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Proposed Revisions to Kansas Science Standards Draft 2, With Explanations

On December 10, 2004, a group of eight scientists and educators serving on the Kansas Science Writing Committee delivered to the Kansas State Board of Education proposed revisions to Kansas Science Standards. The proposals seek objectivity in origins science. The scientists and educators are members of a 25 member science writing committee appointed in May 2004 by the Kansas State Board of Education.

On March 9, 2005, the Writing Committee issued Draft 2 of the Science Standards. In response, the group of eight reissued their proposals so that they would be responsive to Draft 2. Their proposals have come to be known as the "Minority Report (Draft 2)."

The information below is a summary of testimony given by Dr. Angus J. L. Menuge on May 7, 2005 at the hearings for the Kansas Science Standards.

Methodological Naturalism and Science Education Summary.

"The very power of [methodological naturalism] depends on the fact that [teachers] are dealing with a [student]: a [student] who thinks he is ‘doing’ his [‘Science’] and has no notion that ethics, theology and politics are all at stake. It is not a theory they put into [the student’s] mind, but an assumption, which ten years hence, its origin forgotten and its presence unconscious, will condition [the student] to take one side in a controversy which [the student] has never recognized as a controversy at all." (C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, 16-17)

The Controversy.

1) Darwinian Evolution claims: All apparent design in nature is an ILLUSION.

2) Intelligent Design provides empirical, scientific criteria for detecting design in nature, and argues: Some apparent design in nature is REAL.

This is the scientific controversy.

The Problem of Methodological Naturalism (MN).

  • MN says scientists should proceed as if there is no design in nature.
  • MN prevents the Darwinian claim, that design is an illusion, from being tested.
  • MN does not permit the controversy.
  • MN does not properly inform students, but advocates "a single perspective on a controversial issue."

Key Conclusions.

Methodological Naturalism (MN) should be removed from the Kansas Science standards because:

(1) MN prevents students from being properly informed on matters of scientific controversy;

(2) MN fails to be "neutral and non-ideological" by advocating "a single perspective on a controversial issue"; and

(3) MN fails to be "secular" (in the sense defined by NAGB) by favoring Secular Humanism and other naturalistic religions over theistic and other non-naturalistic religions.

The full text of Dr. Menuge's testimony is also available. |PDF|

The minority report |PDF| is also available, as well as full information on Kansas Standards 2005.

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