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Darwin freakout 2016: ID as threat to education

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From a paper at Perspectives in Science (October 15, 2016):

Science Standards: The foundation of evolution education in the United
States

Abstract: Science standards and textbooks have a huge impact on the manner in which evolution is taught in American classrooms. Standards dictate how much time and what points have to be dedicated to the subject in order to prepare students for state-wide assessments, while the textbooks will largely determine how the subject is presented in the classroom. In the United States both standards and textbooks are determined at the state-level through a political process. Currently there is a tremendous amount of pressure arising from anti-evolutionists in the United States to weaken or omit the teaching of evolution despite recommendations from central institutions such as the National Academy of Science. Results from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) showed that not only are American students performing below average, but also that their performance is declining as they scored worse in 2012 than they did in 2010. Interestingly PISA also found that the internal variation within a country is often greater than between countries with a variation of up to 300 points, which is equivalent to seven years of education pointing to the extreme heterogeneous quality of education within a country (OECD, 2012). An implementation of strong standards would not only help to increase the average performance of American students but could also alleviate the vast discrepancy between the highest and lowest scoring groups of American students. Although the Next Generation Science Standards have been in existence since 2013 and A Framework for K-12 Science Education has been available to the public since 2011 many American states still continue to create their own standards that, according to the Fordham study, are well below par (Lerner et al., 2012). Due to the political nature of the adoption procedure of standards and textbooks, there are many opportunities for interested individuals to get involved in the process of improving these fundamental elements of science education.

This opportunity to affect statewide science standards has in fact become a relatively new target for Darwin doubters; one that has a broader impact than local school-board decisions as Glenn Branch of the National Center for Science Education describes, “Savvy creationists are focusing their efforts on this relatively new arena ( Wallis, 2005, p.55).” And they are succeeding − the Fordham Institute published a report in 2012 about state science standards in the United States and found that the most important weakness in the science standards is how evolution is undermined and presented as a weak scientific theory in many states. They further found that although some states are teaching evolution better than they did in the past, the increasing pressure from anti-evolution groups continues to pose a serious threat to science standards in the United States (Lerner et al., 2012). This attempt to weaken the teaching of evolution by trying to emphasize the weaknesses and gaps in evolution is in essence the crux of the intelligent design movement (Wallis, 2005). For anyone who believes that intelligent design is less harmful to science education than its older cousin, creationism, must understand that intelligent design may be the most potent and dangerous version of creationism yet and it is a major threat to the scientific education of American students ( Blancke, 2014 and Forrest, 2007). This threat to science education is particularly relevant in the United States, since studies have shown that 69% of American students failed to meet the ACT’s college readiness benchmarks for science (ACT, 2012).

While the NGSS has provided states with support to create superior science standards, the Discovery Institute, a think-tank in Seattle that supports the promotion of intelligent design, is providing materials for individuals to use in local forums to accomplish the exact opposite. These documents that the Discovery Institute provides are scientifically abstruse, jargon-heavy documents that make it hard for the average citizen to follow but since the people who make up the decision committees tend to be small and from non-science backgrounds, this is an optimal place to use smoke and mirrors to affect political decisions (Basel et al., 2013, Wallis, 2005 and Williams, 2015). – Paper. (public access) Dip. Biol. Elizabeth Watts a, (Ph.D. candidate in the Research Group Didactics of Biology at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena), Doz. Dr.
Georgy S. Levit b, , Dr. Uwe Hoßfeld a, b, (Prof.)More.

These people mostly seem to be from out of town (= Europe and Russia), which is sure to get them classed as experts in education around here.

Actually, from a Canadian perspective, most of the problems that cause the United States to lag significantly behind Canada in education performance come from the relentless involvement of the U.S. federal government in the school systems.

In Canada, for constitutional reasons, public school systems are almost entirely a provincial responsibility. In a country of maybe 35 million people in 10 provinces and three territories, edu-pork barrels just don’t proliferate the way they do in the States.

Incompetence, insanity, and criminality are easier to address in a smaller system, provided the will is there. It does not take $100 million dollars and 50 legal cases to spot a problem and fix it.

But don’t expect ‘crat boys to warm to that approach any time soon. They can put of the day of reckoning by promoting exotic claims such as that ID is to blame.

See also: ID as terrorism? A friend sends this list of freakouts by Darwin’s followers some years ago, about the dangers the ID community poses: Can readers come up with more of this stuff? The Coffee Room here is thinking of starting a Mental Health Fund for Darwin’s followers.

and

Bill Dembski: It Takes Ganas: Jaime Escalante’s secret to inspired learning (How bureaucracy destroyed gifted math teacher’s highly rated program. But what else is new?)

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6 Replies to “Darwin freakout 2016: ID as threat to education

  1. 1
    rvb8 says:

    “These people mostly seem to be from out of town (= Europe and Russia),”

    Glen Branch of the NCSE, is Russian?

    I think your problem NEWS is that you block strip these pieces without actually having digested them.

    The controversy in Texas at the moment about ‘weaknesses ans strengths’ language, is not a global controversy. It is a controversy in Texas. Surely this is a problem in the United States only, as what Texas swallows, many other states also imbibe.

    To imply that the States needs no lessons in education from ‘the Old World’, and then to further insinuate that Canada is one step ahead of the US here, seems to hint at superiority of standards. Is this what you really mean?

    ‘The States are nice, but they have lost their way, come to the New New World in Canada?’

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Skipping over the many devastating weaknesses in Darwinian theory for now, devastating weaknesses that Darwinists don’t ever want mentioned in school, Theism, particularly Christianity, has a long history of being very conducive to good education in America.

    A few notes to that effect:

    The History of Christian Education in America
    Excerpt: The first colleges in America were founded by Christians and approximately 106 out of the first 108 colleges were Christian colleges. In fact, Harvard University, which is considered today as one of the leading universities in America and the world was founded by Christians. One of the original precepts of the then Harvard College stated that students should be instructed in knowing God and that Christ is the only foundation of all “sound knowledge and learning.”
    http://www.ehow.com/about_6544.....erica.html

    Bruce Charlton’s Miscellany – October 2011
    Excerpt: I had discovered that over the same period of the twentieth century that the US had risen to scientific eminence it had undergone a significant Christian revival. ,,,The point I put to (Richard) Dawkins was that the USA was simultaneously by-far the most dominant scientific nation in the world (I knew this from various scientometic studies I was doing at the time) and by-far the most religious (Christian) nation in the world. How, I asked, could this be – if Christianity was culturally inimical to science?
    http://charltonteaching.blogsp.....-wife.html

    The last graph on the following site shows that the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) scores for students showed a steady decline, for seventeen years from the top spot or near the top spot in the world, after the removal of prayer from the public classroom by the Supreme Court, i.e. legislation from the bench, in 1963.

    AMERICA: To Pray Or Not To Pray – David Barton – graphs corrected for population growth
    http://www.whatyouknowmightnotbeso.com/graphs.html

    What Happened When the Praying Stopped? April 6, 2008
    Excerpt: How did the removal of voluntary prayer from the schools of the United States (in 1963) affect our nation as a whole?,,,
    Figure 1 shows how drastically the actual knowledge of high school students began to drop at an accelerating rate after 1962. Barton notes in his report that the upturn in SAT scores since 1981 is due to the increase in private Christian educational facilities which began to flourish at that time. Statistics have proven that students from private Christian schools showed higher academic achievement and higher test scores.

    Figure 2: This graph shows the increase in sexual activity in unmarried teen-age girls after the 1962 Supreme Court decision. It is evident from the figures provided that in the years previous to the removal of prayer the rates remained stable and relatively unchanged. In the post- prayer years the numbers immediately began to soar. The sudden increase on the graph appears as if a great restraining force had suddenly been removed.

    Figure 3: Unwed women 15-19 years of age showed a phenomenal increase in the rate of pregnancies after the School Prayer decision. Note that the figure jumps drastically after the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision which made abortion legal in the U.S. The United States now has the highest incidence of teen-age motherhood in any Western country.

    Figure 4: For the 15-19 and 20-24 age group, the rates of youth suicide remained relatively unchanged during the years from 1946 to the School Prayer decision in 1962. But in the years since, suicides among the same group have increased 253 percent, or an average of 10.5 percent per year.

    Figure 5: Stability in the family has also been affected since the 1962 decision. Divorce, single parent families, couples living together but not married, and adultery are areas of family breakdown which have experienced radical growth in recent years. In the graph above, the increase in single parent families (households with only a mother and children) are detailed. Note the dotted line at the bottom, which shows the rate of growth prior to the 1962 decision.

    Figure 6: Crime, productivity, and national morality had been on a fairly stable level prior to the 1962 decision, but that is no longer the case. It is obvious that such a quantity of students praying for their nation had a very positive effect on the course that this nation had taken. The rate of violent crime, as shown above, has risen over 330 percent.
    http://www.forerunner.com/fore.....opped.html

    The Devastating Effects When Prayer Was Removed From School in America in 1962-63 – David Barton – video
    (excerpted from Barton’s “America’s Godly Heritage’ lecture)
    https://youtu.be/1No–GpdqCY

    “I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by men who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.,,, All my discoveries have been made in answer to prayer.”
    – Sir Isaac Newton – Perloff, Tornado in a Junkyard – p241

    “When I was young, I said to God, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the universe.’ But God answered, ‘That knowledge is for me alone.’ So I said, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.’ Then God said, ‘Well George, that’s more nearly your size.’ And he told me.”
    George Washington Carver

    Of related note: The term ‘separation of church and state does not even appear anywhere in the constitution but is a term that was lifted from one of Jefferson’s letters to the Danbury Baptists and then twisted almost 180 degrees out of its original context:

    Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists – January 1, 1802
    Excerpt: Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black,, in 1947, put forth the,, argument for a radical separation of religion and politics, he cited Jefferson’s metaphor: “[t]he First Amendment has erected a wall of separation between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable.”
    Jefferson’s actual aim was quite to the contrary.,,,
    The “wall” does not imprison the free exercise of religion. Rather, Jefferson sought to prevent the domination of particular sects, making free the religious practices of all.
    http://www.heritage.org/initia.....y-baptists

    The Mythical “Wall of Separation”: How a Misused Metaphor Changed Church–State Law, Policy, and Discourse
    By Daniel L. Dreisbach
    Excerpt: The First Amendment, with all its guarantees, was entirely a check or restraint on civil government, specifically Congress. The free press guarantee, for example, was not written to protect the civil state from the press; rather, it was designed to protect a free and independent press from control by the federal government.
    Similarly, the religion provisions were added to the Constitution to protect religion and religious institutions from corrupting interference by the federal government and not to protect the civil state from the influence of, or overreaching by, religion.
    http://www.heritage.org/resear.....-discourse

    David Barton – (The Fallacy of) Separation of Church and State (Full) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7mlU34etOk

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Also of related note: Let us be VERY clear to the fact that ALL of science, every discipline within science, is dependent on basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and the ability of our mind to comprehend that rational intelligibility.,,,

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    Moreover, if we cast aside those basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and the ability of our mind to comprehend that rational intelligibility, and try to use naturalism as our basis for understanding the universe, and for practicing science, then everything within that atheistic/naturalistic worldview, (i.e. supposed evidence for Darwinian evolution, observations of reality, beliefs about reality, sense of self, free will, even reality itself), collapses into self refuting, unrestrained, flights of fantasy and imagination.

    Darwinian evolution, and atheism/naturalism in general, are built entirely upon a framework of illusions and fantasy
    Excerpt: Thus, basically, without God, everything within the atheistic/naturalistic worldview, (i.e. supposed evidence for Darwinian evolution, observations of reality, beliefs about reality, sense of self, free will, even reality itself), collapses into self refuting, unrestrained, flights of fantasy and imagination.
    It would be hard to fathom a more unscientific worldview than Darwinian evolution and Atheistic materialism/naturalism in general have turned out to be.
    Scientists should definitely stick with the worldview that brought them to the dance! i.e Christianity!
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q94y-QgZZGF0Q7HdcE-qdFcVGErhWxsVKP7GOmpKD6o/edit

    After realizing just how hostile the naturalistic worldview is the practice of modern science, it should not be all that surprising to learn that modern science was born out of the Christian worldview:

    The Threat to the Scientific Method that Explains the Spate of Fraudulent Science Publications – Calvin Beisner | Jul 23, 2014
    Excerpt: It is precisely because modern science has abandoned its foundations in the Biblical worldview (which holds, among other things, that a personal, rational God designed a rational universe to be understood and controlled by rational persons made in His image) and the Biblical ethic (which holds, among other things, that we are obligated to tell the truth even when it inconveniences us) that science is collapsing.
    As such diverse historians and philosophers of science as Alfred North Whitehead, Pierre Duhem, Loren Eiseley, Rodney Stark, and many others have observed,, science—not an occasional flash of insight here and there, but a systematic, programmatic, ongoing way of studying and controlling the world—arose only once in history, and only in one place: medieval Europe, once known as “Christendom,” where that Biblical worldview reigned supreme. That is no accident. Science could not have arisen without that worldview.
    http://townhall.com/columnists...../page/full
    Several other resources backing up this claim are available, such as Thomas Woods, Stanley Jaki, David Linberg, Edward Grant, J.L. Heilbron, and Christopher Dawson.

  4. 4
    Stephen Sparrow says:

    “The Coffee Room here is thinking of starting a Mental Health Fund for Darwin’s followers.”

    Very funny – I hope that fund includes advice on they can treat themselves – there are more than a few nutty shrinks.

  5. 5
    News says:

    rvb8 at 1: Yes, I do really mean that the US school system – unnecessarily – performs far worse than most. That’s principally because of the endless meddling of their federal government.

    The best thing the federal government down there could do for education would be to get lost so that more competent people could come to the fore.

    The good news is that there would be no serious difficulty locating more competent people in most jurisdictions.

  6. 6
    Querius says:

    Bornagain @3,

    Moreover, if we cast aside those basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and the ability of our mind to comprehend that rational intelligibility, and try to use naturalism as our basis for understanding the universe, and for practicing science, then everything within that atheistic/naturalistic worldview, (i.e. supposed evidence for Darwinian evolution, observations of reality, beliefs about reality, sense of self, free will, even reality itself), collapses into self refuting, unrestrained, flights of fantasy and imagination.

    Nicely stated.

    That humans are capable of even comprehending the universe is one of the assumptions of science. But I think the problem is not capability but willingness. An unwilling person will create scientific fantasies to escape unwelcome conclusions.

    I would count “the multiverse” as a good example of scientific escapism since it violates parsimony big time. Darwinism is another example. Even after multiple falsifications, this quant 19th-century speculation has had to navigate the relentless storms of contrary data for many decades. In the end, Darwinism is capable of explaining anything after the fact, but has repeatedly failed at predicting anything.

    -Q

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