Leftists are in an uproar over proposed legislation in Ohio that would reject portions of the Common Core curriculum and require science education to de-emphasize “process” education. Many leftists believe this law is intended to undercut teaching evolution—presumably one of the “scientific processes” being targeted.
The wording of the bill makes it too easy for leftists to argue that “anti-evolution” education is actually “anti-science”:
The standards in science shall be based in core existing disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics; incorporate grade-level mathematics and be referenced to the mathematics standards; focus on academic and scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes; and prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another.
Leftists take issue with this line: focus on scientific knowledge rather than scientific processes. According to one blogger, this diminution of process-oriented science education is “a recipe for educational chaos”:
To begin with, it leaves the knowledge the kids will still receive—the things we have learned through science—completely unmoored from any indication of how that knowledge was generated or whether it’s likely to be reliable. The scientific process is also useful in that it can help people understand the world around them and the information they’re bombarded with; it can also help people assess the reliability of various sources of information.
There are likely a few science education practices the bill designs to curb. Prohibiting “political interpretations” of science probably aims at “global warming” and “climate change.” But the “religious interpretation” likely has to do with Creationism. What leftists fail to realize is that this bill would actually be very good for evolutionists and environmentalists.
It’s odd to me that evolutionists haven’t figured this out yet. The above-quoted blogger is totally correct in his criticism of teaching “knowledge” over against “processes.” Fact-oriented science education does leave facts completely “unmoored from any indication of how that knowledge was generated or whether it’s likely to be reliable.” Apparently unbeknownst to this blogger, that has been the science education method on evolution and climate change up until now!
You really think that evolution teaching has been about the scientific process up to this point? No. These Ohio lawmakers aren’t changing the way science is taught. They’re merely attempting to perpetuate the current philosophy of science education. Is evolution taught as a theory of interpretation? No. It is taught as fact. And leftists have been very good (or bad, as the case may be) about conflating all the definitions of “evolution”, “fact”, and “science”.
Science can mean any number of things: It can mean the activity by which observational knowledge is accumulated—something you do. Or it can be the body of knowledge itself—something you know. Up to this point, leftists have conflated those two definitions.
“You can’t deny evolution. It’s a scientific fact. It is science.” Okay. Well, what has the process been of coming to those facts? Walk me through it. And the evolutionist replies: “It’s science, therefore it’s true. You should never question science.”
In that sense, I agree with the blogger, though we come to different conclusions. I think teaching processes in science education would actually undercut evolutionary thinking. Because evolution is not something drawn from the scientific process. It’s something imposed on the scientific process.
You want some proof? Science has to do with sensory phenomena that are “observable, repeatable, and in the present.” This is a definitional boundary for the scientific process. And notice that evolutionists have continually co-opted natural selection as justification that evolution is scientific fact.
This is where science education on processes would be really detrimental to evolution. Like, what was the process of developing germ theory? Oh, Louis Pasteur did some science and came up with it. Awesome. What did he originally disprove? Spontaneous generation. And how does spontaneous generation differ from the evolutionist’s explanation for how inanimate matter became living creatures over time? Oh, it doesn’t? So how does the evolutionist explain the existence of living things outside of some version of spontaneous generation? He can’t. I see. So according to scientific processes, the theory of evolution as currently accepted was debunked in the 19th century by the same Christian dude who invented the rabies vaccine. Thanks, process-oriented science education. That was helpful.