Just shoot me now.
A column in the Arizona Republic newspaper reports that the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction has added a member to that state’s panel charged with reviewing science instruction in Arizona’s public schools.
And what eminent scientist or respected academic has been chosen for this important panel?
Here is a bit of instruction from a guy Superintendent Diane Douglas tapped to help review Arizona’s standards on how to teach evolution in science class:
The earth is just 6,000 years old and dinosaurs were present on Noah’s Ark. But only the young ones. The adult ones were too big to fit, don’t you know.
“Plenty of space on the Ark for dinosaurs – no problem,” Joseph Kezele explained to Phoenix New Times’Joseph Flaherty.
Flaherty reports that in August, Arizona’s soon-to-be ex-superintendent appointed Kezele to a working group charged with reviewing and editing the state’s proposed new state science standards on evolution.
Joseph Kezele, it turns out, teaches (his version of) biology at Arizona Christian University, and serves as president of the Arizona Origin Science Association. The article describes him as “a staunch believer in the idea that enough scientific evidence exists to back up the biblical story of creation.”
Douglas has been working for awhile now to bring a little Sunday school into science class. This spring she took a red pen to the proposed new science standards, striking or qualifying the word “evolution” wherever it occurred.
Douglas wants the theory of Intelligent Design taught alongside the “theory” of evolution–a desire that confirms her total lack of understanding of the scientific method and scientific terminology.
A scientific theory is not the equivalent of a wild-ass guess. Scientific theories grow out of and are based upon groups of hypotheses that have been repeatedly and successfully empirically tested. Only after sufficient evidence has been gathered in support of those hypotheses will a theory be developed to explain the phenomenon in question.
Even then, scientific theories (unlike religious beliefs) remain subject to falsification–continued empirical testing to support or disprove the hypotheses upon which the theory depends. If a theory cannot be rejected, modified or confirmed by such empirical testing, it isn’t science.
Other beliefs may or may not be true (that sunset is beautiful!), but that doesn’t make them science.
Meanwhile, the new appointee to the panel reviewing Arizona’s science standards has already convinced the others to change the description of evolution from “the explanation for the unity and diversity of organisms, living and extinct” to “an” explanation–in other words, one “theory” among others.
As the columnist concluded,
So much for long-established scientific theory.
Kezele told Flaherty that there is enough scientific evidence to back up the biblical account of creation. He says students should be exposed to that evidence. For example, scientific stuff about the human appendix and the Earth’s magnetic field.
“I’m not saying to put the Bible into the classroom, although the real science will confirm the Bible,” Kezele told Flaherty. “Students can draw their own conclusions when they see what the real science actually shows.”
Because, hey, Barney floating around on Noah’s Ark.
Kezele told Flaherty that all land animals – humans and dinosaurs alike — were created on the Sixth Day.
And there was light and the light was, well, a little dim for science class, if you ask me.
The only good news here is that Douglas initially won the Superintendent’s office by a single percentage point, barely survived a recall effort, and decisively lost the 2018 Republican primary.
The bad news is, there were people in Arizona who voted for her.