Pro-evolution bill irritates creationists

There is legislature worming its way through Tennessee which has got the goat of many of the pro-evolution crowd as it opens the door for the promotion of creationism in public schools.

On the other side we have a “pro” evolution bill in Kentucky (and other places) that requires more time to be spent discussing the subject. Much like the creationist bill in Tennessee this has irritated some people.

So give you THIS. The pro-evolution crowd’s opposite number responding to the pro-evolution bill.

Kentucky (and 25 other states) are pushing new standardized tests (this includes college entrance exams).  Under the new standards, tests are required to devote about 1/3 of the test to biological evolution (between 25-40%).

It’s worth noting that the tests actually require 25-40% of the test be on evolution and genetics. Whilst the two subjects are very closely related as they both deal with inheritance they are not exactly the same thing. Genetics studies genes which evolution looks at change and adaptation over time.

Indeed, the science standards themselves include a range of genetic topics which, whilst relevant to evolution, are not purely evolutionary in nature. For example, there is a section dealing with the function of genes within the cell.

So the notion that a full third of the test is dedicated to biological evolution is just plain wrong.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are the product of a state-led initiative (KY) to develop educational standards that comply with the Framework (PDF, 13mb)….According to the NGSS and Kentucky Dept. of Education, these standards are not yet in place – but according to an ACTUAL test report, it would seem they are!  [If 34+% of the test was evolution before the NGSS is approved, what will it look like afterward?]

Like evolution and genetics, two things are being conflated here also. The NGSS is a new curriculum being developed for implementation later this year. The rules which mandate 25-40% of the exam deals with evolution and genetics are changes to test standards.

These are two separate pieces of school legislature, the latter of which has already been implemented (at least, as far as I can tell it has been). The test they cite as an example was taken whilst the new test standards were in effect, hence why a large quantity of it is on evolution and genetics.

It’s also worth noting that the example test says on it that “evolution and genetics” as the focus of 34% of the test. Even the annotation to emphasise how much of the test is on evolution also says that the questions were on evolution and genetics. Yet the blog post says that 34% was on just evolution.

WHAT’S WRONG WITH IT:

1. Evolution is only a theory.  It is NOT science and should not be taught as fact.  It deserves no more credibility or time than any other hypothesis.  Creation answers more questions and has more historical accuracy.

The following quote comes from the “framework” these creationists mistakenly believe is responsible for increasing the component of evolution (and genetics).

Science has developed explanatory theories, such as the germ theory of disease, the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe, and Darwin’s theory of the evolution of species. Although their role is often misunderstood—the informal use of the word “theory,” after all, can mean a guess—scientific theories are constructs based on significant bodies of knowledge and evidence, are revised in light of new evidence, and must withstand significant scrutiny by the scientific community before they are widely accepted and applied. Theories are not mere guesses

The fact that they continue to suggest the fact evolution is “only a theory” indicates evolution isn’t that great indicates that they haven’t read the very standards they are complaining about!

I suppose that isn’t so bad since these standards aren’t the one altering the tests, which is what their main gripe is with. But still, it would be nice for them to have read the section on evolution through before criticising it. Instead they just went with this knee jerk, uninformed response.

2.  It is a faith-based, state-sponsored religion.  It breeds humanism, atheism, and even racism.  It is morally corrupt and has no place in standardized testing – much less one-third of life science.

Reading through the “framework” they mistakenly argue is responsible for the changes in tests would also reveal whilst this is horrifically wrong. As the above quote from those standards reveals, theories – including evolution – changes and improves as new evidence comes to light.

Such a fluid, self-correcting idea is the very antithesis to the solid, immobile “faith.” After all, is not the unchanging permanence of the Bible often proclaimed by some as evidence for its validity? Such an argument would never fly with science.

3. Requiring students to learn and answer facts which violates their Bible-based convictions (freedom of religion) is unconstitutional.

It is worth remembering that there is nothing in the bill that mandates the school children believe evolution. Instead it merely asks that they learn about it.

Were they forced to renounce their creationist beliefs then freedom of religion might be violated, but as it stands this is merely exposing an individual to other ideas. Such exposition is not an infringement on religious freedom. Explaining there are people who disagree with you doesn’t violate your constitutional rights.

If it were comparative religion classes would have long since been outlawed.

4 thoughts on “Pro-evolution bill irritates creationists

  1. This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/04/pulpit-in-classroom-biblical-agenda-in.html with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

    • When Soviet Russia abandoned evolutionary theory it set back their biological sciences by nearly 50 years. But fundamentalism never learns and now people holding true to the key tenants they sorely believe are in danger of doing the same thing again.

  2. Ugh, this is one of the biggest reasons why I want to home school my children. I will be able to teach them to think on their own; not just parrot what they have had “explained” to them. Granted if all parents were truly involved in their children’s education this wouldn’t be such an issue to begin with.

    • Certainly these days many subjects, especially science, are just taught as a list of facts to be learned and memorised. Not much emphasis is placed on the method, or the critical thinking which drives progress forwards. IMO that is a massive set back to teaching the subject.

      The new guidelines being developed for those states do seem to be an improvement, but at the same time it still comes down to the individual teacher and how good they are. This is exacerbated by, for example, the recent legislature in Tenesse that allows teachers to deviate from the curriculum under the guise of academic freedom.

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