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AP: “ID backer knocks Tuskegee deletion from Kansas standards”

The Associated Press is reporting on the Kansas State Board of Education’s proposed deletion of the Tuskegee experiment, eugenics, and other abuses of science from the state’s existing science curriculum standards. The only complaint I have about the article is that it does not make clear that the existing history of science standard, which I favor, asks for students to study the positive achievements of science as well as the abuses of science. The purpose is to give students a balanced understanding of the history of science. It is the supporters of Darwinian evolution who are trying to suppress the coverage of both sides, not intelligent design (ID) proponents. It is interesting to look at the tortured explanations offered by some trying to defend this change.

According to the article:

the passage [in the science standards] had drawn criticism from scientists who note that only abuses perceived as linked to evolution were mentioned.

“That was never in the science standards until the intelligent designers inserted it,” said Steve Case, associate director of the Center for Science Education at the University of Kansas. “Introducing that was just a way to get at their attack, ‘Scientific knowledge is bad.'”

Although eugenics was certainly linked to Darwinian biology, I don’t believe the Tuskegee experiment was, so the claim that the examples are only those linked to evolution is wrong. Moreover, the claim that the original standard was intended to show that “scientific knowledge is bad” is absurd. The original standard clearly called for students to learn about both the successes and the misuses of science. It is Steve Case who is advocating a propagandistic approach by gutting the standard so that now it will require the study of only the successes of science. Case’s attitude could be described as “science can do no wrong—ever!”

Case also falsely implies that the science standards merely deal with “science and the science process,” therefore

Discussions about eugenics and the Tuskegee study are best left to history courses, he said.

“We’re teaching science and science process,” he said. “Historians have their own research techniques and their own interpretations of history.”

These comments ignore a couple of salient facts. First, the “history of science” is one of the major components of the Kansas science standards, and Case is not proposing that it be deleted. So he is flat wrong to claim that the history of science isn’t a proper part of the science standards. (Indeed, Case wants to leave in the study of the history of science so long as it focuses just on the successes of science.) Second, although Case references history courses, he neglects to mention that the existing Kansas social studies standards do not cover the issues raised in the history of science standard in question. Moreover, I know of no proposal by Case to revise the social studies standards in order to change that fact .

The bottom line is that some supporters of Darwinian evolution in Kansas want the history of science taught just as propagandistically as the theory of evolution.

John G. West

Senior Fellow, Managing Director, and Vice President of Discovery Institute
Dr. John G. West is Vice President of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and Managing Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Formerly the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, West is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker who has written or edited 12 books, including Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, and Walt Disney and Live Action: The Disney Studio’s Live-Action Features of the 1950s and 60s. His documentary films include Fire-Maker, Revolutionary, The War on Humans, and (most recently) Human Zoos. West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University, and he has been interviewed by media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Time magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.