March 28th, 2009 by M. French

The Texas State Board of Education approved new science standards that will encourage students in public schools to scrutinize “all sides” of scientific theories, including evolution.  According to the AP :

The curriculum will require that students “in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations … including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.”

The Discovery Institute’s Evolution News Blog had this to say:

In a huge victory for those who favor teaching the scientific evidence for and against evolution, Texas today moved to the head of the class by requiring students to “critique” and examine “all sides of scientific evidence” and specifically requiring students to “analyze and evaluate” the evidence for major evolutionary concepts such as common ancestry, natural selection, and mutations.

“Texas has sent a clear message that evolution should be taught as a scientific theory open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned,” said Dr. John West, Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute. “Contrary to the claims of the evolution lobby, absolutely nothing the Board did promotes ‘creationism’ or religion in the classroom. Groups that assert otherwise are lying, plain and simple. Under the new standards, students will be expected to analyze and evaluate the scientific evidence for evolution, not religion. Period.”

The new requirements were contained in revised science standards approved today by the Texas State Board of Education. The science standards include language requiring students to “analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations…including examining all sides of scientific evidence… so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.” Equally important, the high school biology standards now require students to “analyze and evaluate” the scientific evidence for key parts of evolutionary theory, including common ancestry, natural selection, and mutations.

Discovery Institute has long endorsed the idea that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, including its unresolved issues.

It’s encouraging to see that when it comes to Charles Darwin’s statement that “…a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question,” Texas education leaders are in full agreement.

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February 14th, 2009 by M. French

A recent Zogby Poll asked people their thoughts on teaching evolution in schools, below are the results of some key questions:

4. Would you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree that teachers and students should have the academic freedom to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of evolution as a scientific theory?

Strongly agree 54% Agree 80%
Somewhat agree 26
Somewhat disagree 6 Disagree 17
Strongly disagree 11
Not sure 4

5. Charles Darwin wrote that when considering the evidence for his theory of evolution, “…a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.” Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with Darwin’s statement?

Strongly agree 45% Agree 76%
Somewhat agree 31
Somewhat disagree 6 Disagree 18
Strongly disagree 12
Not sure 5

6. I am going to read you two statements about Biology teachers teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution. Please tell me which statement comes closest to your own point of view—Statement A or Statement B?

Statement A: Biology teachers should teach only Darwin’s theory of evolution and the
scientific evidence that supports it.

Statement B: Biology teachers should teach Darwin’s theory of evolution, but also the scientific evidence against it.

Statement A 14%
Statement B 78
Neither 5
Other/Not sure 2

Whether or not you believe macro-evolution occurred and was the driving force in bringing about man, there is no intellectually responsible reason for withholding scientifically valid data regarding such an important question. The American public understands this, why doesn’t the teaching establishment? Darwin was right… “…a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”

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December 31st, 2008 by M. French

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