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Archive for Tuesday, September 7, 1999

STAGGERING HYPOCRISY

September 7, 1999

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To the editor:

As a lifelong Kansan I am offended by the recent actions of our state board of education. In one stupefying vote, the board validated all those "yokel" stereotypes that bedevil our state.

Centuries ago, the Catholic Church, believing man was the centerpiece of creation and unable to imagine a God whose vision surpassed their own, rejected Copernicus' theory that the Sun didn't revolve around the Earth. How far we have come since then! In modern-day Kansas, the Board of Education, believing man is the centerpiece of creation and unable to imagine a God whose vision surpasses their own, voted to exalt doctrine over science. Will we endure another dogma-inspired "dark age" of intellectual repression before rejecting authoritarian ways of knowing in favor of the scientific method?

In the Aug. 16 University Daily Kansan, a board member was interviewed. Those who believe education is mind-expanding will find John Bacon's comments mind-blowing. We read that his vote was influenced by those many Kansans who believe in creationism and aren't on the evolution "bandwagon." He also hopes that the decision "might level the playing field a little between the professor and the student," that "The teacher may not be able to manipulate the student's thought process as much."

Is our goal to educate students only up to the lowest level of public misunderstanding? Aren't teachers supposed to shape students' abilities to think? Lord, save me from students who cling to disproved beliefs with the mantra "it was good enough for Moses and it's good enough for me!" and are backed up by public education officials.

Move over Fred Phelps. Move over all who interpret the Bible to justify racism, sexism, or another form of antirationalism. You are outdone. In a gesture of sublime arrogance and willful ignorance, our board of education has decreed that reliance on the scientific method is antithetical to advancing scientific knowledge about our nature and place in the universe. Science education is best served by shielding students from ideas that contradict the current cabal of biblical literalists. Just give me that Old Time Religion! The hypocrisy is staggering.

Raymond L. Higgins,

Lawrence.

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