Where is Education in Kentucky Headed?


I think I finally see why creationism has to be True. Because a guy was shot for refusing to tear down the American flag, Creation inevitably follows. A letter from a school superintendent in the Kentucky school system (Ricky Line) was striving for the betterment of his students by teaching Creation Science in his schools and the corresponding response from Kentucky Commissioner of Education were published in The Evolving Scientist, written by “some guys and a girl”. The original article is at http://www.evolvingscientist.net/2011/12/someone-got-ahold-of-lines-full-letter.html.

Because I can’t trust anyone to bother reading it, I have to cut and paste from the original article:


Mr. Line then added 7 pages of reasons that evolution can’t be fact including reason number 8:

What makes this so precious is that Ricky has chosen to quote mine from a particularly well-known comment by Darwin. “If it could ever be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.” Ricky conveniently left out the part of the quotation in red, something that we know is never done by Creation Scientists.

Unfortunately, Ricky didn’t realize that contrary to common perception, some people in Kentucky government like Commissioner Terry Holliday actually have an education. This is the commissioner’s response:

Dear Ricky,

Thank you for your patience in waiting for our response to your attached letter expressing concerns on the end-of-course exam content for biology. We wanted to give you a thorough and accurate response, and it took some time for research to be completed by our legal and curriculum staffs. I am copying the members of the Kentucky Board of Education on the response, since they also were e-mailed a copy of your letter.

In science, a theory is a statement of general ideas that explains many observations by natural means. To a scientist, the word “theory” is a very precise term to identify a concept that has great utility in explaining phenomena in the natural world. Ideas only rise to the level of a theory in science if they have withstood much scrutiny and are exceptionally useful in explaining a wide variety of independent observations. Any theory can be altered or replaced if new observations or new scientific evidence cannot be adequately explained by it. In science, facts never become theories. Rather, theories explain facts. No theory is immune to revision or replacement should new evidence surface. There is a substantial difference between the “everyday” meaning of the word “theory” and the scientific meaning of the word. An idea is often labeled a theory for the purpose of painting it as little more than a guess. This use of “theory” demonstrates a lack of understanding of the scientific meaning of the term. Referring to biological evolution as a theory for the purpose of contesting it would be counterproductive, since scientists only grant the status of theory to well-tested ideas.

Additionally, science is not a system of belief. To ask if a scientist ‘believes’ in the theory of evolution is an improper question because the term ‘belief’ implies a position or opinion based on faith. A biologist would properly say he/she understands and acknowledges the evidence supporting the theory of evolution. Belief is an act of faith and is not necessarily concerned with the availability of supporting evidence. For this reason, beliefs are not considered to be within the realm of science. Moreover, the federal courts have ruled that creation science, a religious concept or belief, is not science at all. [See Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 400 F.Supp.2d 707, 764 (E.D.Pa.2005); McLean v. Ark. Bd. of Educ., 529 F.Supp. 1255, 1259 (E.D.Ark.1982) (dismissing “creation science” as “simply not a science”).] Therefore, it is not considered relevant content for a purely science classroom.
Since college and career readiness is our goal for all students, we would be doing them a disservice by denying them the opportunity to learn science concepts required to obtain that goal. Evolutionary theory is one of the foundational components of modern biology, and it most certainly plays a significant part in college biology coursework. The ACT QualityCore® biology end-of-course objectives are designed to reflect research-based college- and career-ready standards as well as promote more rigor and depth in traditional courses.

Finally, Kentucky’s Core Academic Standards for Science and Core Content for Science Assessment, version 4.1, outline the minimum required content that all students should have the opportunity to learn in order to graduate. The QualityCore® end-of-course test for biology does expand from our current minimum standards. The Kentucky Core Academic Standards and Core Content for Assessment 4.1 contain two (of seven) Big Ideas that are reported under the category Life Science. Those Big Ideas are Unity & Diversity (UD) and Biological Change (BC). The Big Idea of Biological Change contains only content standards related to biological evolution. The concept of evolution already exists within these standards and has been assessed in the Commonwealth since those standards were adopted in 2006.

I appreciate your viewpoint and hope this information assists you in understanding KDE’s position. Thank you for all that you do to positively impact the lives of the students in your school district.

Sincerely,

Terry Holliday

I, like many others who couldn’t believe this response, think that Mr. Holliday doesn’t understand the connection between a man being shot for not tearing down a flag and the unmistakeable conclusion that Creation Science must be True. Now Ricky Line will have to petition for Kentucky logic to be taught in the school system.

P.S.  My apologies in advance for the facsimile copy overlaying the column to the right.  As I add more posts, it will move down and become more readable.

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