Sunday, November 13, 2005

Science organizations refuse to let creationsists make a monkey out of them

Jennifer Granick's recent Wired News article accusing the science organizations National Academy of Sciences (NAS) & National Science Teacher's Association (NSTA) of abusing Intellectual Property (IP) rights by refusing to allow the Kansas State Board of Education to incorporate their science education standards manuals into the state's public school science curriculum because the state plans to require teaching of religiously based Intelligent Design (ID) into its science curriculum. IP is a really hot topic these days with people using it to claim ownership of intangible ideas and concepts in the midst of sociological academic research and suggestions that the government use eminent domain to wrestle IP and patents from proprietary drug manufacturers and provide them to generic firms (who can sell them at a significantly lower price because they do not identify or develop the drug in the lab or pay to conduct any of the research that goes into proving the compound is safe and efficacious).

Granick likens the refusal by the NAS and NTSA to the stifling free speech when that speech involves complaints of a product's inadequacies and/or election fraud. There is a big diference between the stifling of free speech and refusal to allow an organization to incorporate a curriculum manual for the purposes of adulterating it. What the Kansas state board of education wants to do is assert a claim of the scientific legitimacy of ID by associating it with a respected science education plan (inserting ID into the science education plans of the organizations) when the organizations that created the copywrited material want to maintain the scientific and intellectual integrity of their copyrighted material. The state is trying to have it both ways by maintaining accreditation of their science curriculum by using the NAS and NTSA manuals while undermining the integrity of those manuals by insinuating a program that is inconsistent with the standards of those manuals. The NAS and NSTA, on the other hand, are refusing to permit the state to incorporate the manuals because it would be seen as a tactic endorsement/approval of a revision to the curriculum that does not meet the high scientific standards of those organizations. If the state board of educators is so sure they know so much more about what is and is not science than these organizations do, they should develop their own manuals instead of expecting the science organizations with whom they openly disagree to provide them with the permission they need to use theirs. Kansas can determine what they will mandate as part of their science curriculum, but that does not mean that the rest of us must accept their students as having received an accurate and acceptable science education.

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