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Archive for Tuesday, September 7, 1999

ST. JO CONDOLENCES

September 7, 1999

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To the editor:

Condolences are in order for the education system of Kansas, and what better place to start than the home of the Jayhawks? I had always been told the Jayhawk original was a pterodactyl over 60 million years old. You may have to revise that. I attended the State Board of Education meeting August 10, and found that, by a margin of 6 of 4, the powers that be think Genesis is just as good science as paleontology, so the Jayhawk can't be over 6,000! (I wonder there aren't any painted on cave walls or in the pyramids. Wouldn't one have made a great mummy?)

There were a few of us attending to suggest that since science works pretty well (brain surgery, polyester, space flights and so on), scientists must actually know what they're talking about and it would be good for students to hear it. But during the fervor of the camp meeting that followed, we were swallowed up and swamped by heart-warming things like, "Ain't no atheists in foxholes!" and "Evolution caused the killings at Columbine High!" Of course poor old Charles Darwin took a terrible beating and the fundamentalist/creationist interpretation of the Bible was the order of the day, which made me wonder: could we have creation "science" based on the Book of Mormon? Or the Vedas? The Koran? How about the Walum Olum? (That's the Navaho creation story and it would make a doozy of a "science!") But since, apparently, no student in Kansas ever hears of God or has any religion at all until he hits high school biology and is likely to be corrupted, the 6 reverend board members have simply seen fit to remove the opposition. Yessir, ignorance and innocence -- same thing! Keep 'em dumb, they'll just do swell!

It's the Susie Effect. I once tried to tell my neighbor about sex (we were 9 or 10 and her sister was having a baby) but every time I tried, she'd say "God sends the babies!" After three of four tries, she was screaming "GOD SENDS THE BABIES!!!" and her mother came out and chased me home with a broom. But I got even. She married a biology teacher and had four kids.

I hope the students in Kansas get even some day, but they'll have to reverse that lousy board decision first. Until then, both science AND religion are hog-tied, and that's bad for everybody.

Harrison Hartley,

St. Joseph, Mo.

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