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April 1st, 2006

The Historical Sciences are Testable

The Historical Sciences are Testable

by Keith Miller

Prepared for the Kansas “Science Hearings”, May 2005

Frequent claims are made that the historical sciences (cosmology, astronomy, geology, evolutionary biology, anthropology, archaeology) deal with unrepeatable events and are therefore not experimental. Furthermore, because past events and processes are not directly observable, theories of origins are deemed inferior or less certain than studies of present processes. This view commonly finds expression in statements like: “No one was there so we can never know what really happened.” This view is false. The historical sciences are no less scientific, or testable, than the “hard sciences.” Read the rest of this entry »

March 14th, 2006

Fort Hays State University Position Statement on KSBOE Science Standards

FHSU Faculty Senate dissociates itself from Kansas BOE science standards

In response to the Kansas Board of Education’s 2005 Science Standards, Fort Hays State University’s Faculty Senate recently passed its own statement of opposition and endorsed another.

At February’s meeting, the FHSU Faculty Senate passed Resolution 05-02, stating that the senate does not support including intelligent design in state education science standards.

The Faculty Senate resolution reads:

In response to the recent decision to include Intelligent Design in the Kansas state science standards, the Faculty Senate of Fort Hays State University resolves:

It is the role and responsibility of the scientific community to assess the merit of the subject matter taught in the science classrooms of our public schools.

As such, the Faculty Senate of Fort Hays State University does not support the inclusion of material, such as Intelligent Design, which has so far failed to withstand scientific scrutiny based on rigorous and verifiable peer-reviewed research.

“We, as a Faculty Senate, feel it is important to have educational materials stand upon their own merits rather than be imposed by an outside agency,” said Dr. Win Jordan, president of the Faculty Senate and assistant professor of accounting and information systems.

“We had asked our University Affairs Committee to develop a statement in response to the recent Intelligent Design controversy. The committee responded with our Resolution 05-02.”

At the same meeting, the senate also endorsed a position statement by the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science, presented to them by Dr. Paul Adams, Anschutz professor of education and physics and a member of the KATS panel asked to distribute the KATS statement.

“As we reviewed the statement, we found it to be clear, well thought out, and compelling. We therefore agreed to endorse it,” said Jordan.

The KATS position statement was released by the organization’s Board of Directors. In a cover letter, board President David Pollock said, “The Kansas Association of Teachers of Science (KATS) is the largest science teacher association in the state of Kansas. The 18 elected board members represent elementary through college teachers.

February 10th, 2006

KATS Position Statement on KSBOE Science Standards

Download the Position Statement Here

Kansas Association of Teachers of Science response to the Kansas State Board of Education adoption of the 2005 Science Standards:

The Kansas Association of Teachers of Science (KATS) is committed to promoting quality science teaching and the scientific literacy of both students and citizens throughout the state of Kansas. Accordingly, the KATS Board of Directors rejects on both scientific and pedagogical grounds the 2005 State Science Standards approved by the Kansas Board of Education (KBOE). The 2005 Standards neither promote quality teaching nor the development of scientific literacy.

As the state-level affiliate of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), KATS is the largest organization in Kansas representing teachers of science. We offer our unhesitating support to teachers who continue to emphasize science teaching that parallels contemporary scientific understanding as it is practiced throughout the world as a search for natural causes.

By redefining science in the Kansas Science Education Standards, the KBOE is promoting intelligent design tenets that purport supernatural explanations as valid scientific theories. Given that the goal of the intelligent design movement includes replacing scientific explanations with theistic understanding and to see this design theory inappropriately imposed on our religious, cultural, moral, and political life; the KATS Board of Directors adamantly opposes turning Kansas science classrooms into theatres of political and religious turmoil blurring the Constitutional ideals of separation of Church and State.
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February 3rd, 2006

KSU, USD383 Resolution on KSBOE Science Standards

We, the undersigned faculty and professional staff of Kansas State University science departments, express our continued commitment to maintaining the highest quality science education for the children of USD 383 and Kansas. We are also concerned about the negative impact the Science Standards recently passed by the Kansas State Board of Education will have on our children, our community, and Kansas State University. We are especially concerned about the continued high quality of science teaching, and the continuing recruitment efforts to bring talented workers and educators to our community. We ask that you adopt the following resolution:

USD 383 endorses the following definition of science developed by the Kansas Science Education Standards Revision Committee on March 9, 2005, a definition consistent with that of all major professional science organizations in this country:

Science is a human activity of systematically seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us. Throughout history people from many cultures have used the methods of science to contribute to scientific knowledge and technological innovations, making science a worldwide enterprise. Scientists test explanations against the natural world, logically integrating observations and tested hypotheses with accepted explanations to gradually build more reliable and accurate understandings of nature. Scientific explanations must be testable and repeatable, and findings must be confirmed through additional observation and experimentation. As it is practiced in the late 20th and early 21st century, science is restricted to explaining only the natural world, using only natural cause. This is because science currently has no tools to test explanations using non-natural (such as supernatural) causes.

The Science Standards that use this definition will be used in science curricula in all appropriate USD 383 K-12 science courses.

USD 383 does not support the redefinition of science included in the Science Standards passed by the Kansas State Board of Education on November 8, 2005; this document changed the definition of science to allow non-natural (including supernatural) explanations of natural phenomena.
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