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July 26th, 2006

Peer Review of “The Minority Report”

Ten scientists from around the country submitted critiques of the Minority report.

Review of Minority Report: by Robert Dennison
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“A primary goal of the Kansas Science Standards, like the National Science Standards, is the development of scientifically literate students. All science teachers share this same goal.

Unfortunately, the proposed revisions would seriously undermine the efforts of Kansas science teachers to achieve this critical goal. While a few of the changes seem innocuous at first glance, upon reading the explanations and after considering the sum of those revisions it is clear that the cumulative effect would be to gravely weaken science instruction in the state of Kansas.”

Review of Minority Report: by Joe Heppert
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“The proponent’s proposed changes to the evolution section confuse and obscure the principles of evolutionary theory through the use of erroneous and confusing philosophical language and misinformation. Evolutionary theory is a wellaccepted scientific theory among all mainstream scientific organizations. It is a mature theory that has been refined over the past 150 years. There are no scientifically valid alternatives to evolutionary theory. There is no scientifically or educationally valid rationale for singling out evolutionary theory from among other scientific theories for critical examination.”

Review of Minority Report: by James R. Hoffman
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“Methodological naturalism is simply the search for natural explanations for observed phenomena. It does not entail naturalism, commonly known as materialism, nor does it rule out the existence of supernatural factors that science cannot address.”

Review of Minority Report: by Gary Hurd
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“These proposed alterations to the Draft Standards are a mixture of seemingly innocuous word substitutions and flagrant errors of fact and logic that would, if adopted, result in unusable curriculum standards and costly lawsuits.”

Review of Minority Report: by Douglas L. Theobald
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“These Revisions have been formulated by IDNet, a political “think tank” advocating the pseudoscientific concept of “intelligent design” (ID). While I personally believe that the universe was designed by an intelligence, the current ID political movement has no scientific credibility. ID proponents distort scientific knowledge by claiming that contemporary evolutionary theory cannot explain the diversity of life. So far, the ID movement has failed to provide any scientific evidence to support their claims. ID proponents have never published any original research in peer-reviewed scientific journals providing evidence for ID. Most importantly, ID adherents have not proposed any scientific tests for their claims. ID is therefore rejected by the vast majority of active scientific researchers in the life sciences, not because of any philosophical or religious bias, but rather because ID currently has no scientific support or utility whatsoever.”

Review of Minority Report: by Taner Edis
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“A handful of people who hold scientific credentials disagreeing with evolution is not the same as a scientific disagreement. The “other scientists” in question have not even begun to produce the peer-reviewed research which could eventually lead to a genuine scientific disagreement about evolution.”

Review of Minority Report: by Scott Brande
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“As numerous other scientists have noted, intelligent design isn’t really about science. It’s about religion, and the Intelligent Design Network must believe either that you’re not smart enough to understand this critical distinction, or that you will bow to public pressure…”

“…the core of intelligent design is a master designer who directs the formation of complex life, and indirectly happens to accord with a personal deity and savior for many people. But scientific understanding is not based upon the popularity of religious doctrine.”

Review of Minority Report: by E.O. Wiley
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“…everyone who problem-solves uses methodological naturalism. When we are faced with a puzzle or wish to accomplish some task, we switch to the mode of methodological naturalism and seek natural explanations or solutions. Scientists do this. Bankers do this. Farmers do this. In fact, just about everyone does this. Imagine if I went to my auto mechanic and he said: “Well, it might be the brakes or it might be an evil spirit.”

Should I give equal weight to the “evil spirit” hypothesis? After all, someone probably believes it, this mechanic for one.”

Review of Minority Report: by Karen Bartelt

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“As soon as the “Proponents” come up with evidential verification, have it peer-reviewed, and present it at scientific meetings, such “scientific information” may then rightly be discussed at the high school level and below.”

Review of Minority Report: by Ken Miller
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“Unlike the situation in 1999, the authors of the minority report may have hoped to escape scrutiny by leaving evolution in the curriculum — but what their changes would actually do to Kansas’ science standards is far more radical and much more dangerous.

The goals of the eight dissenters are clear. They plan to use the classroom to undermine evolution in a manner that clears the way for supernatural explanations regarding the origins of species. This would allow them to redefine religious beliefs as scientific ones, misleading students as to the nature of science, and entangling science classrooms throughout Kansas in an endless and unproductive battle between the multiple religious interpretations of origins that characterize our pluralistic society.”

March 10th, 2006

Download the *Recommended* Kansas Science Standards

Download the good standards here

These recommendations are the recommendations of the majority of the appointed (Science Standards) committee and reflected the recommendations that would have been made to the State Board of Education if the process had been allowed to continue.

More

January 28th, 2006

Are the KSBOE’s Science Standards Unconstitutional?

Yes.

And, you can download this powerpoint presentation to read Jack Krebs’ take on it.
(Presented by Jack at KU on Jan 28th, 2006)

December 20th, 2005
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