Teaching Good Science in Springboro, OH
In view of the controversy surrounding what the school board in Springboro, OH, is proposing vis-à-vis High School Biology education, it might be instructive to look at how Ohio’s existing science standards relate to the issue.
At the outset, it needs to be emphasized that, contrary to what evolutionists claim, Creation Today does not advocate the compulsory teaching of creation science in public schools. If such legislation were even possible, it would be inadvisable. Can one imagine the mess that would be created by atheist teachers being mandated to teach creation? Instead, what we and other creationist ministries advocate is that scientific processes and critical thinking should be enabled to apply across the science curriculum, and not, as evolutionists prefer, banned from modules about education.
Page numbers in the following paragraphs refer to the Ohio Revised Science Standards and Model Curriculum for High School (hereafter referred to as ‘Ohio Science Standards’), published by the Ohio Department of Education, March 2011.
The Ohio Science Standards is, in fact, an excellent piece of work. In common with all good science curricula, it begins its section on biology with the important ‘scientific processes’ that students should be able to apply. Among these is the ability to “formulate and revise explanations and models using logic and evidence (critical thinking)” (p2). As creationists, we support the teaching of this process, and have to wonder why evolutionists are so frightened of the application of critical thinking to their particular belief system.
The content on evolution also makes interesting reading. In the content preamble, the document states “the study of evolution must include gene flow, mutation, speciation, natural selection, genetic drift, sexual selection and Hardy Weinberg’s law” (p6). It is worth pointing out that all these points refer to observable processes, and that none of them imply the existence of Darwinian evolution, where one kind allegedly changes into another.
As we get into more specific issues, the document suggests that “modern ideas about evolution provide a natural explanation for the diversity of life on Earth as represented in the fossil record.” (p6). No one doubts that evolution provides an explanation. The pertinent educational question is this: does this explanation stand up to critical thinking. The assertion of the existence of an evolutionary explanation must imply that students should have the ability to criticize that explanation.
An example of the sort of route that such critical thinking could take is given by the juxtaposition of two statements on page 6. One statement alleges that “evolution is the consequence of the interactions of the genetic variability of offspring due to mutation and recombination of genes.” Yet no such mutation allows for the spontaneous creation of increased genetic information. Merely appealing to the word “mutation”, as if it were a magic bullet that could create, is an issue that must be open to critical analysis by the students, especially as the next paragraph states that students should “apply the knowledge of mutation… to real world examples”. Real world examples of mutations show only rearrangement or even loss of existing genetic information, and never a gain of newly independently arisen information.
Such comments demonstrate that good science teaching has to include the ability for students to critically analyze evolutionary theory, as they are presented to it. The application of good scientific methodology and process must be applied to science across the board. Evolution theory should not get special treatment by being excluded from this scientific methodology. If the rules of science applied, students should be allowed to scrutinize evolution also.