Archive for Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Kansas blesses science standards that challenge evolution

November 8, 2005, 12:06 p.m. Updated November 8, 2005, 4:31 p.m.


Kansas Board of Education representatives raise their hands Tuesday afternoon in favor of adopting the new science standards at the Board of Education Building in Topeka. The measure passed with a vote of 6-4.

Kansas Board of Education representatives raise their hands Tuesday afternoon in favor of adopting the new science standards at the Board of Education Building in Topeka. The measure passed with a vote of 6-4.

— A sharply divided State Board of Education today approved science standards that critics say will promote religion in school, hurt the state's economy and make Kansas a national joke.

"This is a sad day for the state of Kansas," said board member Carol Rupe, R-Wichita.

But Board Chairman Steve Abrams, a Republican from Arkansas City, defended the new standards as giving students an opportunity to learn about the controversy surrounding evolution. "This is one of the best things we can do," he said.

After nearly an hour of debate, the 6-4 majority of social conservatives pushed through the standards that open up criticism of evolution.

Now Kansas joins a handful of states, prodded by supporters of intelligent design, that have taken on evolution. John Calvert, managing director of Intelligent Design Network, who helped produce a four-day hearing in May to bash evolution, said, "No longer will Darwin be taught dogmatically in Kansas public schools."

The board vote ended nearly 10 months of often rancorous debate that attracted international attention. The decision also signaled the next phase of the struggle -- the 2006 election when four of the six conservatives up are for re-election; several have already drawn opponents.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius criticized the board's action. "If we're going to continue to bring high-tech jobs to Kansas and move our state forward, we need to strengthen science standards, not weaken them," she said.

For more on this story, see the 6News reports at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunflower Broadband's channel 6 and pick up a copy of Wednesday's Journal-World.


Kaw Pickinton 12 years ago

Oh man, is going to have a hell of a time with this one.

What a joke. Now I'm running for BOE. Who's with me?

ryanjasondesch 12 years ago

Since when did discussing the gaps in the theory of evolution equal teaching ID garbage? Sure there should be a discussion on what the theory of evolution can't explain. That's what science is for, asking questions. No theory about anything is complete. That doesn't mean we need any pseudo science in religious clothing in a freakin science class. This action by the school board is wrong at every level, and despite what some may think, this is of the most vital importance and relevance today. Too bad we just made the wrong choice. One more step in making the United States fall behind the world in education, one more step in dropping the collective IQ a few more points, one more step in doing exactly opposite of what the board proposes, i.e. establishing critical thinking. Sorry Kansas, we failed today.

BunE 12 years ago

I think that it is ironic that a pro-ID group is called CWAK.

BunE 12 years ago

Thank you! I will be here all week, tip your waitresses and SHOW BUSINESS IS MY LIFE!

christie 12 years ago

New State Motto:

Kansas, As BACKWARDS as you think.

crohan1978 12 years ago

Just curious, the likes of you people always preach tolerance, so why don't you practice what you preach. The theory of evolution is just as far fetched as intelligent design to a lot of people. Just because it may make more sense to you doesn't make everyone else stupid. What is wrong about teaching about both sides? Is that sooooooooooo wrong? What are you afraid of? People might actually start to question what they're taught? Give me a friggin break people, cool your jets, this isn't the end of the world

christie 12 years ago

Which religion shall we embrace Crohan, or better yet Cro-Mag.

Hmmmm, how about Buddism, or how about the Muslim point of view. How about Satanism.. that is a religion by the way. Shall we take up Catholicism. How about the Jewish view. Shall it be the Protestant view or the Southern Baptist view. Should we invite a New-Age crowd into our schools. The merry-go-round spins around and around - where will it stop?

Decisions Decisions.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years ago

This will be bigger than the sexual revolution in the 60's. Watch as our nation struggles with this one for the next decade.

Be sure to eat your Wheaties, and make sure you secure your tray tables in an upright position. This controversy will get worse before it gets better.

chrisgladfelter 12 years ago

I was raised Catholic and went to Bible class every Sunday for about 10 years. I learned about Adam and Eve and how God created the universe in 6 days long before I learned about evolution. After taking just one or two science courses in middle school, I came to understand how evolution is a fact---not a theory---and how every culture on this planet has their own creation myth.

Suppose evolution is 100% fool proof and that all creation myths are, in fact, simply myths. That still doesn't explain why or how evolution started in the first place. I think that's what some of the Board members are touching on. Still, such questions belong in religious-studies classes, not in the science textbooks.

yourworstnightmare 12 years ago

The intemperate ignorance displayed in these blogs by the fundamentalist/creationist/IDers of the Kansas Taliban continues to amaze. Bunch a freakin' spoiled little Dorothys: "Ooo the big old world is complicated and conflicts with my little dogma. Make it go away! Make it stop!" Click your heels, Dorothys.

Even if these "standards" are reversed, the damage is done, the stuff is out of the horse. Kansas biology teachers already feel intimidated about teaching real science regardless of official standards, and the US and world as a whole is further impressed with the idea that Kansas is filled with fundamentalist wackos out of touch with reality, willing to slit their own throats to avoid dealing with the real world. Sadly for Kansas and Kansans, the market will correct this and Kansas will sink further into the intellectual and economic backwaters.

yourworstnightmare 12 years ago

Where it apparently belongs, I might add.

My_Voice 12 years ago

This is a sad sad day for all the people of Kansas. If anyone truly believes this is going to take us forward then you are sorely mistaken. Kansas has always been considered "backwards" but now the rest of the nation is the one bending us over. I look forward to watching comedians from across the globe making fun of our political decisions.

dex 12 years ago

what's wrong with criticizing the theory of evolution? all scientific theories and hypotheses need to be criticized continusously, there is no other way to root out those theories that no longer hold up to ever-increasing volumes of data.

is there anybody on either side of this "debate" that understands what science is all about? anybody? science is an iterative process by which we construct models of nature, refining and throwing out models as necessary in light of new data.

any school board policy that encourages critical thinking among the captive customers is fine by me.

Chris Bohling 12 years ago

The creation of the universe/animals/humans/whatever is as much a philosophical problem as it is scientific one. If the school board really cared about students getting a "balanced" creation PHILOSOPHY then they would require all students to take a PHILOSOPHY class. . . but wait, that would require money . . . and God forbid we spend money. . .

yourworstnightmare 12 years ago

what's wrong with criticizing the theory of God? all religions need to be criticized continusously, there is no other way to root out those religions that no longer hold up to ever-increasing volumes of data.

is there anybody on either side of this "debate" that understands what religion is all about? anybody? religion is a dogmatic inculcation by which we construct dogma about nature, refusing to refine and throw out religions as necessary in light of new data.

any religious policy that encourages critical thinking among the captive customers is fine by me.

mermily 12 years ago

nothing is wrong with criticizing the theory of evolution. and nothing is wrong with people believing in ID.

instead, our horror at ID being offered in schools isn't b/c we can't stand opposition, don't appreciate that science is improved when it is challenged, aren't tolerant of religion, are un-religious ourselves, or even necessarily disagree with ID..... our problem with the situation is that you question science with science, not religion. and that religion shouldn't be in school. simple.

for everyone that is trying to make this about our lack of tolerance or inability to be questioned, you seem to be purposefully missing the issue.

dex 12 years ago

scientists have faith in the scientific method. i believe that a properly constructed experiment will tell me something about how the universe works as a whole: the experiment is repeatable everywhere. i have no evidence for this, but i believe it to be true. one of the problems with evolution is that it's very difficult to construct an experiment that is capable of disproving the theory of evolution. in that sense, evolution is a weaker theory than, say, quantum mechanics.

religion and science are not as far removed as this polarized debate seems to assume. of course, one is very useful for building things that work, the other one isn't.

yourworstnightmare 12 years ago

In some regards, hottruckinmamma, John 1945, et al are correct. This is a tempest in a teapot, the teapot being the State of Kansas. The national and world market will take care of this "blip" to ensure that the teapot remains an economic and intellectual backwater (with the occasional tempest).

Life as we know it will go on and science will continue to progress. Just not in Kansas.

dex 12 years ago

"Life as we know it will go on and science will continue to progress. Just not in Kansas."

oh, the drama! i'm tearing up!

yourworstnightmare 12 years ago


You are wrong. Evolution as Darwin knew it has in fact been disproven, yet the core idea of variation and natural selection remains and has survived, in the past 150 years, major technical/intellectual revolutions (genetics, molecular biology, and genomes). This makes the modern theory of evolution one of the strongest theories out there.

yourworstnightmare 12 years ago

If Lamarck et al. had been correct (inheritance of somatically-acquired traits), then evolution would have been disproven.

If there was not a striking correlation between the fossil record, genetic similarity, and developmental similarity, evolution would have been disproven.

If the earth was found to be 5000 years old, evolution would be disproven.

If only fossils of extant creatures were found, evolution would be disproven.

If human remains were found in the gullets of dinosaur fossils, evolution would be disproven.

If all organisms did not share a similar complement of genes with conserved functions, evolution would be disproven.

The list goes on and on. At every point there are opportunities for evolution to be disproven, but it has not happened. In fact, all of the newly-acquired data, while they modifiy the theory, have strengthened the theory of evolution.

stbaker 12 years ago

Intelligent Design is a theory based on faith. Faith is what should be taught in a religous/spiritual arena, not public school. Give me some scientific evidence that supports ID, and then I would consider teaching it in science class. We are not upholding the separation of church and state by incorporating ID into public schools.

BunE 12 years ago

I have an experiment for ID: I just need piece of god to verify the data.

I have cash

yourworstnightmare 12 years ago


Just like the Geneva Conventions, the idea of separation of church and state is quaint and anachronistic.

yourworstnightmare 12 years ago


You could set out traps so when god is bowling (thunder), flushing his toilet (hurricanes), or water-skiiing (tsunamis), you might be able to snag a chunk.

Beware, however. A collector in Banda Aceh tried this last December...

yourworstnightmare 12 years ago

Observer: Does Kansas deserve defense?

Jeff Barclay 12 years ago


yourworstnightmare 12 years ago

Barclay: I can't speak for evolutionists, but for scientists, its because you fundamentalist Kansas Talibaners are a bunch of ignorant Dorothys clicking your pathetic little heels together in support of some paltry little dogmatic worldview, trying to stem the eventual tide that will overwhelm you and relegate you to the dustbin of history.

dream 12 years ago

Ironic that those who think ID is science without any knowledge of scientific method match the saying:

Monkey see, monkey do...

BunE 12 years ago

Holy cow! I just caught a chubracabra! Do you think that will work? Or am I in dutch with PETA?

Some one let me know if that is god-like enough.

DGL 12 years ago

This is a sad day for Kansas.

field_ump 12 years ago

DGL: But it's a great day in Atchison!

usaschools 12 years ago

It isn't a matter of those opposed to the teaching of ID as SCIENCE, not religion or philosophy, "practicing what they preach" by acknowledging that "The theory of evolution is just as far fetched as intelligent design to a lot of people. " What is not being acknowledged is that anyone who thinks evolution is as far-fetched as ID is either uneducated or a complete moron. I mean, this is pure unadalterated BS. It is like not laughing when someone says they seriously believe the earth is only 10,000 years old because we are afraid to offend them. Well, I say, "Offend away." It is time to stop tolerating pure stupidity in the name of being unoffensive.

FACT, not opinion: The world is not 10,000 years old. FACT, not opinion: ID theory is not based on science, even though science is sometimes discussed by its proponents.

 Now, if you want to argue that the Flying Spaghetti Monster theory is as far-fetched as ID, you would perhaps have a point. However, to compare ID and evolution as though they share the same degree of uncertainty is ridiculous, and should be ridiculed.

There is a difference between tolerance for viewpoints and accepting lies and untruths as valid points of view. If someone said the sky was purple and green with red polka dots and the sun never went down, would you honor their belief system? We have hurt ourselves by tolerating idiocy in the name of religious tolerance. When a member of the State Board of Education claims that he is following his belief in Genesis over science AND basing his decision on what is good for education, the insanity has reached a point of being glaringly obvious. There is nothing wrong with fighting the cretins with ridicule.

You may believe that God created the world. Not a thing wrong with that. If you think that is a scientific theory and not a religious, faith-based statement, you are a moron.  Let's tell it like it is.

laughingatallofu 12 years ago

I love it.

You know what? By tomorrow morning, nobody is going to remember (or care) what this was all about.

So many keyboards trashed for so little impact.

Wake up people. Is this the most important thing that we can focus our attention on?

Lou Mulligan 12 years ago

I think the real stink is that nobody on the left believes that the folks on the right are actually interested in having a discussion of ideas re evolution v. creationism. Many on the left, see this as a not so overt attempt to use the power of the state to impose a religious view on their kids. On the flip side, many on the right see the teaching of evolution as imposing a secular view on their kids. Neither side seems willing to compromise. This problem appears indictative of the state of our democracy. Both the far left and far right are so entreached that compromise (the art of politics mind you) is unacceptable. Too bad.

But the shame (if it is to be placed) is not on these members of the BOE. It seems clear to me that the vast majority of folks in Kansas lie somewhere in the middle and have commonsense solutions to these issues (e.g., the philosophy requirement noted above). But the vast majority of the electorate: (1) does not care about this stuff until it is too late, (2) never bothers to vote for the BOE, (3) if they do vote it is a knee-jerk "I always vote Republican/Democrat" response without bothering even to read the paper's one paragraph synopsis of a candidate's views.

The shame lies on us. It is our democracy. We shouldn't have voted ideologues (lefties or righties) in to begin with and we should vote them off now.

All that said, here's a sarcastic solution (more appropriate to the general tenor of the comments):

Those who don't believe in evolution should be excluded from annual flu vaccinations. I mean really, the flu obviously doesn't evolve every year (heresy!). Therefore, no need to get a new shot. This process will save more vaccine for the Darwinists. And then (dare I say it) over time, the flu will (wait for it ...) naturally select the weakest among us (those without the updated vaccine) and we as a state will "evolve" out of this problem.

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