Why Are Lobbists Against Being Critical About Evolution?

Back in 2008, Louisiana passed a law that was very controversial in the minds of some, which states the following…

C.  A teacher shall teach the material presented in the standard textbook supplied by the school system and thereafter may use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner, as permitted by the city, parish, or other local public school board unless otherwise prohibited by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

D.  This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.

The battle then turned to Texas science standards. The focus was on the strengths-and-weaknesses requirement for evolution and other theories. Lobbist Eugenie Scott and others lead the charge to remove the clause. They were successful! The language was removed but with something way better than anyone expected and to the horror of Scott! The new clause states as follows…

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.”

This was one of the most important victories on how science should be taught in the public schools and a major blow to the opposition. Why would the likes of lobbist Eugenie Scott and the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology who voted to not hold their convention in Louisiana as a result of the bill being passed, would be so against it? Why would there be opposition for the likes of Don McLeroy who was chairmen on the state board of education in Texas? Why were there attempts to kill his nomination?

“Shapleigh said there is a perception that McLeroy is using the chairmanship of the State Board of Education as a bully pulpit for promoting his religious point-of-view and pushing it into the public arena.

The nomination was eventually voted upon, and Don McLeroy was not confirmed as chairmen. So why the fuss? Obviously part had to do with critical thinking and the other part had to do with a creationist pushing for its teaching to students rather than an evolutionist. But doesn’t critically analyze mean to criticize and if one criticizes evolution in light of this three-year law, does this mean public schools like in Louisiana and Texas now teaches the overturning of evolution’s status as a ‘theory’ by consensus? No! So why then was there and still continues to be so much opposition that even lead to the removal of a well qualified chairmen?

Eugenie Scott tries to give her own rational on why students at the public schools cannot be taught critical thinking when it comes to evolution…This was posted in youtube on July 7, 2011…

In the video at 46:29, she says…“Okay, what else can you not do? I have a little asterisk here. You cannot teach evidence against evolution. There have been some court decisions that have talked about this including Kitzmiller, but there has not been a really clean test of this idea of teaching evidence against evolution…”

Later on in the video she clarifies why you can’t teach evidence against evolution, “There is no evidence against evolution…Nothing out there is running a big neon light saying, ‘Whoa! Evolution fails here! We have to toss it out!’ But “critical thinking” which has been passed has nothing to do with that statement. And it can’t be replaced by creationism because it’s outlawed in the public schools!

So the only thing she can get paid for in this battle is being afraid on what students believe in evolution if they are taught to be more critical about it and find out it’s not as solid as they try to make you believe. But like one scientist told me in here, scientists are always critical of “theories” and finds no logical reason why students can’t be either. The fact of the matter is, Christians are way more tolerate of other people’s beliefs than what is demonstrated with the creationism vs evolution debate.

The fact of the matter is, it took a creationist to get the best science standards which allows students to critically analyze every theory including evolution!

Emboldening Students With Critical Thinking In Science

How do mainstream science publications and special interests treat teaching critical thinking skills to students in science? A critical thinking skill lesson which doesn’t allow creationism or intelligent design to be taught. If you follow what happened in Louisiana while passing the “academic freedom” about two years or the Texas science standards. Much of what was said back then is once again being used by opponents who are in opposition to the majority of the State of Tennessee legisture which overwhelmingly voted to approve HR 368, the Teacher Protection Act!

They say, The Teacher Protection Act is going to allow creationism or intelligent design in the public schools with this typical claim often used…

“Alan I. Leshner, the chief executive officer of AAAS (which publishes ScienceInsider), said, “There is virtually no scientific controversy among the overwhelming majority of researchers on the core facts of global warming and evolution. Asserting that there are significant scientific controversies about the overall nature of these concepts when there are none will only confuse students, not enlighten them.”

This bill has nothing to do with whether or not evolution is a valid scientific theory or how many scientists agree with evolution who are government funded which by the way only pays for the promotion of evolution.

The bill states the following…

“This section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or non-beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.”

Do these same scientists believe they have every aspect of evolution solved based on observable data with their assumptions and predictions? This has to do with variants in evolution, not all theories or hypothesis within the framework of evolution are settled. In fact, many of them get falsified. We have observed this from what was found on Titan, for example. Where you have a couple of papers challenging other papers from an viewpoint based on the moon evolving, this would indicate things are far from settled on what is going on in Titan because they are only beginning to learn what is going on this amazingly designed moon. Of course what they are discovering there agrees more with the creationist model.

So what is it? It’s a question of what do scientists really know about reality. This is what the bill is all about. Yet, we see a bunch of crazy accusations which have no merit whatsoever!  In fact, they admit they don’t even know what the effects of the “academic freedom” in Louisiana after two years. It’s not that they couldn’t come up with one but so far it’s been a mute point after all that fuss they put up many months before the bill was passed.

Darwinists of the 19th century struggled to get academic freedom for their views; Darwin himself appealed to allowing both sides of a controversy to be heard but once they seized power, they took away the same principle in which they once fought for, just like communists or any other totalitarian government, religious or not. The only way to respond to their craziness and anti-christian position is to stand up to it with resolute firmness and courage, boldly speaking the truth with equanimity and without compromise!

Wanted: More Critical Thinking In Science

While in-state and out-of-state teachers protesting a bill in Wisconsin, that would require them to pay more out-of-pocket costs for heath-care and pensions, that would also give them the option to pay or not to pay union dues, and allow the government unions to negotiate wages but not benefits…There has been a few articles that are concerned about the lack of critical thinking with students concerning science.

But can this be done with evolution, after all when state science standards come up, critical thinking is labeled a creationist viewpoint that hinders a student from having the full enlightenment of Darwinism. Interesting enough, these articles say there is not enough critical thinking going on…

For example, phys.org

“Richard Arum of New York University conducted a study of more than 2,300 students between fall 2005 and spring 2009 examining test data and student surveys at 24 U.S. colleges and universities. Results, published in the book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, revealed 45 per cent of students made no significant improvement in critical thinking, reasoning or writing skills during the first two years, and 36 per cent showed no improvement after four years of schooling.

With such negative results, academic professionals are left to consider whether student apathy is to blame or if the study reflects a fundamental failing in the post-secondary education system.”

The study was a surprise for other because they believe that students are motivated and curious as ever, spending a great deal of time on their studies.  However, they missed the point, this wasn’t about how much time or motivation students have in science rather critical thinking abilities.

Science educators at times will conflate knowledge with acceptance. Only 37 adults accepted biological evolution in 2008 which was a result of a decline the past twenty years, reports…physorg. There should be an understanding of evolution that distinguishes itself from accepting evolution. If critical-thinking students are able to judge the evidence and accept or deny a theory, they should do so on the basis of sound reasoning!

For instance, evaluating evolutionary logic about it’s common ancestral doctrine….

“In the following photos of plants, the leaves are quite different from the “normal” leaves we envision. Each leaf has a very different shape and function, yet all are homologous structures, derived from a common ancestral form. The pitcher plant and Venus’ flytrap use leaves to trap and digest insects. The bright red leaves of the poinsettia look like flower petals. The cactus leaves are modified into small spines which reduce water loss and can protect the cactus from herbivory.”

According to evolutionary logic, how do designs so radically different from one another come from the same ancestral form? Well the designs are homologous, that’s that happens, they say.  How does this demonstrates their common ancestry? There is no evidence, all they show is a bunch of pictures with different plants and animals and then claim it’s common ancestry!  The evolutionary framework is so confined to a particular idea that it forces any resemblance no matter how small it is as compelling evidence that demonstrates evolution.

A tree has leaves, a flower has petals, a rose-bush has thorns, so evolution must be true, how absurd is this? The explanation is cult-like, new revelations from the prophets trying to explain their complexity. This is why students are lacking abilities in this area! Wanted: real critical thinking skills!

Texas Science Standards Revisited

During this 2008 school year, there has been and will be interesting debates over the science standards in Texas. Many have a vested interest, such as this science teacher in his blog where he claims, the standards are not only for Texas but a pattern for the rest of the nation as well…

“This is a big deal, because the standards Texas sets determine how textbooks are written not just for the Texas market, but for the rest of the nation.”

It’s a similar argument about the science standards in Louisiana when they passed a law allowing “critical thinking” in the public schools. Gov Jindal came under fire from liberal groups, and even some special interest who tried to have him recalled, but to no avail. The passage of the bill has had no major impact with the general population towards Governor Jindal in a negative sense.

So what is all the fuss, what is “critical thinking” about evolution mean? It states and I quote, “analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information.”

Is this a violation of the Dover trial as some have suggested? While it’s true that creationism and intelligent design have a critical view of evolution, but by knows means is critical thinking exclusive to only creationism or intelligent design. The definition of critical thinking in Texas is not teaching intelligent design nor is it teaching creationism in particular.

Those who make the argument are only using it to promote evolution in a dogmatic way to the students. Dogma degrees by the Pope are considered infallible in Roman Catholicism. This is something secular science should not be taught as or viewed as such. One more thing, the personal beliefs of people on the educational board in Texas, who endorse “critical thinking,” has no barring on the law’s practice itself.

Evolution should not be packaged as dogma, nor sold to students like in this case…“secular science is widely accepted or has strong evidence for it’s theory.” We know there are debates every so often that are published between high profile evolutionists themselves about the strengths and weaknesses of a particular evolutionary hypothesis or theory. Some of these debates need a subscription to review, but they are certainly public knowledge.

There are those who would argue, “well they still believe in evolution.” Yes, that is true, but students shouldn’t be required to believe in evolution in order to learn the much needed critical thinking skills in public education!

The new Texas Science Standards will soon be revealed online in a few days when they are I will add a link to this post so you can review them. Those who want to comment on those standards either positive or negative or have any suggestions, are encouraged to do so!

Barbara Forest: Religious Disclaimer Will Not Protect Critical Thinking

Last summer Louisiana passed a “critical thinking” bill that weakens a dogmatic stance on teaching evolution. The bill however, has strict language in it concerning religion as well…

“This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.” SB 733

Many special interest groups like the Louisiana Coalition for bad Science, oops I mean the Louisiana Coalition for Indoctrination, oops, I really meant the Louisiana Coalition for Science, there I knew I could do it…Groups like these have fought against the bill and lost. It was signed by the Governor and the school season is almost two months into the first semester of this bill.

Barbara Forest despite the strict language against promoting religious doctrine in the public schools, she and like some other liberals, still advocates it’s really a diabolical plot to advance religion in the public schools. She is basing her evidence on intelligent design groups like the Discovery Institute who supported the bill and the fact that the strict language against advancing any religion was included in the first place.

You can also find similar strict language prohibiting advancement of religious doctrine in the Academic Freedom Act and perhaps it’s main inspiration of placing such strict language in the SB 733 bill. It still in itself doesn’t make it a “plot” nor a false statement, if anything it makes it easier to sue the schools in hopes of either getting a settlement or a favorable ruling by the courts.

Barbara and others took the lost very hard. It’s quite clear, this will a first of a series of threats and baseless accusations (war of words) during the school year from her special interest group and others who support her position. So stayed tuned on this one!

The bill I believe, is the most balanced piece of legislation I have ever seen, and the strict language of prohibiting advancement in religious doctrine was a good idea. The government should not be in a position to teach about Scripture as it would be influenced by liberalism which promotes unsound doctrines of the faith.

Discussing specified complexity or irreducible complexity which is not written in any Bible text or any other religious text, would be proper. This is not teaching about religion, but science. It has a lot in common with the definitions of mechanics and architecture which I think these proposals could be based upon.  Whether or not, the public schools will teach about about these principles of complexity remains to be seen. But we do know for certain, evolution will be questioned more, and help understand the concept better rather than being indoctrinated by it. So stay tuned on this one also!

Science is not a tool to try and destroy Christianity or religion like militant atheists would like us to believe, rather it represents a structured discipline of systematic examination for the purpose of obtaining knowledge.

Texas Changes Science Standards with New Proposal

Under this new proposal, teachers would no longer be required to teach the “weaknesses” of the theory of evolution and are not allowed to discuss in biology classes other alternative conclusions like intelligent design, or creationism.  However, “the state Board of Education, where a majority of members have voiced support for retaining the current mandate to cover both strengths and weaknesses of major scientific theories, notably evolution, in science courses.”  Dallas News

It appears this proposal has caved in to special interest groups like the NCSE who claim creationists or ID proponents are trying to take over science classes methods of teaching while banning the teaching of evolution completely. But quite the opposite is true. Most of these special interest groups are generally opposed to the idea of calling evolution a “theory” in their attempts to dominate and keep out anything that might undermine their so-called scientific fact.

They argue that if “weaknesses” of evolution are added to biology science classes, this would mean teachers would be able to teach creationism in the public schools. Take the article in the NY Times for example, where it claims “strengths and weakness” is just replacing creator or intelligent design.

This argument has no substance as it just focuses on the label, under the guidelines what should be looked at what are exactly the strengths and weakness of evolution are they teaching with taxpayers money.  So where is the evidence for this particular accusation of teaching creationism in the public schools? I have yet to see an incident of teachers in Texas who taught creationism or ID in the public schools in the past. I’m sure the NY Times would have sighted an example or what it thought was an example of teaching ID or creationism under the terms “strengths and weaknesses” which has been part of teaching science in Texas since the 1980s.

The same argument with no foundation was used in LA when that bill was proposed about teaching “critical thinking” and it continues to be the argument as the bill passed in LA this past summer 2008. Generally most creation activists that I know of say, there is not enough evolution being taught, meaning public schools are only allowed to show evolutionary strengths not weaknesses. A typical example of this is not being able to teach evolution as a “theory” or use that term in the text books when teaching science.

It will be interesting to see if this new proposal will pass, predictions have been made and some claim it’s going to be a close vote considering there are many on the Texas school board who are not militant evolutionists. I would recommend the school board to vote against the new proposal.