’ [Citations omitted]. This insistence on government neutrality toward religion explains why we have held that schools may not discriminate against religious groups by denying them equal access to facilities that the schools make available to all. [citations omitted]. Withholding access would leave an impermissible perception that religious activities are disfavored: ‘[The message is one of neutrality rather than endorsement; if a State refused to let religious groups use facilities open to others, then it would demonstrate not neutrality but hostility toward religion.‘ [citations omitted]. ‘The Religion Clauses prohibit the government from favoring religion, but they provide no warrant for discriminating against religion.'[citations omitted]. Neutrality, in both form and effect, is one hallmark of the Establishment Clause.” (emphasis added)Although neither design nor Neo-Darwinism in and of themselves constitute a religion, design and the naturalistic underpinning of Neo-Darwinism give rise to serious religious implications. Although design does not require theism, all theistic religions that are based on a deity that intervenes in the material world mandate a design-based view of origins. By excluding design as a possible cause of life and its diversify, Naturalism is unavoidably hostile to theistic beliefs.Accordingly, if a public school system censors evidence of design that exists in nature due to the naturalistic philosophy of science it will have the “effect” of inhibiting or antagonizing the religious beliefs of students who are taught to believe that a designer is responsible for life and its diversity. Under these circumstances, the parent of such a child would have cause to complain that the School was violating the principle of government neutrality. The parents and child would claim denigration of their religious beliefs by State-sponsored promotion of a philosophy (Naturalism) which suppresses evidence consistent with and supportive of their beliefs.By the same token, if a school were to censor naturalistic views of origins, the school system would be denigrating atheistic beliefs while promoting theistic beliefs. In that case, atheistic parents would have cause to complain.Accordingly, the only way a public school system can achieve the neutrality required by the Supreme Court is to not censor reliable scientific evidence which supports either causal explanation. In this way the evidence of both theories of origins will be allowed to compete freely and to be open to no-holds-barred testing in the market place of ideas.4. Naturalism is Converting Darwinian evolution into a Religion that is Profoundly affecting Our Moral and Ethical Values.Darwinism has spawned a growing secular religion that is having an enormous impact on our culture. Recently, the highly regarded ex Christian, Darwinist and philosopher Michael Ruse published a paper complaining that “evolution” has become a religion. In “How Evolution Became a Religion,” http://www.nationalpost.com, (May 13, 2000), Mr. Ruse tells about his complaint:” Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion — a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality. I am an ardent evolutionist and an ex Christian, but I must admit that in this one complaint — and Mr. Gish is but one of many to make it — the literalists are absolutely right. Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.” (emphasis added) But what is it that makes Darwinian evolution a religion? What is the mechanism that causes that to happen? It is Naturalism that enables Darwinian evolution to become a religion. Its censorship of the competing hypothesis makes it possible for the stage to be occupied by only one point of view. Mr. Ruse’s plea that scientists stop making evolution into a religion will be answered only when they allow the theory to compete fairly in the market place of ideas with the competing design hypothesis. Until that happens it will become more of a religion than it is now.
The subtle evangelism practiced by Naturalists is explained by Nancy Pearcey in a speech that was delivered at a Congressional Briefing on Intelligent Design on Capitol Hill on May 10, 2000(1).”One of the most vexing questions since Darwin’s own day is what his theory means for religion. Not long ago, I picked up a nature book for my little five-year-old about the Bernstein Bears, the highly popular picture-book characters. In this book, the Bear family invites us on a nature walk, and as you read you suddenly come across a two-page spread with a startling slogan sprawled across both pages with capital letters: Nature is “all that IS, or WAS, or EVER WILL BE.” “Have we heard that somewhere before? The words echo the well-known line from Carl Sagan’s PBS show “Cosmos”: “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.” Sagan was echoing the classic Christian liturgy (“as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever will be”), and what he was offering was nothing less than a religion of naturalism–where nature takes the place of God as the ultimate and eternal reality. What Sagan did for adults, the Bernstein Bears are doing for young kids. Once Darwinian evolution becomes entrenched via Naturalism it then offers to provide a basis not only for our scientific considerations but also our moral and ethical values. This offer was recently made by Ernst Mayr, one of the “Towering figures in the history of evolutionary biology” in his recent article on the “Influence of Darwin on Modern Thought,” at page 82 and 83 of the July 2000 issue of Scientific American:”…..Darwin provided a scientific foundation for ethics.
“3. Like other aspects of an organism’s biology, behaviors have evolved through natural selection.Examples: Behaviors are often adaptive when viewed in terms of survival and reproductive success. Behavioral biology has implications for humans, as it provides links to psychology, sociology, and anthropology. (emphasis added) [Benchmark 6 of the Life Sciences Standard for grades 9-12] It is misleading to flatly state that “behaviors have evolved through natural selection,” without first stating that this conclusion is based on a philosophy of naturalism and that thedirect evidence for the assertion is completely speculative and conjectural. It is even more misleading, without stating that critical assumption, to then imply a similar origin for human behavior. However, the more dangerous effect of this misleading teaching is that it will allow our children to think of themselves as nothing more than animals and soft machines whose ethics and morals can be based on whatever they decide or whatever the scientific elite tells us about nature, which is “all that IS, or WAS, or EVER WILL BE.”SUGGESTED REVISIONS AND COMMENTARYThe specific revisions which we suggest are shown below. The changes suggested are shown within their context. Proposed additions are underlined in bold face type. Proposed deletions are shown with a single line strikeout: strikeout. A set of asterisks (*****) indicate the omission of text which is not subject to any proposed change.Following each “Revision” is a “COMMENT” section that explains the reasons for each of the suggested revisions.
Revision 1. INTRODUCTION – Nature of Science – Change in the Definition of Science.
“Nature of Science”Science is the human activity of seeking logical natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us. Science does so through the use of observation, experiment, and logical argument while maintaining strict empirical standards and healthy skepticism. Scientific explanations are built on observations, hypotheses, theories.
“Scientific explanations are consistent with experimental and/or observational data and testable by scientists through additional experimentation and/or observation. Generally, scientific explanation must meet criteria that govern the repeatability of observations and experiments. The effect of these criteria is to insure 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. However certain sciences that are historical in nature may not be subject to the experimentation, observability and testability that may be conducted in sciences where phenomena may be tested in the present as with pure physics and chemistry. This is the case with evolutionary biology and other historical sciences that attempt to explain past or historical events such as the cause of the universe and of life and its diversity where past events can not be reconstructed and tested in real time. “Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes. Instead one constructs a historical narrative, consisting of a tentative reconstruction of the particular scenario that led to the events one is trying to explain.” (Ernst Mayr, “Darwin’s Influence on Modern Thought” (Scientific American, July 2000, p 80)”” Because All scientific explanations depend on observational and experimental confirmation, all scientific knowledge is in principle, are 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.” *******COMMENT To Revision 1The definition of science used in the current standards is:”Science is the human activity of seeking logical 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.”Although we believe a somewhat different definition of science might be more appropriate,(2) we oppose the proposed change that would substitute the word “natural” for “logical.”This is obviously the most important issue in the entire document. The proposed change mandates the teaching of Naturalism to our school children. We oppose that for all the reasons mentioned above.The definition in the Sixth Draft that imposes a naturalistic limitation on science inquiry is also clearly at odds with the commonly accepted meaning of the word “science.” The Webster’s definition does not contain the naturalistic limitation on explanation, but rather equates science with a search for the truth: “Science …..“3. a: accumulated and accepted knowledge that has been systematized and formulated with reference to the discovery of general truths or the operation of general laws : knowledge classified and made available in work, life , or the search for the truth: comprehensive, profound, or philosophical knowledge; esp. knowledge obtained and tested through the scientific method ….
b: such knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena: natural science.”[Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged, 1993]A naturalistic limitation on inquiry will impede rather than aid “the discovery of general truths” and a “search for the truth.”A word search on the Sixth Draft for the word “truth.” results in the following response:
“Teachings About Origins
“Any teaching about origins has religious and philosophical implications. This is particularly true with respect to teachings about the cause of life and its diversity. A naturalistic teaching that life and its diversity results only from mechanisms of chance and necessity, such as Darwinian evolution guided by random mutation and natural selection, implies that no intelligent agent or god has intervened in the process. Accordingly, the implications of that teaching are consistent with atheism and inconsistent with theistic religions founded on the belief that a God does intervene in the material world. A teaching that life and its diversity may result from design implies the intervention of an intelligent agent. Accordingly, the implications of that teaching are consistent with theism.
“Good science education about origins issues should not censor the teaching of evidence of any of the possible causes of life and its diversity so long as the evidence is reliable, is relevant to and logically supportive of the issue and is not being presented to advocate any particular religious or philosophical belief. In particular, scientific teachings about the cause of life and its diversity should not be based on a philosophy of naturalism nor should they be based on any religious belief or teaching about creation. Naturalism is “the doctrine that cause-and-effect laws (as of physics and chemistry) are adequate to account for all phenomena and that teleological [design] conceptions of nature are invalid” (Webster’s Third New International Dictionary).
“If a teacher is censored from discussing evidence of design so that the teacher may only teach a theory based on mechanisms of chance and necessity, then the school may be causing the state to promote atheistic beliefs in a way that has the effect of denigrating theistic beliefs. If a teacher is censored from discussing evidence of Darwinian evolution based on natural selection and random mutation so that the teacher may only teach a theory based on design, then the school may be causing the state to promote theistic beliefs in a way that has the effect of denigrating atheistic beliefs and religions which are not theistic.
“Teachers should also not be censored from teaching evidence that tends to criticize any theory of origins for the same reasons. Censorship of evidence critical of any theory of origins will tend to promote the protected theory and its atheistic or theistic implications. Censorship of the evidence will also undercut the credibility of the protected theory and will be inconsistent with the fundamental principle of science that all theories should be held open to testing and criticism.
“Any conclusions expressed by a teacher regarding the weight of the evidence supporting any particular theory should be formed objectively and tentatively, based on the strength of the evidence and not on any religious or philosophical view or belief. The tentativeness of any such conclusion is important since ultimate answers to the issue of the origin of life are currently unknowable based on available technology.
“Teachers should also be encouraged to explain to science students an objective history of the philosophy of science and how that philosophy changed with the advent of Darwinism to a philosophy of naturalism. Science teachers should carefully explain that naturalism is merely a belief or philosophy and that explanations of origins may be affected by this belief or philosophy.“ *******COMMENT To Revision 2This section has been added because the Sixth Draft makes no distinction between teachings about origins and teachings about other aspects of scientific knowledge. In addition to the fact that origins science is essentially a historical science that sets it apart from other sciences, it is also a science that necessarily causes public schools to encounter religious subject matter. This raises a legal issue. As indicated above, the Supreme Court has held that a state must deal with religious issues neutrally. Such neutrality can not be achieved when the science of origins is taught with a preconceived and philosophic bias against any design inference.The proposed addition to the standards illustrates the problem and offers a solution that is consistent with logic, good science and our Constitution.Revision 3. INTRODUCTION – Teaching With Tolerance and Respect********
“Teaching With Tolerance and Respect
“Science studies natural phenomena by formulating explanations that can be tested against the natural world. Some scientific concepts and theories (e.g. blood transfusion, human sexuality, nervous system role in consciousness, cosmological and biological evolution, etc.) may conflict with the teachings of a student’s religious community or their cultural beliefs. Although a science teacher has the responsibility to improve students understanding of scientific processes, concepts, and theories, the science teacher should not promote evidence, theories or concepts to advance a philosophic or religious belief. In addition, However, science should not be taught dogmatically. Compelling student belief is inconsistent with and in conflict with the goal of education.”
” A teacher is an important role model for demonstrating respect. sensitivity, and civility. Teachers should not ridicule, belittle or embarrass a student for expressing an alternative view or belief. In doing this, teachers display and demand tolerance and respect for the diverse ideas, skills, and experiences of all students. If a student should raise a question in a natural science class that the teacher determines to be outside the domain of science, the teacher should treat the question with respect. The teacher should explain why the question is outside the domain of natural science and encourage the student to discuss the question further with his or her family and other appropriate source. However, teachers shall not classify a question as outside the domain of science simply because it conflicts with a naturalistic view of the cause of life and its diversity.“*******COMMENT To Revision 3In prior versions of the Sixth Draft, the naturalistic guidance to teachers who receive questions that are not within the “domain of science” was to refer the student to the student’s family or clergy. The problem is that neither have the qualifications necessary to address the quality of the evidence of design that exists in the universe and in living systems. Apparently recognizing the inability of members of the clergy to address these issues, the Sixth Draft simply proposes to refer these questions to another “appropriate source,” without identifying the “source.” Well, what is the source for knowledge about the evidence of design that exists in nature? The sources are scientists – geologists, biochemists, biologists, mathematicians, astronomers, chemists, physicists, information theorists and computer scientists, and so forth. If indeed the other appropriate sources are scientists, then why should this evidence be classified as outside the “domain of science.” This issue merely highlights the inappropriateness of using Naturalism to censor scientific inquiry and analysis by limiting the “domain of science.”Revision 4. INTRODUCTION – Unifying Concepts and Processes in the Kansas Science Education Standards******
“Unifying Concepts and Processes in the Kansas Science Education Standards
“Constancy, Change, and Measurement: Although most things are in the process of becoming different-changing-some properties of objects and processes are characterized by constancy (e.g., speed of light, charge of an electron, total mass plus energy in the universe). Changes might occur, for example, in properties of materials, position of objects, motion, and form and function of systems. Interactions within and among systems result in change. Changes vary in rate, scale, and pattern, including trends and cycles. Equilibrium is a physical state in which forces and changes occur in opposite and off-setting directions. For example, opposite forces are of the same magnitude, or off-setting changes occur at equal rates. Steady state, balance, and homeostasis also describe equilibrium states. Interacting units of matter tend toward equilibrium states in which the energy is distributed as randomly and uniformly as possible. Changes in systems can be quantified, and evidence for interactions and subsequent change and the formulation of scientific explanations are often clarified through quantitative distinctions-measurement. All measurements are approximations, and the accuracy and precision of measurement depend on equipment, technology, and technique used during observations. Mathematics is essential for accurately measuring change. Different systems of measurement are used for different purposes. Scientists usually use the metric system. An important part of measurement is knowing when to use which system. For example a meteorologist might use degrees Fahrenheit when reporting the weather to the public, but in writing scientific reports, the meteorologist would use degrees Celsius. We do not know why many changes or patterns of events have occurred. For example, we do not have a complete scientific explanation for the cause of: the origin of the universe and its laws, the origin of life and its diversity, or the causative agent of the mind and its capacities to perceive, think, reason and decide. Although theories are postulated about these events, all of the theories are controversial.
“Patterns of Cumulative Change: Accumulated changes through time, some gradual and some sporadic, may account for some of the present form and function of objects, organisms, and natural systems. Present phenomena are often best understood in the light of the historical processes that produced them. The general idea is that the present arises from materials and forms of the past. An example of cumulative change is the biological theory of evolution, which explains the process of descent with modification of organisms from common ancestors. Additional examples are continental drift, which is part of plate tectonic theory, fossilization, and erosion. Patterns of cumulative change also help to describe the current structure of the universe.
“Form and Function: Form and function are complementary aspects of objects, organisms, and systems. The form or shape of an object or system is frequently related to use, operation, or function.In systems that have been designed by humans or animals the form can generally be explained in relation to the purpose for which the objects or systems were designed. In this respect “form follows function.” Function frequently relies on form. Understanding of form and function applies to different levels of organization. Form and function can aid in the explanation of explaineach other.”*****COMMENT To Revision 4Although it is clear that things change over time and that those changes may influence subsequent events, scientists still are very much in the dark as to the mechanisms or means that direct change. We simply do not know what causes some changes. Rather than imply that we have all the answers, truth would be better served by simply acknowledging our ignorance. This is reflected in the first suggested revision to this section.Consistent with this ignorance, we should not teach a naturalistic “story” that cumulative change explains the appearance and diversity of life when great gaps in our knowledge exist. The second set of revisions in this section deal with the elevation of cumulative change as the solution to our ignorance. We know that patterns of events result from a combination of one of three causes – design, chance or necessity. However, we do not know, as the naturalistic paradigm mandates, that design is not involved and that change results only from chance and necessity and the cumulative changes that they produce.It is inappropriate to elevate Darwinian evolution and other naturalistic theories of change to one of five “unifying concepts.” A unifying concept should be one that has gained acceptance without protection from testing by the competing hypothesis and that is not subject to the degree of criticism that has been advanced against natural selection as a mechanism that can build irreducibly complex systems. But more importantly, a unifying concept should not be driven by a philosophy that censors consideration of highly relevant evidence. A unifying concept should gain its stature only by the weight of the evidence after objective and rigorous consideration and analysis. Since Darwinian evolution is driven by philosophy rather than the evidence, it is not entitled to be elevated to that of a “unifying concept.” The effect of such an undeserved promotion would only be to make it easier for Naturalistic censorship to operate.The last change in this section deals with the concept of form and function. We think the Sixth Draft misstates what most engineers recognize – that the form of an object is determined largely by the function for which it was designed. The Sixth Draft implies that function comes about as a result of the form of an object or system and thereby twists reality. Function does not follow form, rather, form follows function. When one designs a machine, the designer conceives of a target or purpose for the machine. The machine is then formed to accomplish that goal. We believe this is another example of evolutionary biology and Naturalism ignoring one of the evidences of design that exists in nature – living systems have forms that accomplish their apparent purpose/design in the ecosystem.Revision 5. By The End Of FOURTH GRADE – STANDARD 5: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY – Benchmark 3: All students will distinguish between natural and human-made objects.
“By The End Of FOURTH GRADE
“STANDARD 5: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
“Benchmark 3: All students will distinguish between natural and human-made objects.
“Some objects occur in nature; others have been designed and made by people to solve human problems and enhance the quality of life. Some naturally occurring objects have also been designed, such as birds’ nests, beavers’ dams and bees’ hives. Living systems and other naturally occurring objects give the appearance of design. Evolutionary biologists who adhere to a naturalistic philosophy hold that the design that is seen in living systems is merely an illusion and that these systems are not really designed. Other scientists believe that the available evidence is not sufficient to prove or convincingly establish the claim of illusion.
“Indicators: The student will:
” 4 1. Compare, contrast, and sort human-made versus natural objects.
Example: Compare and contrast real flowers to silk flowers.
” 4 2. Use appropriate tools when observing natural and human-made objects.
Example: Use a magnifier when observing objects.
” 3. Ask questions about natural or human-made objects and discuss the reasoning behind their answers.
Example: The teacher will ask, ‘Is this a human-made object? Why do you think so?’ When observing a natural or human-made object, the child will be asked the reasoning behind his/her answer.
Example: The teacher will ask, ‘Does the real flower appear designed like the human-made flower?'”*******COMMENT To Revision 5This Standard, without our suggested addition, assumes that natural systems are not designed and that this is what distinguishes them from human-made objects. The distinction is supported only by the unstated assumption of Naturalism. It is made in the face of the fact that natural systems actually appear to reflect a far more complex design than that which is evident in human-made objects. This is another example of a proposed misleading teaching.Revision 6. By The End of EIGHTH GRADE – STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE
“By The End of EIGHTH GRADE
“STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE
“Benchmark 5: The students will observe the diversity of living things and relate their adaptations to their survival or extinction.
“Millions of species of animals, plants and microorganisms are alive today. Animals and plants vary in body plans, and internal structures and genetic code. Evolutionary biologists theorize that Darwinian biological evolution, gradual changes of characteristics of organisms over many generations, may have has brought variations among populations. Therefore, A structural characteristic, process, or behavior that helps an organism survive in its environment and that is theorized to have resulted from natural selection is called an adaptation. When the environment changes and the adaptive characteristics are insufficient, the species becomes extinct.
“Some scientists believe that living systems exhibit a level of design that cannot be explained by Darwinian mechanisms. Apparent design is perhaps best exhibited in the genetic code that is in a form of a language that provides the instructions for the assembly of organisms. These scientists postulate that some adaptations may reflect design or guided modifications rather than change resulting only from natural selection or other unguided process.“Teachers guide students toward thinking about similarities and differences as students investigate different types of organisms. Students can compare similarities between organisms in different parts of the world, such as tigers in Asia and mountain lions in North America to explore the concept of common ancestry. Instruction needs to be designed to uncover and correct misconceptions about natural selection. Students tend to think of all individuals in a population responding to change quickly rather than over a long period of time. Using examples such as Darwin’s finches or the peppered moths of Manchester helps develop understanding of natural selection over time. (Resource: The Beak of the Finch by Jonathon Weiner). Providing students with fossil evidence and allowing them time to construct their own explanations is important in developing middle level students’ understanding of extinction as a natural process that has affected earth’s species over time.
“Students should also be encouraged to formulate other hypotheses for the fossil record than the Darwinian explanation.”
“Indicators: The students will:
” 7 1. Conclude that millions of species of animals, plants, and microorganisms may look dissimilar on the outside but have similarities in internal structures, developmental characteristics, and chemical processes.
Examples: Research numerous organisms and create a classification system based on observations of similarities and differences. Compare this system with a dichotomous key used by scientists. Explore various ways animals take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide.
” 7 2. Understand that adaptations of organisms-changes in structure, function, or behavior-contribute to biological diversity.
Example: Compare bird characteristics such as beaks, wings, and feet with how a bird behaves in its environment. When students work in cooperative groups to design different parts of an imaginary bird, relate characteristics and behaviors of that bird with its structures.
” 7 3. Associate extinction of a species with environmental changes and insufficient adaptive characteristics.
Example: Students use various objects to model bird beaks, such as spoons, toothpicks, clothes pins. Students use beaks to eat several types of food, such as cereal, marbles, raisins, noodles. When food sources change, species without adaptive traits die.”*****COMMENT To Revision 6The suggested revisions to this section use the term “Darwinian evolution” instead of “evolution.” We believe it is misleading to use the term “evolution” without adding a qualifier. Although the term “evolution” can mean simply change over time, the Sixth Draft uses it in a purely naturalistic sense so that all change is attributed only to natural processes such as natural selection. This use, without the “Darwinian” qualifier, will continue to confuse students, their parents and the public.It is also misleading to discuss the issue of what causes life and its diversity without introducing the competing hypothesis – that change may be designed. The omission of this concept is merely Naturalistic censorship at work.The suggested deletions regarding the reference to peppered moths and finch beaks is based on the desire that Kansas Science Standards not encourage a continuation of the misleading use of these examples in science text books as documented in the book, “Icons of Evolution,” which we have provided to you.The balance of the suggested changes are otherwise fairly self-explanatory.Revision 7. By The End Of TWELFTH GRADE – STANDARD 1: SCIENCE AS
INQUIRY; Benchmark 1: Students will demonstrate the fundamental
abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry.******
“By The End Of TWELFTH GRADE
“STANDARD 1: SCIENCE AS INQUIRY
“Benchmark 1: Students will demonstrate the fundamental abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry.
“Indicators: The students will:
” 1. Develop through experience a rich understanding and curiosity of the natural (material) world.”
******COMMENT To Revision 7We think it is inappropriate to limit natural to only the material world. Natural sciences are concerned with more than just “material” things. The natural world includes features which can not be reduced to the material. An example is the semantic character of biological information. In Benchmark 2 of Life Sciences for the grade 9-12 it is stated that “DNA provides the instructions that specify the characteristics of organisms.” These instructions constitute biological information having a semantic characteristic that can not be reduced to mass, energy or any measurable quantity. Other examples are the many faculties of naturally occurring minds, including human minds that have not been reduced to the material.*******Revision 8. By The End Of TWELFTH GRADE –
STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCEBenchmark 3: Students will understand
major concepts of Darwinian biological evolution.*******
” By The End Of TWELFTH GRADE
” STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE
” Benchmark 3: Students will understand(3) major concepts of Darwinian biological evolution.
(3)” Understand: “Understand” does not mandate “belief.” While students may be required to understand some concepts that researchers use to conduct research and solve practical problems, they may accept or reject the scientific concepts presented. This applies particularly where students’ and/or parents’ religion is at odds with science. See Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science, National Academy of Sciences, 1998, page 59.
“Understand: Although “Understand” does not mandate “belief” it should be recognized that beliefs are significantly affected by the information that is provided and by omitting to provide other relevant information. Accordingly, diligence should be used to insure that explanations provided do not exclude pertinent evidence or promote certain evidence for philosophic or religious reasons. In particular, teachings should not be driven by naturalism or any religious text, belief or doctrine. ”
“Indicators: The students will understand:
“1. That the theory of Darwinian evolution is both the history of descent with modification of different lineages of organisms from common ancestors and the ongoing adaptation of organisms to environmental challenges and changes (modified from Futuyma, 1998).
“10.2. That many biologists use Darwinian evolution theory to explain the earth’s present day biodiversity-the number, variety, and variability of organisms
“Some biologists believe that natural selection and random genetic drift are not competent to produce the information processing systems that distinguish living from non living systems. They theorize that a mind or some form of intelligence is necessary for the construction and assembly of the kind of information processing systems and biological machinery that comprise each cell in a living organism and the information processing network that comprises the organism. The design hypothesis is supported by (a) the apparent design that is observed in nature and particularly in living systems, (b) the lack of any known physical or chemical law or process that can account for the biological information or information processing systems found in living systems, (c) the apparent irreducible complexity of many biological systems and machines, (d) statistical studies indicating the improbability of such systems arising by chance-based Darwinian mechanisms, (e) comparisons of biological information systems with those that are human- made, (f) the abrupt appearance of phyla in the fossil record and (g) the existence of laws, constants and forces essential to life that fall within statistically improbable ranges.
“Example: Patterns of diversification and extinction of organisms are documented in the fossil record. The fossil record provides evidence of simple, bacteria-like life as far back as 3.8+ billion years ago almost simultaneously with the postulated habitability of our earth. Natural selection, and other processes, can cause populations to change from one generation to the next. A single population can separate into two or more independent populations. Over time, these populations can also become very different from each other. If the isolation continues, the genetic separation may become irreversible. This process is called speciation. Populations and entire lineages can go extinct. One effect of extinction is to increase the apparent differences between populations. As intermediate populations go extinct, the surviving lineages can become more distinct from one another. Although these patterns may be supportive of Darwinian evolutionary theory when extrapolated to the tree of life, the fossil record provides no continuous record of species-to-phyla diversification. Rather the fossil record shows evidence of the appearance of major phyla without previous ancestors (for example: the Cambrian explosion), a pattern that is more consistent with the design hypothesis.
“3. That many biologists recognize that the primary mechanisms of Darwinian evolution are natural selection and random genetic drift.
Example: Natural selection includes the following concepts: 1) Heritable variation exists in every species; 2) some heritable traits are more advantageous to reproduction and/or survival than are others; 3) there is a finite supply of resources required for life; not all progeny survive; 4) individuals with advantageous traits generally survive to reproduce; 5) the advantageous heritable traits increase in the population through time.
“10.4. The sources and value of variation.
Examples: Variation of organisms within and among species increases the likelihood that some members will survive under changed environmental conditions. New heritable traits primarily result from new combinations of genes and secondarily from mutations or changes in the reproductive cells; changes in other cells of a sexual organism are not passed to the next generation.
“5. That many scientists use Darwinian evolution by natural selection as is a broad, unifying theoretical framework in biology.
Examples: Darwinian evolution provides the context in which to ask research questions and yields valuable insights, especially in agriculture and medicine. The postulated common ancestry based on similarity of features of living things allows them to be classified into a hierarchy of groups; these classifications or family trees follow rules of nomenclature; scientific names have unique definitions and value. Natural selection and its evolutionary consequences provide a scientific explanation for the fossil record that correlates with geochemical (e.g., radioisotope) dating results. The distribution of fossil and modern organisms is related to geological and ecological changes (i.e. plate tectonics, migration). Certain aspects of the fossil record, the age of the earth based on radioisotope dating and plate tectonics are consistent with the Darwinian theory. However, this evidence is not inconsistent with the design hypothesis.”
COMMENT To Revision 8 We believe the commentary that discusses the distinction between belief and understanding in this context is misleading. Due to the use of Naturalism, the teaching of the subject under discussion in fact encourages belief in a philosophy rather an understanding developed through an objective and logical investigation of the two possible causes of life and its diversity. With naturalism, Darwinian evolution is the only possible answer to the question. Hence, the teaching in fact encourages belief rather than a mere understanding.The balance of the suggested revisions are fairly self-explanatory. The discussion of the design hypothesis is necessary to make the statements made not misleading. Also, it is necessary that all historical origin of life accounts be clearly identified only as theories or hypotheses so that they are not confused with facts and general scientific truths.
Revision 9. By The End Of TWELFTH GRADE –
STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE
Benchmark 6: Students will understand the behavior of animals.
” By The End Of TWELFTH GRADE
” STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE
” Benchmark 6: Students will understand the behavior of animals.
” Paragraph 3
“3. Like other aspects of an organism’s biology, behaviors have evolved through natural selection.
Examples: Behaviors are often adaptive when viewed in terms of survival and reproductive success. Behavioral biology has implications for humans, as it provides links to psychology, sociology, and anthropology.******COMMENT To Revision 9The reasons for this suggested revision have been discussed in the forepart of this letter. It is misleading to flatly state that animal behaviors “have evolved through natural selection,” without first stating that this conclusion is based on a philosophy of Naturalism and that the evidence for the assertion is speculative and conjectural. It is even more misleading, without stating that critical assumption, to then equate the origin of human behavior to the same cause.The lengths to which Darwinists will write evolutionary history to fit their naturalistic perspective is perhaps best exhibited by a review in the December 31, 2000 New York Times Book Review section that discusses a recently published book: Terry Burnham and Jay Phelan, “Mean Genes: From Sex to Money to Food: Taming our Primal Instincts.” The reviewer highlights the excess of speculation and conjecture as follows:”Evolutionary psychologists have been beating the Darwinian drum for some years now, invoking the Victorian scientist’s name to explain everything from sexual attraction and infanticide to selfishness and infidelity. But until now they have been mostly content to put forward their ideas in scholarly books, their bolder assertions — that a proclivity for rape is written in men’s genes, for example — stirring debate on the cocktail circuit and in the halls of academe.
“Now, however, two true believers in the power of evolutionary theory to explain human behavior have taken the next step; they have written a self help book….”
Benchmark 7 – Paragraph 10.4*******
” By The End Of TWELFTH GRADE
” STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE
” Benchmark 7: Students will demonstrate an understanding of structure,function, and diversity of organisms.
” Paragraph 10.4
“10. 4. The basic biology, diversity, anatomy, ecology and medical effects of major animal groups.
” Example: Animals vary; this variation is important in understanding the function of animals in farming, medical research, etc. Understanding the biology of animals underlies a scientific understanding of ecology.
5. Humans as complex, persons soft machines that require many systems to operate properly.******COMMENT To Revision 10This is a good example of the negative way in which Naturalism has influenced the Sixth Draft where humans are characterized as nothing more than “complex, SOFT MACHINES…” (Emphasis added). Although it is consistent with Naturalism that we be characterized as mere machines, we believe most of us and most scientists will agree that humans are far different than machines. While much of the anatomical structure and physiological processes of the human body may be described in machine-like analogies, it is clear from the intangible faculties of cognition, emotion, mental judgment, “free-will” and moral awareness that human life is far more than simply “soft machinery.” Although we would expect this error to be corrected in whatever standards are adopted, it is illustrative of how a naturalistic philosophy can lead us to a radical, de-humanizing world view.
Revision 11. By The End Of TWELFTH GRADE
STANDARD 6: SCIENCE IN PERSONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL PERSPECTIVES
Benchmark 1: Students will develop an understanding of the overall functioning of human systems and their interaction with the environment in order to understand specific mechanisms and processes related to health issues.
“By The End Of TWELFTH GRADE
” STANDARD 6: SCIENCE IN PERSONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL PERSPECTIVES
“As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students will develop an understanding of personal and community health, population growth, natural resources, environmental quality, natural and human-induced hazards, and science and technology in local, national and global settings.
“Benchmark 1: Students will develop an understanding of the overall functioning of human systems and their interaction with the environment in order to understand specific mechanisms and processes related to health issues.
“Indicators: The students will understand that:
” 1. Hazards and the potential for accidents exist for all human beings.
” 2. The severity of disease symptoms is dependent on many factors, such as human resistance and the virulence of the disease-producing organism.
Examples: Many diseases can be prevented, controlled, or cured. Some diseases, such as cancer, result from specific body dysfunctions and are not communicable.
” 3. Informed personal choices concerning fitness and health include an involve understanding of chemistry and biology. Mental health can profoundly affect physical health and many factors affecting mental health are outside the realm of natural science.
” 4. Selection of foods and eating patterns determine nutritional balance.
” 5. Sexuality is basic to healthy human development.
” 6. Intelligent use of chemical products relates directly to an understanding of chemistry.”
COMMENT To Revision 11 This section of the Standards implies that our health is merely a function of naturalistic processes. This is consistent with the naturalistic and materialistic philosophy which underlies the Sixth Draft. Its vice is that it may mislead students into believing that health is simply a function of materialistic causes, thereby avoiding the observable effect that mental and non materialistic processes have on our health. The suggested revision reflects the need to highlight the impact of mental health on our physical health.
Revision 12. By The End Of TWELFTH GRADE – STANDARD 7: HISTORY AND NATURE OF SCIENCE – Benchmark 2: Students will develop an understanding of the nature of scientific knowledge
” By The End Of TWELFTH GRADE
” STANDARD 7: HISTORY AND NATURE OF SCIENCE
“As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students will develop understanding of science as a human endeavor, the nature of scientific knowledge, and historical perspectives.
“Benchmark 2: Students will develop an understanding of the nature of scientific knowledge
“Indicators: The students will:
“10 1. Demonstrate an understanding of the nature of scientific knowledge.
“Examples: Scientific knowledge is generally empirically based, consistent with reality, predictive, logical, and is skeptical. Scientific knowledge is subject to experimental or observational confirmation. Scientific knowledge is built on past understanding and can be refined and added to. However, ” Evolutionary biology, in contrast with physics and chemistry, is a historical science — the evolutionist attempts to explain events and processes that have already taken place. Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes. Instead one constructs a historical narrative, consisting of a tentative reconstruction of the particular scenario that led to the events one is trying to explain.” (Ernst Mayr, “Darwin’s Influence on Modern Thought” (Scientific American, July 2000, p 80)
“Due to the historical nature of origins science it is especially important that the history be written objectively and logically without philosophic or religious motive.”
COMMENT To Revision 12 This section is misleading because it omits to explain that much of the science covered by the Standards is historical science that is driven by Naturalism. Our suggestions attempt to cure this problem. The suggested revisions have also been discussed in the INTRODUCTION and are otherwise self-explanatory.
Revision 13. Appendix 1 GLOSSARY
“Evolution-Biological or Darwinian Evolution: A scientific theory that accounts for attempts to explain present day similarity and diversity among living organisms and changes in non-living organisms entities over time without attributing any such developments to an intelligent agent. With respect to living organisms, Darwinian evolution has two major perspectives: The long-term perspective focuses on the branching of lineages; the short-term perspective centers on changes within lineages. In the long term, Darwinian evolution is the descent with modification of different lineages from common ancestors. In the short term, Darwinian evolution is the on-going adaptation of organisms to environmental challenges and changes.
“Evolution-Cosmological: With respect to non-living entities, evolution accounts for evolutionary theory attempts to explain sequences of natural stages of development. Such sequences are postulated to be a natural consequence of the characteristics of matter and energy. Stars, planets, solar systems, and galaxies are examples postulated to be the natural consequences of the interaction of matter and energy.
“Evolution-Macroevolution: Darwinian evolution above the species level. The evolution of higher taxa and the product of evolutionary novelties such as new structures (May, 1991). It is postulated that Macroevolution continues the genetic mechanisms of microevolution and adds new considerations of extinction, rate and manner of evolution, competition between evolving units, and other topics relevant to understanding larger scale evolution.
“Science: The human activity of seeking natural logicalexplanations for what we observe in the world around us. These explanations are based on observations, experiments, and logical arguments that adhere to strict empirical standards and a healthy skeptical perspective.
COMMENT TO Revision 13The suggested revisions have been discussed above and are otherwise self-explanatory.Thank you for considering these suggestions.
Very truly yours,
s/John H. Calvert
John H. Calvert, J.D., Managing Director
s/William S. Harris
William S. Harris, Ph.D., Managing Director
s/Jody F. Sjogren
Jody F. Sjogren, M.S., CMI, Managing Director
3. ” Understand: “Understand” does not mandate “belief.” While students may be required to understand some concepts that researchers use to conduct research and solve practical problems, they may accept or reject the scientific concepts presented. This applies particularly where students’ and/or parents’ religion is at odds with science. See Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science, National Academy of Sciences, 1998, page 59.
“Understand: Although “Understand” does not mandate “belief” it should be recognized that beliefs are significantly affected by the information that is provided and by omitting to provide other relevant information. Accordingly, diligence should be used to insure that explanations provided do not exclude pertinent evidence or promote certain evidence for philosophic or religious reasons. In particular, teachings should not be driven by naturalism or any religious text, belief or doctrine. “