Letter to the Editor | Fair consideration of the nature of origins theories promoted in the standards | By Monte Schmiege

March 23, 2018 – West Bend, WI – Dear Sir,

I, a sitting board member, have been criticized for trying to influence the recently adopted science standards for the West Bend School District prior to their adoption and thus creating controversy.  The only reason for controversy is that I was not permitted to take this to a forum for free, rational and considerate exchange of ideas, as is my right.  I was accused of wanting to introduce religion into the standards.  I was seeking a fair consideration of the nature of origins theories promoted in the standards.

 

Origins theories in science standards tend to be treated as fact or presented as singular explanations, even though it is acknowledged in later grades that theories change and that there’s more to theories than evidence.  The standards do suggest that students be allowed to cite the evidence for and against theories; however, there’s no suggestion that this applies to origins theories or global warming.  In fact, there are standards that suggest scientists police themselves to provide validity to their theories.  They do, of one mind.

 

Origins theories are undergirded by philosophical/religious beliefs about naturalistic origins.  They are based on historical events that cannot now be observed or proven.  Evidence doesn’t drive these conclusions.  Evidence is gathered to support them.

 

Alex Beld of the Daily News reported that 98% of scientists agree with evolution, based on a Pew Research poll.  Digging deeper, the scientists polled are all members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an organization that supports origins theories.  So, this is not a valid conclusion, just as the notion that 97% of scientists support global warming (also in the standards) is really 97% of 33% of some scientists that have an opinion.

 

Origins theories ought to be regarded as a violation of the Establishment Clause, but the U.S. Supreme Court has skillfully avoided ruling on this issue, preferring merely to outlaw other challengers.  The whole matter ought to be looked at from the standpoint of religious discrimination, and, within the District, a violation of a policy on controversial issues, but “science” possesses its own sacredness that doesn’t permit even a question mark.

 

People are eager for the public schools to attract more students.  Exclusionary science instruction is one element that wars against this.

 

Regards,

Monte Schmiege

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