Friday, July 07, 2006

Stand up for Oz, uh er Kansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS CONTACT: ROBERT CROWTHER
DISCOVERY INSTITUTE
(206) 292-0401 X107
ROB@DISCOVERY.ORG

NEW PUBLIC EDUCATION EFFORT ENCOURAGES CITIZENS TO STAND UP FOR SCIENCE, STAND
UP FOR KANSAS

TOPEKA, KS – “Should public schools censor scientific evidence just because it
challenges Darwin’s theory of evolution?” asks Robert Crowther, director of
communications for Discovery Institute a non-partisan public policy center. “Of
course not. Teachers should present all the scientific evidence, including both
the strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theory, and this is exactly what
the Kansas state science standards call for.”

At the behest of Kansas teachers and parents the Discovery Institute in July
will launch the www.standupforscience.com website to help defend Kansas’ science
standards. At the website people who support teaching both the scientific
strengths and weaknesses of evolution will be able to sign a petition supporting
the state’s science standards.

In 2005 the Kansas State Board of Education revised the state’s science
standards to require students to learn the full range of scientific evidence for
and against biological and chemical evolution, after hearing testimony from 23
scientists and scholars about how such evidence should be presented in the
classroom.

“There is now a concerted and organized effort to undermine those standards, and
ultimately to repeal them and replace them with dogmatic, Darwin-only science
standards,” said Crowther.

According to the Institute, polls consistently show that an overwhelming
majority of Americans believe that when biology teachers present the scientific
evidence supporting Darwin’s theory of evolution, they should also teach the
scientific evidence against it.

In their rationale for adopting the standards the Kansas State Board of
Education stated: “Regarding the scientific theory of biological evolution, the
curriculum standards call for students to learn about the best evidence for
modern evolutionary theory, but also to learn about areas where scientists are
raising scientific criticisms of the theory.”

“There are some in Kansas, and around the country, now using their voices to try
to tear down Kansas’ science standards and stifle discussion of the scientific
evidence they don’t like,” added Crowther. “We think that the Kansas science
standards are the best in the nation and so we’re committed to helping preserve
them, which is why we started the standupforscience.com website.”

According to Crowther, Kansas’s approach to teaching evolution will better
inform students about the facts of the scientific evidence in biology, and also
require them to critically analyze the evidence so they will gain the critical
thinking skills necessary to become good scientists. Four other states
–Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and South Carolina– have standards
requiring students to learn about critical analysis of evolution already in
place.

Scientists continue to raise questions about evolutionary theory, and in recent
years a growing number of scientists have raised significant issues challenging
various aspects of biological and chemical evolution. Students deserve to learn
about the views of these dissenting scientists, both so they can better
understand the scientific evidence, and also so they can formulate the critical
thinking skills needed to be good scientists.

Discovery Institute is a non-profit, public policy center that studies issues
from transportation to technology to science. In science education, it supports
a "teach the controversy" approach to Darwinian evolution and believes that
students should have the opportunity to study both the strengths and the
weaknesses of Darwinian evolution as a scientific theory. At the same time, the
Institute opposes any attempt to mandate the teaching of alternative theories
such as intelligent design by
school districts or state boards of education. For more information visit the
Institute’s website at www.discovery.org.

###


For additional information visit the Center for Science & Culture website at
www.discovery.org/csc/

Visit ID The Future, for news about the science behind intelligent design at:
www.idthefuture.com

And be sure to Read Evolution News & Views, about media coverage of the debate
over evolution at: www.evolutionnews.org

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St

2 comments:

Kristofer Rasmussen said...

I'm putting this here because I'm having email problems right now. I was wondering if you could offer me any insight on this issue. I am copying this post I put in a philosophy forum.

"Contemporary Philosopher William Lain Craig often uses the Kalam Cosmological Argument to argue for the existence of God. He, among other philosophers, will claim that God exists outside of time, is unchanging, and personal.

I have trouble reconciling how a being existing without time [time is typically explained as the changing of states, whether mental, physical, or any other category] can create the universe in the way the argument typically goes.

In these arguments, God must be a personal being that can choose whether or not to create the universe. The universe can't be a necessary outflow of God, otherwise from all eternity the universe will have existed with God, as he has existed always. Given empirical knowledge and reasoning that the universe isn't eternal, philosophers will claim that God must have chose to create the universe a finite time ago.

However, time cannot be eternal. J.P. Moreland claims that if time were eternal, the present moment could never be achieved because there would be an infinite stretch of events flowing backwards before we could ever reach the present. He likens us coming to the present on an infinite series of events to trying to jump out of a bottomless pit. You will never have the opportunity to find ground to begin to take off.

So, knowing that time is created and God existed outside of time, how could he personally choose to create the universe? This seems to imply that a change in the thought, will, desire progression of God. But without time, such changes could not take place because without time there is no room for change.

Alan Rhoda said...

Kristofer,

Craig could (though I'm not sure he would) define an "event" as a transition or boundary between two maximal states of affairs. Given that time requires events, or a succession of states of affairs, Craig could then hold that the moment of creation is the first event, and thus defines the first moment of time.

To spell it out, sans creation, all there is is God. Creation brings about a new state of affairs, God+creation. The state of God's existing alone sans creation is a timeless state. It is with the transition from {God} to {God+creation} that we have the first event, and, therefore, the beginning of time. Of course, any changes in God's thoughts would also define events, so it's not necessary that the moment of creation be the first moment of time. But if there is a beginning to time and therefore a first event, then there must be some initial state of affairs not preceded by a different state of affairs.