Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Other questions to ask

csadams, asks at Kansas Citizens for Science:
Why aren't these the questions being discussed?
  1. Discuss the internationally accepted, working definition of science, particularly with reference to the majority and minority definitions.
  2. Discuss your understanding of a hypothesis and theory, particularly with regard to intelligent design theory , how an individual hypothesis and theory is used and supported and what happens when competing hypotheses and theories are at odds.
  3. Discuss the idea that intelligent design “research” is not performed in the fashion of empirical science, that is, observable, measurable, testable, repeatable and falsifiable.
  4. Discuss the scientific evidence concerning the idea that intelligent design can (?) produce speciation.
  5. Discuss the evidence from intelligent design research concerning the idea that there is a common biological ancestor.
  6. Discuss the scientific evidence concerning the idea of what can falsify the “theory” of intelligent design , particularly how radiometric dating and the fossil record interacts with the idea of falsification.
  7. Discuss the idea that students (after moving from concrete thinking and being able to think in the abstract) should be able to explain, in scientific terms, the philosophy of science and various theories of science, as well as various scientific criticisms. 7b. Discuss the idea that students should most emphatically be able to discern between science, and pseudo-scientific nonsense put forth by attorneys in pursuit of a social agenda.
  8. U.S. education, particularly with regard to mathematics and science, has been criticized for being a mile wide and an inch deep and thus not promoting critical thinking and/or problem-solving skills. With regard to science education, is this a valid concern? Discuss the idea of how teachers need to or need not address this situation.
  9. Discuss the connection between the lack of promoting religious ideas as science in other countries, and their correspondingly higher test scores.

These are excellent questions. The problem with the questions being asked is that they assume the answer. The Board is asking people to justify various aspects of the majority's recommendations, rather than making the minority report's supporters justify themselves. In a fair fight, evolutionary biology can win this fight.

This isn't a fair fight, and no one should read my earlier advice as an endorsement of the procedure. But there it is. Ten people will inevitably submit essays. I hope they take my advice, and I hope we win the public aspect of the debate. And I hope that people demand that IDC be subject to the same level of scrutiny that any theory would receive before students are exposed to it.