San Antonio Express Article Misstates Facts on Texas Board of Education and Kansas
An article in the San Antonio Express misstates some facts in its coverage of this week's upcoming Texas Board of Education vote on evolution. The article isn't all bad: It allows Discovery Institute's Casey Luskin to offer an opposing view, and Luskin's views are described accurately. But the article also states that the Texas Board of Education "voted with the science experts in January to remove the 'strengths and weaknesses' standard" from Texas science standards. The Board did indeed vote to do this (to its shame). But in repealing the strengths and weaknesses language, Board members did not vote "with the science experts." The Board appointed six science experts to review the draft standards. Three of the experts opposed the "strengths and weaknesses" provision, but three of the experts supported the "strengths and weaknesses" language! So it would be much more accurate to say that the Board in January sided with some of their experts while ignoring others.
The article also erroneously claims that in 2005 the Kansas Board of Education "approved new science standards allowing the teaching of intelligent design, which posits that a supernatural creator is required to explain life's complexity."
Actually, the Kansas science standards adopted in 2005 did not include intelligent design. Here is a direct quote from the introduction to those science standards (since repealed): "We also emphasize that the Science Curriculum Standards do not include Intelligent Design, the scientific disagreement with the claim of many evolutionary biologists that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion."
Of course, the article's definition of intelligent design (ID) is equally fallacious. Intelligent design does not posit "that a supernatural creator is required to explain life's complexity." ID claims that we can use empirical evidence and logic to detect whether some features of life and the universe are better explained as the product of an intelligent cause rather than an undirected cause of chance and necessity. ID scientists have been clear that they don't think that science can tell you whether the intelligent cause detected through the scientific method is natural or "supernatural." One needs additional evidence and arguments to make that determination.