Home » Intelligent Design » ‘Analyze and Evaluate’ Are the New Code Words for ‘Creationism’

‘Analyze and Evaluate’ Are the New Code Words for ‘Creationism’

By now most of you are probably aware of the news from Texas and the new science standards there. Apparently, the new standards don’t sit well with Dr. Eugenie Scott and her friends at the NCSE, (National Center for Saving Evolution).

“The final vote was a triumph of ideology and politics over science,” says Dr. Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). “The board majority chose to satisfy creationist constituents and ignore the expertise of highly qualified Texas scientists and scientists across the country.” NCSE presented the board with a petition from 54 scientific and educational societies, urging the board to reject language that misrepresents or undermines the teaching of evolution, which the board likewise ignored.

Although the “strengths and weaknesses” wording that has been part of the standards for over a decade was finally excised–wording that has been used to pressure science textbook publishers to include creationist arguments–a number of amendments put the creationist-inspired wording back in.

One can almost see Dr. Scott wringing her hands as she says this.

It is worth noting that according to Scott, only a “creationist” would have any real doubts or questions about the fact of evolution. One has to wonder why she is so upset that students might actually have to learn how to ‘analyze and evaluate all sides of scientific evidence’ . How horrid! Imagine, students learning how to analyze and evaluate scientific evidence in a science classroom.

But, isn’t that what real scientist do? Someone ought to alert Dr. Scott et.al. about this study to be released in PNAS later this week. These researchers analyzed and evaluated all sides of certain scientific evidence for natural selection and found it, well, wanting. They are even willing to state that their analysis and evaluation poses a challenge to ‘hundreds’ of other research studies.

Something is clearly amiss here. Real scientists analyzing and evaluating actual scientific evidence and as a result challenge hundreds of other studies doesn’t seem to be a problem. I wonder what Dr. Scott and the NCSE might have said if the challenge had come, not from Ph.D. researchers at Penn State, but a group of thoughtful students in Texas learning how to ‘analyze and evaluate all sides of scientific evidence’. Would the cry of ‘Creationists!’ been far behind?

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14 Responses to ‘Analyze and Evaluate’ Are the New Code Words for ‘Creationism’

  1. Thanks for that interesting study. From the article:

    The team used these data to compare statistically predicted sites of natural selection with experimentally determined sites.

    Isn’t the work that went into this study beyond what high school students are expected to do?

    I don’t know about high school nowadays, but when I went through, we were expected to learn the basics, not to do cutting edge research. Do Texas high schools even have the resources to do research like this?

  2. Isn’t the work that went into this study beyond what high school students are expected to do?

    Expected to do? Probably.

    But, have you seen the level of work lately at high school level science fairs? This is but a sample.

  3. 3

    The PNAS article is interesting, but it’s hardly a blow to natural selection. It’s a blow to a relying on statistical data alone. From the link:

    “These statistical methods have led many scientists to believe that natural selection acted on many more genes in humans than it did in chimpanzees, and they conclude that this is the reason why humans have developed large brains and other morphological differences,” said Nei. “But I believe that these scientists are wrong. The number of genes that have undergone selection should be nearly the same in humans and chimps. The differences that make us human are more likely due to mutations that were favorable to us in the particular environment into which we moved, and these mutations then accumulated through time.”

  4. Oh, how I would have loved to see the look on her face as the news swept past her ears.

  5. The cure for low expectations?
    Check out the hardback book challenging teens that made #5 in Amazon.

    Do Hard Things

    Coupled with ‘analyze and evaluate all sides of scientific evidence’, this might prompt a few more to challenge the status quo, like Galileo or Prof. Henry “Fritz” Schaefer III (who has only written 1200 papers).

  6. Thanks, DonaldM and DLH. I stand corrected.

    If the real cutting-edge scientific research could be done in the nation’s high schools, maybe we should be focusing federal funding there, rather than Darwinist enclaves, such as research universities and the CDC.

  7. Ludwig, Donald, and all, the critical question is – what standards do we aim students at?

    Of course most high school students’ work wouldn’t be accepted for publication in a research journal. Teaching them to think critically is the goal – the one E. Scott desperately needs to sabotage.

    The best way to sabotage education is to teach the student that he or she must simply accept the line without question, as E. Scott needs.

    That way, the teacher just fronts a curriculum and goes home at five. The student just learns the curriculum and goes home at four.

    The teacher expects a salary and the student expects a diploma. And both are fools if they think they are really teaching or learning anything.

    And E. Scott certainly isn’t the only one who likes it that way. I can hear the Ka-CHINK now; what I am NOT hearing is the Eureka!!

    But I am more concerned about the teacher fools than the student fools, because the teachers are older and should know better.

    Darwinian evolution, as a concept, is in ruins. That much is obvious.
    However the history of the world happened, that wasn’t how.

    The sooner we get that lumber out of the way, the sooner we can start finding out what did really happen.

    Now THAT would be an interesting project to introduce students to: Let’s see if we can find out what really happened!

  8. Eugenie Scott’s issue is that those who do analyze and evaluate the evidence for evolution will be asking their teachers unanswerable questions.

    And when those teachers then search for an answer they will find there isn’t one.

    Then those teachers may, in turn, start to analyze and evaluate the evidence.

    Eugenie cannot afford for anyone to go near that slippery slope.

  9. Mrs O’Leary (and onlookers):

    A very relevant fact in this case is the following from a recent commentary by Jarstfer and Coghlan on the Darwinist reaction to the language on critical analysis of scientific theorising:

    The required standard for decades has been to teach both “strengths and weaknesses” of all scientific hypotheses and theories. Evolution is not, and has never been, singled out. Students are required under the existing standards to learn Darwinian theory, and we support this requirement . . . .

    The issue confronting the board is whether textbooks and teachers will continue to be required to inform students of scientific evidence that conflicts with scientific theories and hypotheses.

    In January, the evolution lobby convinced a slim majority of the board to tentatively remove the required teaching of “weaknesses” from the standard. Now the same activists are demanding that the board cut the words “analyze and evaluate” from the high school biology standards dealing directly with evolution. It is the Darwinian activists who are picking the fight . . . .

    Evolution activists have raised a string of phony issues. They claim that board members are trying to insert creationism and a “young earth” into the science standards. Completely false. Remember, it is the Darwinian extremists who are attempting to change the existing science directives. Under the existing standards there has not been a single reported case of a teacher using the standard as a pretext to teach religion, creationism, or anything other than science.

    Observe, carefully: Under the existing standards there has not been a single reported case of a teacher using the standard as a pretext to teach religion, creationism, or anything other than science.

    In short, the faux issue over “creationism” as a bogeyman has been raised as a smokescreen for pushing for evolutionary marte3rilaist indoctrination in the false name of science education.

    Lewoninian “scientific” materialism at work, in short:

    We exist as material beings in a material world, all of whose phenomena are the consequences of physical relations among material entities. The vast majority of us do not have control of the intellectual apparatus needed to explain manifest reality in material terms, so in place of scientific (i.e., correct material) explanations, we substitute demons [translating: common sense tells us something is deeply wrong with materialism, so we must have a secular high priesthood with powers of institutional authority to tell us "better"] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. [Ny Review of Books, 1997; now increasingly the dogma of the NCSE and fellow travellers in NAS, NSTA certain courtrooms and even parliaments]

    It is time we woke up and insisted that science is understood as a provisional, progressive exercise in seeking the best — intellectually and ethically responsible — explanation for the way our world works, based on empirical evidence.

    So, inherently we must expect strengths and weaknesses and to compare competing theories/ models/ explanations per known major causal factors. (Such of course includes not only mechanical forces but undirected contingencies and directed contingencies. All three are empirically well-warranted, and imposing a priori reasons for excluding one or the other, is imposition of censorship on science, subverting it from an ability to seek the truth about our world.)

    That is how REAL scientific progress works, and it is a major reason for the importance of serious research. (One would think that teaching the citizenry about a major reason for research as an ongoing effort would be a legitimate part of any serious science education programme; but it seems that the agenda of materialist indoctrination trumps the need for research. Sadly.)

    GEM of TKI

  10. Kairosfocus,

    I think you’re onto something. This whole “materialism only” way of thinking is really choking the scientific community and people in general. I think philosophy coupled with science and the ability to look at ALL explanations for various phenomena will reap the most results. That means religious implications are completely fair game.

  11. 11

    I commented yesterday, shortly after the opening post appeared, but my comment disappeared after spending all of last night and this morning in the moderation queue.

    Trying again:

    2
    skeech plus
    03/31/2009
    6:08 pm

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Gil Dodgen (in the previous thread):

    Random variation and natural selection explain everything — never mind the details, we’ll make up stories later to explain away the anomalies, contradictions, and improbabilities.

    In the meantime, just have faith, and don’t ask any annoying questions.

    DonaldM:

    Real scientists analyzing and evaluating actual scientific evidence and as a result challenge hundreds of other studies doesn’t seem to be a problem.

    Psst, Donald! You’re not supposed to admit that the dogmatic Darwinist establishment permits people to ask “annoying questions”, much less that it allows those questions to be published in PNAS of all places!

    I wonder what Dr. Scott and the NCSE might have said if the challenge had come, not from Ph.D. researchers at Penn State, but a group of thoughtful students in Texas learning how to ‘analyze and evaluate all sides of scientific evidence’.

    Just think of the advances we might have seen in astrology and alchemy had Texas high-schoolers been encouraged to ‘analyze and evaluate’ all sides of the astronomy and chemistry controversies.

  12. David Kellog

    The PNAS article is interesting, but it’s hardly a blow to natural selection. It’s a blow to a relying on statistical data alone.

    Well, let’s wait for the actual study to come out to see what it says in full. But whether or not its a blow to NS outright or to just using statistical analysis is beside the point. My point is that analysis and evaluation of evidence to confirm or disconfirm a given hypothesis or theory is a common everyday occurence in science. It only becomes an issue when students are expected to learn how to do that with respect to evolution in science classrooms. Under those circumstances “analyze and evaluate”, according to Dr. Scott et.al. lead straight to (gasp!) CREATIONISM! Yikes!

  13. skeech

    Just think of the advances we might have seen in astrology and alchemy had Texas high-schoolers been encouraged to ‘analyze and evaluate’ all sides of the astronomy and chemistry controversies.

    This comment is simply non-sense. Apparently moderation hasn’t improved your logic and reasoning skills.

  14. Skeech,

    Just think of the advances we might have seen in astrology and alchemy had Texas high-schoolers been encouraged to ‘analyze and evaluate’ all sides of the astronomy and chemistry controversies.

    Awww, does someone need a hug? I’m sorry that critical thinking is allowed in Texas science classrooms now, I know this must be really disappointing.

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