SCIENCE EDUCATION ITS METHODS AND PURPOSE
by Richard B. Bliss, Ed.D.
that the search for knowledge and understanding of the
physical universe and of living things that inhabit it should be
conducted under conditions of intellectual freedom, without
religious, political, or ideological restrictions ... that freedom
of inquirv and dissemination of ideas require that those so
engaged be free to search where their inquiry leads ... without
political censorship and vhthout fear of retribution in
consequence of unpopularity of their conclusions. Those who
challenge existing theories must be protected from retaliatory
reactions." (National Academy - Resolution 1976.)'
The foregoing portion of "An Affirmation of Freedom of
Inquiry and Expression," put forth by the National Academy of
Sciences in April 1976, should be the basis on which all scientific
endeavor is founded.
Quality science education depends upon recognizing
this commitment. Without freedom to inquire, the scientific
enterprise would be ruled by intimidation rather than
understanding through inquiry. If we don't help students develop
sound investigative skills at a very early age, there is no reason
to believe that students will be able to think critically and
scientifically as they grow older.2
This approach was determined in the 1960's to be teaching
good science by a project funded by the American Association for
the Advancement of Science. Entitled "Science: A Process
Approach"'3 it utilized eleven basic skills necessary to implement
good science. These skills are, in effect, the underlying
components of what is frequently called the "Scientific Method of
Reasoning." These eleven major processes, which have been
identified as involving the great majority of student (and
scientific) activities, were implemented. They include
obseruation, classification, inferring, predicting, measuring,
communicating, interpreting data, makin_q operational definitions,
formulating questions and hypotheses, experimenting, and
formulating models. Most of these eleven process skills are used
and agreed upon by all science educators as desirable outcomes for
learners of science.
When students are given the opportunity to explore freely
aspects of the world and scientific endeavor, such as diversity,
change, continuity, interaction, organization, and limitation
(Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction),4 then the skills of
science can be learned in an easy and exciting manner.
These conceptual schemes, combined with hands-on activities,
provide the framework for learning in science, but even beyond
that, they become the platform for critical thought and
open-mindedness. An expansion of the six concepts listed below,
developed by renowned science educator Paul De Hart Hurd, would
allow for an enormous number of student experiences in every area
of science and at every level of science instruction.5
1. All matter is composed of units called fundamental
2. Matter exists in the form of units which can 15e
classified into hierarchies of organizational levels.
3. The behavior of matter in the universe can be described
on a statistical basis, units of matter interact, and
the basis of all ordinary interactions are either
electromagnetic, gravitational, or nuclear forces.
4. All interacting units of matter tend toward the
equilibrium states in which energy content is a minimum
and the energy distribution is most random, and the sum
of energy and matter in the universe remains constant.
6. One of the forms of energy is the motion of units of
matter. All matter exists in time and space, and, since
interactions occur among these units, matter is subject,
in some degree, to changes with time.
This approach to science education inherently focuses on the
foundational concepts needed for literacy in science, as well as
giving a clear understanding of what science offers. The only
restrictions on answers to scientific questions are scientific.
The student must learn that science implies "freedom of inquiry
and dissemination of ideas" and not censorship. Science education
should teach: "a respect for logic, a desire to search for data, a
longing for knowledge and understanding, a consideration of
consequences, a consideration of premises, a demand for verifica-
tion, and to question all things."6
It is wrong when science education takes on the role of
programming young minds toward a particular philosophical
viewpoint rather than experimental observation, but that is what
is being done today by evolutionary naturalists. Evolution is
merely a philosophical view of history and life, and it is
destined to destroy the credibility of the scientific enterprise,
should it continue to be programmed into generations of students'
minds as fact. Evolution can never qualify as a legitimate theme
of science because of its philosophical stretch beyond the reality
of scientific exploration. Making evolution one of the "Big
Ideas" of science could only be proposed by philosophically biased
scientists who have decided they want their viewpoint to dominate,
not because it has any value in science education or proof in
In spite of evolution's continued scientific failure, it
persists among many scientists and others. Some scientists
believe in evolution by conscious choice, but most believe it
because they are under the mistaken impression that there is no
viable alternative. Evolution is not the best explanation for:
the diversification of life forms; the direction of change in any
organism; the observations in the fossil and living record
showing stasis; the observations related to interactions and
systems; the idea of scale and structure, etc. One ought to
recognize some of the failures that result from this belief in
evolution, such as the following fallacious textbook teachings:
Stanley Miller and Urey's experiment with "reducing atmospheres,"
which the scientific evidence indicates never has existed (NASA -
Joel Levine Report);7 "embryonic recapitulation," which has no
basis in factual science;8 "the evolution of the horse," which is
now widely recognized as a so-called "bush" instead of a family
"tree";9 "molecular homology," which has been totally falsified as
an evidence for evolution;'o and many others which continue to be
taught to students as factual science and provide the classic
arguments for evolution theory.
If evolution becomes the only "Big Idea" that can be brought
to bear on the subject of the origin of life and the overall theme
of science education, then all children in the public schools of
America are destined to be brainwashed in a philosophy of science
that cannot stand the rigorous test of scientific falsification,
repeatability, or verification. We have, in this case, taken away
the right of our students to think creatively and critically.
This is not only unconscionable, but harmful, and certainly not
in keeping with the proper method, mode, and purpose of science
education for our public school system.
Perhaps we can conclude with the four components of a "Full
Science for Decision Makers" program proposed by Dr. Mary Budd
Can we honestly say to students and parents that we are
implementing this exemplary approach to science education when
science framework writers insist that students must be taught with
the failed dogma of evolution as science's unifying principle? The
objective and open-minded science educator must say "No!" Let us
teach children how to learn and to be critical thinkers by
developing in them the skills of scientific inquiry that are tried
and proven, and clearly in keeping with the "Affirmation of
Freedom of Inquiry and Expression."
1- "An Affirmation of Freedom of Inquiry and Expression,"
National Academy of Sciences Resolution, April 1976.
2. John Renner, Don Stafford, William Ragan, Teaching Science in
the Elementary School, Harper & Row, pp. 88,89, 1973.
3. W. Kyle, Ronald Bonnstetter, Thomas Gadsden, "An
Implementation Study: An Analysis of Elementary Students and
Teachers Attitudes toward Science in Process Approach versus
Traditional Science Classes," Journal of Research in Science
Teaching, Vol. 25, Issue 2, February 1988.
4. William C. Kahl, State Superintendent, A Guide to Science
Curriculum Deuelopment, Wisconsin Department of Public
Instruction, Bulletin No. 161, 1967.
5. Paul De Hart Hurd, Theor_v into Action, "Toward a Theory of
Science Education Consistent with Modern Science," National
Science Teachers Association, 1962.
6. Thomas M. Weiss, The Spirit of Science (NARST, Vol. 53, No.
7. J. Levine, New Ideas about the Early Atmosphere, NASA Special
Report, No. 225, Langley Research Center, August 11, 1983.
8. Sir Gavin de Beer, Homology; An Unsolued Problem (London),
Oxford University Press, 1971.
9. G. Hardin, Nature and Man's Fate, pp. 225 226, 1960.
10. M. Denton, Euolution: A Theory in Crisis, Adler and Adler,
Bethesda, Maryland, 1986.
11. Mary Budd Howe, "Full Science for Decision Makers," in Third
Sourcebook for Science Superuisors, La Moine L. Motz and
Gerry Madrazo, Jr. (Editors), 1988.
Index - Evolution or Creation1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106 | 107 | 108 | 109 | 110 | 111 | 112 | 113 | 114 | 115 | 116 | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 | 123 | 124 | 125 | 126 | 127 | 128 | 129 | 130 | 131 | 132 | 133 | 135 | 136 | 137 | 138 | 139 | 140 | 141 | 142 | 143 | 144 | 145 | 146 | 147 | 148 | 149 | 150 | 151 | 152 | 153 | 154 | 155 | 156 | 157 | 158 | 159 | 160 | 161 | 162 | 163 | 164 | 165 | 166 | 168 | 169 | 170 | 171 | 172 | 173 | 174 | 175 | 176 | 177 | 178 | 179 | 180 | 181 | 182 | 183 | 184 | 185 | 186 | 187 | 188 | 189 | 190 | 191 | 192 | 193 | 194 | 195 | 196 | 197 | 198 | 199 | 200 | 201 | 202 | 203 | 204 | 205 | 206 | 207 | 208 | 209 | 210 | 211 | 212 | 213 | 214 | 215 | 216 | 217 | 218 | 219 | 220 | 221 | 222 | 223 | 224 | 225 | 226 | 227 | 228 | 229 | 230 | 231