Texas science standards have been changed for the better, with stronger language than ever before! The “strengths and weaknesses” language had enough votes to be removed by two split votes 7-7 which was held last January, and another split vote happened in March …The Dallas newspaper online reported the following quotation…
“Geraldine Miller, R-Dallas, who opposed the weaknesses rule, argued that its supporters had “perverted” the debate by suggesting that the science standards would be “nothing” if they did not include the strengths-and-weaknesses requirement for evolution and other theories.”
Well actually I have to agree with Geraldine Miller, the supporters including myself was wrong about the elimination of the language “weaknesses rule” would lead to teaching evolution and other theories of science as equivalent to religious dogma.
What Geraldine Miller overlooked including myself, the replacement language is much more stronger than the “strengths and weaknesses” rule. It states, “in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations by using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.”
“Analyze and evaluate the evidence regarding formation of simple organic molecules and their organization into long complex molecules having information such as the DNA molecule for self-replicating life…analyze and evaluate scientific explanations concerning the complexity of the cell.”
In all practicality, the new language as presented above has the same meaning as the old strengths and weaknesses rule did, there is no opposition in meanings between the two whatsoever. The only difference is in the wording itself is much more detailed thus, making it stronger! Wow, what a huge victory for empirical science in Texas.
Too bad the Dallas paper overlooks this victory by focusing on just the wording of the old language, but this is exactly what proponents including myself wanted in the language concerning the science standards in Texas (and possibly elsewhere) because this means the students will have opportunity to “analyze, evaluate and critique” hypotheses of natural selection, mutations and common ancestry even evaluating the complexity of the cell in determining it’s origin rather than being indoctrinated by major storytelling as though it were dogmatically correct as state below in a blog by Ed Brayton…
“Don McLeroy, chairman of the Texas Board of Education, has an op-ed in the Austin American Statesman demonstrating perfectly both his ignorance of evolution and why all this talk of “strengths and weaknesses” is nothing more than a ruse to bring creationist arguments into science classrooms.”
“Supernatural explanations are, by definition, not testable in this dispute. The theory of evolution makes all sorts of risky predictions, patterns and observations that must be true if common descent is true.”
This is a circular argument which has nothing to do with the “weaknesses” rule which stood for 20 years in the science standards of Texas and none of Ed’s claims ever occurred as a result of having the rule in place. He’s not the only one, but those trying to defeat the language, used the same argument, something one normally uses before a rule is in place not 20 years after.
Even Ed admits the weaknesses, “evolution makes all sorts of risky predictions, patterns and observation” on the presumption, that common decent is true…And some claim as long as the origin is solid then there are no weaknesses in theories like evolution. I do agree, science has it’s limitations when it comes to such things as the supernatural but it’s certainly limited in an historical sense as well because scientists are unable to test origins.
What has been observed and tested today, would not work with the origin story in evolution, which has lead to speculating of some supposed scenario which would have worked in the distant past. Meaning the simple cells of the past are not here in the present, so this speculation cannot be tested at all so it’s replaced by storytelling.
It’s not good science to treat “risky predictions” as dogmatic fact to high students (until they get to college) because it might not lead a student to believe evolution is right and everything else which is critical of it is false. Indeed, what a huge victory for empirical science standards in the State of Texas!