Reuters Makes Glaring Error of Fact in Kansas Science Standards Story
Just when I think the major media are beginning to become a little more accurate in reporting on the evolution issue, something happens to bring me back to reality. Yesterday the international newswire Reuters sent out a story making the following preposterous claim:
The new science standards would... eliminate core evolution theory as required curriculum.
This claim is absolutely false. The draft science standards endorsed by the Kansas Board of Education continue to include evolution as part of the standard required curriculum. Indeed, the proposed benchmark on evolution is all but identical to the one in the current Kansas Science Standards. See for yourself:
PROPOSED DRAFT OF KANSAS SCIENCE STANDARDS (2005):
STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE
The student will develop an understanding of the cell, molecular basis of heredity, biological evolution, interdependence of organisms, matter, energy, and organization in living systems, and the behavior of organisms.
Benchmark 3: The student will understand the major concepts of the theory of biological evolution.
STANDARD 3: LIFE SCIENCE
As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students will develop an understanding of the cell, molecular basis of heredity, biological evolution, interdependence of organisms, matter, energy, and organization in living systems, and the behavior of organisms.
Benchmark 3: Students will understand the major concepts of the theory of biological evolution.
Under the new draft of the Kansas Science Standards, evolution remains part of the core curriculum in the life sciences. The key difference between the new science standards and the old ones is not that the new standards somehow de-emphasize evolution, but that they add additional information about evolution. That's right, the proposed new standards would have students in Kansas learn more about evolutionary theory by having the students study scientific criticisms of the theory in addition to the best scientific evidence for the theory.
Unfortunately, this phony fact from the Reuters story is being picked up by other media outlets. I called the Reuters reporter yesterday asking for a correction, but haven't gotten any response. In the meantime, I was on a radio talk show this morning in which the talk show host used the inaccurate Reuters story to frame the discussion, and my hometown paper The Seattle Times added the false Reuters info. to a story it ran on the subject of evolution.