20 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2009
Date Written: March 10, 2009
When the state buys and then provides to the citizens goods and services, the state may certainly choose to audit, independently and comprehensively, the quality of the goods and services so provided, particularly when citizens are reporting back that the goods or services are causing unwanted, deleterious effects. This principle applies to intellectual property -- information -- education -- as well as to other goods and services. In particular, it applies to the theory of evolution as taught by the state in its schools, colleges, and universities. A substantial public has long expressed concern; and the state may properly respond to that concern.
Naturally, the state would never allow the vendor of goods and services to dictate that only its employees, or others whom it effectively controls, may be allowed to conduct audits. Indeed, persons substantially subject to the control of the vendor are the last possible choices to serve as independent auditors. The conflict-of-interest is well-recognized regarding information and opinion services: a huge problem arose with the big national auditing firms when they also established management consulting divisions -- the auditors tended to report favorably about companies and projects on which their own management consultants were involved.
Yet the science community quite bluntly and openly proclaims that only its members -- persons it controls -- may function as auditors of the quality of scientific statements and propositions. They do this by asserting that only scientists may declare what is, or is not, scientific.
Now it may be true that within any company, only employees of that company may properly develop the products that the company sells, and only they may deliver the company's statements regarding the quality of its own products. But when a company sells its products outside of itself, to others, such as the government, it may not impose as a condition of sale that only its employees may continue to render opinions about the quality of the product. When the science community actively urges the government to take-up and re-distribute its product, it necessarily surrenders any claim to a monopoly over auditing the product.
A difficulty of conducting truly independent audits of science product vended to the government for delivery to the people lies in the fact that to-date, there is no systematic program of developing and training people to serve as such independent auditors. The closest group of people to rely on for this would be lawyers who, in litigation, have developed the ability to cross-examine expert witnesses in cases such as patent cases, or product-liability cases, or other litigations that involve expert testimony in advanced academic fields. This paper outlines a program by which states can conduct appropriate independent audits of evolution as vended to the state by the science community.
Keywords: evolution, intelligent design, public schools, education, audits, vendors, intellectual property
JEL Classification: H10, H40, H42, H43, H52, H57, H72, I21, I28, O34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Sisson, Edward H., A Proposal for State Legislatures to Pursue Impartial Audits of the Scientific Basis for Evolution as the State Teaches it in its High Schools, Colleges, and Universities (March 10, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1357100 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1357100