Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Minnesota Science Standards

Minnesota is about to adopt its Academic Standards for Science.

This is in there:

"Explain how scientific and technological innovations can challenge portions of, or entire accepted theories and models including, but not limited to: cell theory, atomic theory, theory of evolution, plate tectonic theory, germ theory of disease, and the big bang theory." (Page 27; Minnesota Academic Standards, Science K-12 2009)

Sounds good, right? New evidence should be considered in the scientific method.

Except what this statement can mean when interpreted in the real world of the science classroom is Intelligent Design/Creationism.

This benchmark is under the Standard "Understand that Science is a way of knowing about the natural world and is characterized by empirical criteria, logical argument and skeptical review."

It's unnecessary, given that other benchmarks explain the scientific method and "that scientists conduct investigations for a variety of reasons, including: to discover new aspects of the natural world, to explain observed phenomena, to test the conclusions of prior investigations, or to test the predictions of current theories."

Niggling, wheedling little semantic additions like these, acting like it's all about the scientific method, we only want to teach our kids all the facts, and we're are just trying to make sure that all angles are considered are disingenuous at best. What they are doing is allowing the obfuscation of the facts to continue, and it's not doing our kids or our nation any favors.

Next on my reading list: this short paper about evolution and creationism in America's classrooms, just for the garment-rendering, hair-raising fun of it.

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