Bill Nye spouts off about “core curriculum.”  He says if he were king he would make sure math and science are in the core.

Ok… has he not been paying attention?  Even before Common Core all 50 states had math standards and science standards.  He also points out that science must be introduced in elementary school, not high school.  I know when I was growing up my first actual science class was in 5th grade.  I don’t disagree with him in principle here.  What I find ironic is that most homeschoolers, whom it seems he is addressing in this video, probably start teaching science at an earlier age than public schools do, a fact that is probably lost on him.

Not that he would consider what a lot of homeschoolers teach science, but more on that in a second.

He boils the criticism of standards (I’m still not clear if he is talking about Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards or just standards in general here) to two points.  Only two?  He’s talking to hear himself talk because it’s quite obvious he’s not been following this issue.

One common criticism he says is that it “keeps teachers from having time to do other stuff that they are good at.  It takes away from other things that a teacher brings to the party.”

Yes Common Core, especially linked with high-stakes testing, hampers teachers, I believe.  I’m glad he sees this as a problem even if he is oblivious about the other problems Common Core represents.

The second “criticism” he mentions is “invalid.”

Nye states…

But the other reason people seem to be, my perception of what people don’t like about core curricula is that it forces them to learn standard stuff when they could be teaching their kids things that are inconsistent with what we know about science. I’m talking about people that want to teach creationism instead of biology. And that’s just bad. And the excuse or the justification is you don’t want the government telling you what to do. We all have to learn the alphabet everybody. I’m sorry, if we’re we’re going to have a successful society, it’s not an arbitrary arrangement of letters, you got to learn it. Sorry. And the same way if you’re asking me everybody’s got to learn a little bit of physics, chemistry, mathematics and you got to learn some evolution. You got to learn some biology.

I mean the idea is obvious right? You have a certain minimum that everybody’s got to meet. What? Everybody’s got to learn the alphabet. Everybody’s got to learn to read. The U.S. Constitution is written in English so everybody’s got to learn to read English. It would be great if you learned some tonal languages, some romance language that would be good, but our laws are written in English. Everybody’s got to learn to read English. Everybody’s got to learn math. Everybody’s got to learn some algebra. Everybody’s got to learn some biology including evolution. So what’s not to love? But I know there are people opposed to that.

A couple of thoughts.

If I were a Common Core advocate I’d cringe over this defense.  His interchangeable use of standards and curricula (yes I’m aware that the former impacts the later) would absolutely frustrate advocates if I were to use this terminology.  I’d probably be called out on it as well.

Then as a Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards opponent I am, frankly, too amused by this “perception” of “core curricula/standards” criticism to be offended.

I mean who is he talking about?

I have never heard a parent criticize that they didn’t want their kids learning “standard stuff.”  Secondly I’m not sure exactly what he’s suggesting here because state standards are mandatory for schools to teach, not parents and homeschoolers.  Being the statist that he is I’m sure he has zero problem with the government telling parents what to teach their kids because that is what he suggests standards should do.

Items included in “standard stuff” can be debated.  Those who teach creationism also teach biology in addition to it.  Biology encompasses more than origins questions.  Those parents, and I emphasize parents here because creationism or intelligent design is not taught in the vast majority of schools, want their kids to learn about science.  Homeschooling parents teach their kids about a variety of topics that biology encompasses.  Most “creationists” would even agree with Nye on micro-evolution.  I would suspect that a good number of homeschoolers teach their kids about evolution, but discuss why they disagree with the theory.

By the way, that’s actually encouraging kids to use critical thinking, which is not encouraged when it comes to this subject in the public schools.

Also when it comes to “standard stuff” the theory of evolution should be far down on the list of topics kids need to know.  Even students entering in STEM fields could function without it.  Are we to really believe that a biochemist wouldn’t be able to do their job if they held to an alternate theory of our origins?  How has evolution sharpened Nye’s ability to be a mechanical engineer?

Nye doesn’t state it in this video, but the title of video given by Big Think is telling as to what they think standards will do.  They ask, “Could Common Core be the antidote for Creationist teachers?”

They to show an ignorance about Common Core, but to answer their question.  No, but it is pretty clear that some progressives would love for them to fill that role.

Here’s the video:

11 comments
  1. “Those who teach creationism also teach biology.” No they don’t!!! Those who teach creationism teach pseudoscientific anti-science nonsense. The foundation of biology is evolution. Not to teach it and to replace it with magic is a form of educational child-abuse

    1. Let me clarify, they teach biology in addition to creationism. My point is biology encompasses more than just the origin question.

      I agree that “creationism” is not science.

      Now we could argue, not that it would get us anywhere, the theory of intelligent design is.

      1. Intelligent Design has been shown in court that it is indeed Creationism. Intelligent Design does not follow the scientific method and is rejected by a very large majority of the scientific community. In a nutshell, ID is “the odds of that happening are very high therefore there must have been a Creator.” This assumes evolution is completely random, which it is not.

        Disproving evolution does not prove a creator. Even if the “odds too great” logic worked which it doesn’t, it doesn’t prove or disprove a Creator. Even if I can prove a ball is not red, that does not automatically make the ball blue, unless you can prove first that no other options are possible.

      2. Bunk. Proponents of intelligent design do use the scientific method. A lot of people like to lump creationism and ID in with one another, but they are not one in the same… just like evolution and Darwinism are not the same.

        http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1154 http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/11/more_on_how_we_066841.html

        Both evolution and intelligent design get to the point where they can’t be “proven” scientifically (why they are theories and not scientific law). You can’t reproduce our origin, and no human being was there to witness it.

      3. Google [Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial]. Your site doesn’t seem to allow me to link websites. Two main points covered in the trial are “irreducibly complexity” and the textbook “Of Pandas and People.” The ID textbook was shown to be a reedited Creationism textbook. The bacterial flagellum was shown to be reducible while maintaining functionality of the reduced components.

        Much of the problem (which I think Creationists take advantage of) is that not everyone is a science nerd. A scientific theory is not the same as a hypothesis. When a scientific model becomes so bulletproof, it earns the highest rank in science which is “Theory”. Like most things in science, the model is not 100%, but it’s close. The whole new area of genetics and DNA research has only strengthened the evolution model and has not contradicted the theory once.

        Evolution has nothing to do with origins. That is Biogenesis.

        BTW, most Christians believe in evolution. I bring that up only because many creationists like to link evolution exclusively with atheism. While it ould be hard to find an atheist who believes in Creationism, that does not mean you have to be an atheist to believe in evolution. Whether you believe in it or not, evolution is the process that got us here. Many believe that God is behind that process. I’m ok with that.

      4. If you or your readers are actually interested, Google [Evolution myths: The bacterial flagellum is irreducibly complex].

      5. Let’s be careful about something. Origin and evolution are two different things unless we adhere to Darwin’s very narrowly scoped concept of origination. Darwin was curious about the immediately-previous stages– if there were any– of species. His observations were of the possibility of evolution, but not the genesis origin (the creation of everything). Darwin himself never firmly connected his own ideas to any kind of root genesis. And if you read his letters he wrote after his famous book, he even questioned his own ideas.

        Genesis origin encompasses the fragile theories of the Big Bang and Intelligent Design. In fact, I’d rather call these hypotheses because there has been no science that solidly connects any of these to actual historical events. More than that, any genesis theory relies on an extraordinary amount of presuppositions about the inherent nature of things. The Big Bang relies on the ideas that (1) the laws of physics have always existed because such laws are prerequisite for an explosion of matter and all interactions of said material thereafter, (2) time existed, (3) a grand explosion actually happened, somewhat spontaneously, (4) the grand explosion created sufficient types and quantities of material, (5) these elements interacted in so perfect a way as to create the foundations of what we now call stars, planets, earth, life, and all other manner of things we take for granted, and (6) time was and is the key component input for driving change, change especially from finitely simple to complex.

        Intelligent Design hides away these things in a superior being or beings. ID as a genesis is unscientific because it cannot be studied by science, but certainly not because it is an illegitimate concept. It is still a concept worth studying because it is no more or less fragile than the Big Bang or the theory of Evolution. For that reason, if schools are truly interested in the intellectual integrity of the students, then ID should be included in curriculum right next to science. Not because ID is science but rather because it is completely different but equally respectable and thought-provoking a concept.

        Intelligent Design as an explanation of things as they are now and how they came to be that way is scientific. Evolution no doubt has made plenty of observations that seemingly support the idea of species evolving over great periods of time. But Evolution has a weak or non-existent biogenesis theory. Some scientists have tried to connect the Big Bang with Evolution by claiming meteors with “life-giving” elements crashed into a young earth and some how, over a multitude of time, everything popped out of spawning pools scattered around the earth. This is weak because such spawning pools have never been reproduced and the “life-giving” elements have never been found. Still other scientists posit abiogenesis– the idea that life came from lifeless elements. No scientist has been able to prove that life occurs from lifelessness.

        Intelligent Design backs out all that and approaches the whole idea differently by asking, “Wait a minute, what if there was order all along? We see order in everything from the way atoms organize to the way plants grow and clouds form in the sky. Perhaps there was some order from the start, and we can look at the nature of everything from this perspective?” That is NOT unscientific, because any scientific observation (before it comes a hypothesis) relies on some presumption. Evolution relies on the weak foundation of increasing complexity whereas ID relies on the weak idea of order from the start. One would think that since both are weak but viable concepts worth studying that schools would include both institutions of thought in order to spur the minds of kids to think broadly, yet thoughtfully.

        But no… not on science’s watch! Scientists like Richard Dawkins and Bill Nye who are hellbent on ensuring their science keeps the throne of “all knowledge” are electing– willfully perhaps– to keep politicized ideological science as the lock and key over the power of the mind. Science is great and has provided many advancements throughout human history, and no doubt will continue to do so so long as there is a curious scientist out there. But science has become a corrupt thing, a lid so to speak, a great lid laid over the wellspring of intellectual creativity and exploration. And this lid is held firmly in place by the likes of Dawkins, Nyes, atheism, and all manner of leftist ideologists who hold themselves high above the clouds of reality.

      6. Evidence for the Big Bang Theory has recently been discovered. If you are actually interested in it, you may want to Google it. It is quite the find.

    2. By the way, you have an asinine definition of what should be considered child abuse.

      Having worked with high-risk, abused kids, and juvenile offenders I find your notion that teaching God created our world and us is the same as physical and sexual abuse is highly offensive. I have no time for that kind of hyperbole, consider yourself banned from commenting here.

      I welcome intelligent comments. This doesn’t qualify.

    3. I don’t think Mr. Nye is taking a scientific view on the subject of Common Core. If CC was about teaching the same standards he had in school to all of the school children today, no one would have a problem with it. He hasn’t done any research on this subject. And, when did biology stop being about reproduction and start to be about something else? Maybe that is the core problem?

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