After reviewing a detailed version of the final draft concerning Texas revised version of science standards which is now set to go before the school board for consideration on January 21, 2009. I wanted to make a few comments about it.
While reading the final draft, I noticed it doesn’t go into great detail about naturalism other than just saying it’s part of their teaching science. Here is some of the biology science standards…
“In Biology, students conduct field and laboratory investigations, use scientific methods during investigations, and make informed decisions using critical-thinking and scientific problem solving.
“Students in Biology study a variety of topics that include: structures and functions of cells and viruses; growth and development of organisms; cells, tissues, and organs; nucleic acids and genetics; biological evolution; taxonomy; metabolism and energy transfers in living organisms; living systems; homeostasis; and ecosystems and the environment.”
For the most part, I would say creationists as well as proponents of intelligent design agree with the ever growing knowledge when it comes to learning about living organisms, cells, tissues and so on. All that is good science. However, biological evolution of course is not good science. I’m not saying it should be outlawed, but just the fact that it’s not good science.
The final draft concerning science standards in Texas makes an interesting comment…
“Students should know that some questions are outside the realm of science because they deal with phenomena that are not scientifically testable.”
I believe this should be referring to “historical science” where for example, one cannot test nor replicate the very first cell ever made in the lab. You certainly can test various present cells, but not that far back in the past. So that would be considered untestable. Yet, even though it’s not testable, it’s still considered as science.
Another interesting aspect on this subject can be brought into the discussion concerning the criteria of science in the draft. Creationism and Intelligent Design are considered non-testable therefore not science. Thomas D. Schneider who wrote a paper on Evolution of biological information seems to think both are testable via computer program. He states;
“This situation fits Behe’s (34) definition of ‘irreducible complexity’ exactly (“a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning”
“The ev model can also be used to succinctly address two other creationist arguments.”
Now do you see how murky these evolutionary scientists have done with their faith in Darwinism and to science? They want to skew the meaning and want to have it both ways. First, they argue it’s not testable, therefore it shouldn’t be defined as science. Second, it’s only testable if they believe it can be disproved, like in this case an intelligently designed computer program.
“Know scientific theories are based on natural and physical phenomena and are capable of being tested by multiple independent researchers. Unlike hypotheses, scientific theories are well-established and highly reliable explanations, but they may be subject to change as new areas or science and new technologies are developed.”
There one final thing about the skewing of the meaning of science as quoted in the previous commentary. In the Dover decision, the Judge laid out this criteria for failing to make it as a science standard. If the vast majority scientific community believes it can disprove your position. In this case it dealt with “irreducible complexity.” Then the Judge ruled it cannot be science.
Now back track to these “highly reliable” theories that the Texas Science Standards points out that could be falsified in the future. Theories which were falsified are still considered as science even though they have been refuted. So the explanations of attempting to refute or is believed to have been refuted like “irreducible complexity” which is testable, doesn’t reduce the proposal to a non-scientific status. This is the true meaning of science without the murky bias against creationism or intelligent design.
I feel sorry for students these days who have to go through a jungle when it comes to science standards which in some cases attacks their beliefs in a Creator. No wonder many future science teachers are confused about the true meaning of theories, but the majority (around 65 percent) are able to get the meaning of an hypothesis.
In conclusion, conspiracy theorists like the NCSE who claim, “the evidence continues to accumulate that calling for teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution is, in practice, simply a form of stealth creationism” has no evidence to substantiate such a claim. However, the draft does try to accomplish critical thinking without the language but with an increased emphasis on scientific theory as being “highly reliable” but also changeable.
The mixed (good and bad) with some murky concept of science criteria makes in some aspects the Texas Science Standards worse than ever before.