Ohio Controversy and Censorship

Ohio has posted its recently proposed science standards available for downloading from http://webapp1.ode.state.oh.us/science_comment/ . It is 96 pages long, but worth scrutinizing.

Simple word searches reveal the heavy bias in the standards. The word “survive” or “survival” is used 24 times; “evolution” or “evolve” is used 16 times; “population” (as in “overpopulation”) is used 9 times; “adaptation” is used 6 times; “natural selection” is used 3 times; and “common ancestry” is used once.

In contrast, the standards never mention the word “flood” in a global or large regional context; never mention Professor Behe’s “irreducible complexity”; never mention “falsifiability”; and never mention “testable” in the context of evolution claims.

Natural phenomena that confound materialistic explanation are completely omitted. For example, homing abilities, and extraordinary migration, are missing from the detailed standards. Predators befriending prey, observed in the wild, are omitted. Man’s inexplicably small world population, given its alleged duration, is never mentioned.

The proposed Ohio standards cleverly hook students on evolution concepts in the lower grades, with full indoctrination by 10th grade. The current debate, culminating in a hearing on March 11th, focuses on expanded use of term “evolution” in the 10th grade.

Applicable Ohio Statute.

The proposed standards are the result of Ohio Revised Code Section 3301.079, which mandates the establishment of statewide science standards:

“Not later than December 31, 2002, the state board shall adopt statewide academic standards for each of grades kindergarten through twelve in science and social studies. The standards shall specify the academic content and skills that students are expected to know and be able to do at each grade level.” Section 3301.079(A)(1).

But liberals have ignored this procedural requirements of the Ohio statute: “Whenever the state board or the department of education consults with persons for the purpose of drafting or reviewing any standards, diagnostic assessments, achievement tests, or model curriculum required under this section, the state board or the department shall first consult with parents of students in kindergarten through twelfth grade and with active Ohio classroom teachers, other school personnel, and administrators with expertise in the appropriate subject area.” Section 3301.079(E) (emphasis added).

Evolutionists violated these requirements in stacking the advisory committee in their favor. “An Advisory Committee consisting of 38 representatives from Ohio K-12 educators, higher education faculty from education and science departments, business, science organizations, the Ohio Board of Regents, and the Ohio Department of Education met throughout the spring and summer.” http://www.ode.state.oh.us/academic_content_standards/ScienceWebsiteReport.asp. No one on the committee expressly represents the interests of parents, who the Gallup Poll observes overwhelmingly reject evolution.

Worse, the new standards will control state-mandated science testing beginning in 2007. “Not later than July 1, 2007 … the state board shall adopt a diagnostic assessment aligned with the academic standards and model curriculum for each of grades … three through eight in … science ….” Section 3301.079(D)(1).

If students do not accept evolution, then their scores will suffer. So much for liberals claiming to be against forced indoctrination!

Ohio Evolution Standards.

Ohio begins indoctrinating students with evolution very early, even under the current standards. They require students to believe in a series of circular, baseless, or flat-out incorrect claims. Even fourth graders are expressly required to defend evolution.

Grade 2: “understand that organisms can survive only in environments that meet their needs” [circular]

Grade 3: “demonstrate the understanding that traits that help organisms survive are adaptations” [baseless]

Grade 4: “describe how a given structure may be an adaptation and defend that position” [baseless; note how child is forced to defend evolution] and “compare how individuals of the same kind differ in their characteristics and sometimes the differences give individuals an advantage in survival” [baseless]

Grade 5: “support how an organism’s patterns of behavior are related to the nature of that organism’s environment” [exaggerated] and “demonstrate the understanding that populations have limits to growth” [discredited population control theory]

Grade 6: “sexual reproduction allows for greater genetic diversity; asexual reproduction limits the spread of disadvantageous characteristics through a species” [discredited eugenics] and “in all material systems, the total amount of matter remains constant, even through [sic] its form and location change” [wrong because matter is converted to energy]

Grade 7: “explain how an organism’s behavior evolves through adaptations to the environment” [baseless] and “know that variations in structure, behavior, or physiology allow some organisms to enhance their reproductive success and survival in a particular environment” [baseless] etc.

Evolutionists now want even more indoctrination, and the current controversy concerns tenth grade instruction. That debate, including the unjustified uses of the term “evolution”, is best summarized at http://www.sciohio.org/start.htm (then click on Suggested Modifications to the Draft Indicators).

Censoring Criticism of Evolution.

In all evolution programs, censorship of criticism is a necessary ingredient. If real debate were allowed, then the indoctrination would fail.

In Kansas, the revised 2000 science standards prohibited censorship. It expressly stated: “No evidence or analysis of evidence that contradicts a current science theory should be censored.”

The evolutionists would not allow that to remain. With a massive campaign of distortions and mockery, they seized control of the Kansas Board and insisted that the prohibition against censorship be removed. It was.

Liberals also insisted that the Kansas science standards delete references to the doctrine of falsifiability. This doctrine, which postdates Darwinism by over 50 years, is universally accepted but poses problems for the theory of evolution.

“To be falsifiable a theory must be testable, by others, in such a way that, if it is false, the tests can show that it is false,” the Kansas 2000 standards explained. For example, the hypothesis that the sun rises in the East can be tested in a way that, if it were false, the test would show it to be false. Observing the sun rising once in the West would show it to be false, and thus the hypothesis is falsifiable and is scientific.

The Supreme Court has expressly established falsifiability as a key criterion in determine whether a claim is scientific or not. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993) (“Scientific methodology today is based on generating hypotheses and testing them to see if they can be falsified; indeed, this methodology is what distinguishes science from other fields of human inquiry.”) (quotations omitted). http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=search&court=US&case=/us/509/579.html . If there is no possible test that could ever show a theory to be false, then that theory is not scientific. People could still claim that the theory is true thousands of years from now, and there would still be no way to show otherwise.

Falsifiability is to scientists what judicial restraint is to judges: an essential way to restrain the inevitable attempts to seek influence and power. Falsifiability places limits on the expansive claims that some scientists make, whether for reasons of politics or publicity.

But just as law school professors do not teach judicial restraint to future judges, science departments do not teach falsifiability to future scientists. It requires effort from outside the field to limit the unjustified, expansive claims of those in the field.

Most, perhaps all, of the key claims of the theory of evolution are not falsifiable. There are no tests that can be devised that could possibly disprove “evolution as change” claims, for example, and thus those claims are not science. To avoid embarrassment, the evolutionists removed the lengthy and educational sections on falsifiability from the Kansas standards.

Note that while evolution theory is largely non-falsifiable, many statements associated with religion are more scientific than evolution. For example, the statement that “Jesus rose from the dead” is potentially falsifiable, because if it were untrue then His deceased body might be found. That the body could be found if the statement were false, and yet has not been found, reinforces the validity of the statement. Many religious claims are more scientific than the theory of evolution is.

Lecture 2 Quiz