South Carolina Praised for Requiring Students to Critically Analyze Evolutionary Theory - Evolution News & Views

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South Carolina Praised for Requiring Students to Critically Analyze Evolutionary Theory

Columbia, SC --- After months of debate, today the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee unanimously ratified high school biology standards requiring students to understand why "scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory." The South Carolina State Board of Education adopted the standards unanimously last month, and submitted them to the EOC for approval. South Carolina's new evolution standard does not require teaching the theory of intelligent design.

The biology standard approved requires students to be able to, "Summarize ways that scientists use data from a variety of sources to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory." This falls under the overall biology standard which says that "The student will demonstrate an understanding of biological evolution and the diversity of life."

"This victory is an important milestone towards improving the quality of science education, by ensuring that students learn the full range of relevant scientific evidence, including the scientific criticisms of evolution," said Casey Luskin an attorney and public policy analyst with Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture. "South Carolina is the fifth current state to require students to learn about scientific criticisms of evolution and this policy helps remedy the problem that most biology textbooks today largely ignore scientific challenges to Darwinism."

South Carolina State Senator Mike Fair, a member of the Education Oversight Committee, and Terrye Campsen Seckinger, a member of the South Carolina Board of Education, issued a statement applauding the approval of the new high school biology standards: "It is impossible to meet this standard without the discussion of the meaning of critical analysis as it applies to evolutionary science. This is a great improvement over our 2000 standards. Students will now have the opportunity to wholly learn about the theory of evolution. This means that students will have the opportunity to fully discuss all aspects of evolutionary theory instead of limiting discussion to only evidence that might support it."

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.