Archive for Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Criticism of evolution added to science standards

Conservatives claim 6-4 victory

November 9, 2005


— A sharply divided State Board of Education on Tuesday approved science standards that critics say will promote religion in school, hurt the state's economy and make Kansas a 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 board 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, encouraged by supporters of intelligent design, that have taken on evolution. John Calvert, managing director of Intelligent Design Network in Johnson County, who helped produce a four-day hearing in May to bash evolution, said, "No longer will Darwin be taught dogmatically in Kansas public schools."

Members of the local, national and international press converge around Board of Education chairman Dr. Steve Abrams as he expresses his happiness about the board's successful vote on adopting the new science standards. Abrams voted in favor of the measure, which passed 6-4.

Members of the local, national and international press converge around Board of Education chairman Dr. Steve Abrams as he expresses his happiness about the board's successful vote on adopting the new science standards. Abrams voted in favor of the measure, which passed 6-4.

The Kansas battle is part of a nationwide debate. In Pennsylvania, the Dover school board has been legally challenged for requiring that high school students hear about intelligent design in biology classes. President Bush also has said intelligent design, which holds that the complexity of life proves the existence of a higher power, should be taught alongside evolution.

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 are up 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.

Bitter debate

While the final result was expected, that didn't keep board members and those involved in the battle from trying to get in their last licks.

As the discussion started, Abrams passed around a resolution to adopt the standards that also laid out an account of the standards-making process that was favorable to the conservatives.

Opponents of the standards were flabbergasted.

Board member Janet Waugh, D-Kansas City, said usually the board simply votes on the standards without also adopting a one-sided narrative.

"Why do we need this?" Waugh asked.

"Get real," Abrams answered. "Look around the room," he said, noting all the media. He said the resolution provided an explanation of how the standards were devised.

Rupe said the standards were simply an attempt to put a narrow religious belief into the classroom.

"I wish you were not changing science to have it fit your faith," she said.

But Abrams and other board members said it was evolution that was being treated like a religion that can't be questioned. They accused opponents of the standards of being afraid of change.

Waugh replied, "We are becoming a laughingstock not only of the nation, but the world."

But Ken Willard, a Republican from Hutchinson, said, "People who continue to say that are suffering from a collective poor self image."

Copyright problems

Another unresolved issue about the standards is that two national science organizations have refused to let Kansas use their copyright guidelines because of the criticism of evolution.

That means the standards have to be rewritten to get around the copyright language.

Abrams said that shouldn't be difficult to fix, but Sue Gamble, R-Shawnee, said it wasn't right to vote on standards that hadn't even been written yet.

"We appear to be approving a pig in a poke," she said.

But Abrams replied, "It's immaterial because you're not going to vote for them anyway."

Earlier in the day, members of the public spoke to the board about the standards.

Lisa Volland, a science teacher at Topeka West High School, said she will use the standards as a "teachable moment" to tell students intelligent design "is not a scientific theory."

But Linda Holloway, a former board chairman who was defeated after she pushed for de-emphasizing evolution in 1999, said Kansas was at the vanguard of an important struggle.

"You are breaking the shackles of evolution, so we can pry it open and look into it," she said.

No immediate impact

For all the hue and cry, the vote will have no immediate practical impact on teaching science in Kansas classrooms, officials said.

The standards are used as guidelines for school districts to prepare for statewide science tests.

None of the controversial parts of the standards are keyed to the tests, which aren't scheduled until 2007.

Kansas has been down this road before. After the board voted to de-emphasize evolution in 1999, moderates won elections to take over the board and reverse the decision in 2001.

But in two election cycles since then, conservatives regained the majority and this year started to push for science changes.


jayhawk2000 12 years, 7 months ago

Are Kansas biology teachers now expected to teach students about Noah's Ark as well?

In shop class they can teach how Noah built a boat big enough to hold all the animal species on earth.

Then in history class they can teach how all the different nationalities are descended from this one man and his three sons.

In English class students will learn how all the world's languages were created in an instant at the Tower of Babel. But that of course that means in Speech class they will have to debate how these languages survived, if everyone is descended from Noah's family...

Solti 12 years, 7 months ago

Laughingstock, you say, Waugh? Hardly! Many are looking to the Kansas vote with hope! Perhaps we can be some of the leaders in steering America where it should be! Yesterday was a great day in Kansas and Texas!

fossilhunter 12 years, 7 months ago

Laughingstock - YES! The national view: In St. Louis, where I live, the local TV said this morning, "The Kansas BOE yesterday voted to teach biblical creationism in public schools. In criticizing evolution, the BOE wants science teachers to teach intelligent design."

In Pennsylvania - ALL of the school board members who supported ID are voted out of office yesterday (a premier of what is to come in Kansas?)

Why all the media, Mr. Abrams? Because no one can believe that this is really happening. You would get the same media coverage if the BOE was voting to require teaching the world is flat.

hottruckinmama 12 years, 7 months ago

hope is what happened yesterday in virgina and new jersey. people are finally getting fed up with the far right nutballs and the way the "all for the rich man" republicans are ruining our country. now that is hope.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 7 months ago

This voucher system,like Creationism, is backed by the Christian Coalition which does not represent the majority of christians in the state of Kansas or anywhere else for that matter. The Christian Coalition is very right wing thinking which is why the 2006 primary and general election is very important. At least Douglas County can send John Bacon packing this time and if we are lucky Jim Ryun as well. However that means voters cannot stay home per usual for this primary election. As far as I'm concerned Ryun and Bacon are bogus republicans like Bush.

Here is the group of people who provide strong vocal opposition to increase funding for public schools but now are willing to accept these tax dollars. This group also has stated they did not want government meddling in home schooling or the education of our children in general but again will take tax dollars. If this passes in the legislature and more tax dollars are necessary to fund vouchers the Christian Coalition will be out front supporting a tax increase. I say send John Bacon and Jim Ryun packing in the primary elections if possible. Voters cannot stay home ever again. Primaries are very very important.

This could also be affecting economic growth locally and state wide.

DaREEKKU 12 years, 7 months ago

WHAT A CROC OF CRAP! I am SICK and TIRED of relgion perverting any sense of reason that people supposed to possess! Apparantly being religious and unreasonable go hand in hand! Way to go Kansas, for making us a complete laughing stock!

bankboy119 12 years, 7 months ago

"As by this theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed. Why do we not find them embedded in the crust of the earth? Why is not all nature in confusion [of halfway species] instead of being, as we see them, well-defined species?"-Charles Darwin, quoted in H. Enoch, Evolution or Creation (1966), p. 139.

"Paleontologists [fossil experts] have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin's argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life's history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we almost never see the very process we profess to study."-*Steven Jay Gould, The Panda's Thumb (1982), pp. 181-182 [Harvard professor and the leading evolutionary spokesman of the latter half of the twentieth century].

"I can envision observations and experiments that would disprove any evolutionary theory I know."-*Stephen Jay Gould, "Evolution as Fact and Theory," Discover 2(5):34-37 (1981).

[In a letter to Asa Gray, a Harvard professor of biology, Darwin wrote:] "I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science."-Charles Darwin, quoted in N.C. Gillespie, Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation (1979), p. 2 [University of Chicago book].

There's some reason for you.

avhjmlk 12 years, 7 months ago

I thought that Lawrence was represented by Bill Wagnon from Topeka (also voted against it, thank God).

I just can't believe (though really, I can) how incredibly unprofessional Dr. Abrams was during the meeting. Reread his responses to Carol Rupe: "It's [that we're voting for standards that haven't yet been written because of the copyright issue] immaterial because you're not going to vote for them anyway."; "Get real [about why they're including an explanation of the standards-writing process for the first time ever]...Look around the room [at the media]."

Did you see Abrams' face? That wasn't a look of a humble public servant. It was the look of a crazed lunatic who would burn books and be proud of himself.

born1980 12 years, 7 months ago

I'm traveling on business and it's so nice to hear on NBC Nightly News that the BOE has once again reverted back to the dark ages. This kind of news is stellar for a state trying to create a strong biotech presence. There are probably some people saying they would pick Utah over Kansas to live because at least the Mormons have opted out of No Child Left Behind.

avhjmlk 12 years, 7 months ago

Also, just remember, friends, that being religious and being completely insane and unreasonable do not go "hand in hand."

I'm a proud Catholic. But I'm also a proud believer in science, the scientific method, and evolution. There is nothing to say that the theory of evolution won't be modified in the future if new discoveries change the way we understand it. But, evolution as we know it today is the best explanation available to science about how species have come to be, and I belive it in wholeheartedly.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 7 months ago

The market will solve what's the matter with Kansas. Just like natural selection, the market favors those with the tools and resources to compete and excel in the market-driven environment.

This environment is now science and technology driven. Rightly or wrongly, students in Kansas will be perceived as having weak science education (and in fact will probably have a weak science education), and therefore these students will not be hired.

Likewise, the state of Kansas will be perceived (rightly) as not having the necessary educated workforce to make a technology/science-based company competitive. Businesses will stay away from Kansas in droves.

The end result is that Kansas will continue to not matter at all to the US and the world economies.

There are some very forward-thinking and concerned citizens in Kansas, many of whom contribute to this blog. For these folks it is the saddest, to realize that your home will continue to be marginalized, ridiculed, and will never reach its potential.

bankboy119 12 years, 7 months ago

Okay and now to the amusement of wendt and badger I want to say that I'm going to back track and say that ID should not be taught in schools. I still say that evolution is not accurate in that it is the beginning of life, but ID should not be in schools. After reading some posts by enochville I have to agree that God can fight His own fights. He uses men, but by reading the Bible you do find out that when He does use men they come right out with the ultimate truth and do not beat around the bush; which is what ID is doing. God should not be dressed up as "some intelligent being," but should be exalted for who He really is. Again, I don't believe evolution caused the beginning of all life and that when the exterminator comes I should be sad that I'm disposing of long lost relatives, but ID should not be taught in schools.

ms_canada 12 years, 7 months ago

Have any of you had an opportunity to read and digest these standards? Do any of you really know what you are shouting about? I can make no comment about these standards not having had the opportunity to read them and all those in the same position should be keeping quiet at least until you have read them. Those opposed to this vote, what are you afraid of? If you are so sure that evolution is how we got where we are, will the theory all fall apart with debate? Is that what you fear?

bankboy119 12 years, 7 months ago

avh....if you're Catholic how do you believe that we came from monkeys?

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 7 months ago


The quotes you have shown above are illustrative of nothing and have been removed from context. Scientists are careful investigators who consider many theories and alternatives. Just because Darwin and Gould uttered these words does not mean that they doubted evolutionary theory.

However, the soundbite mentality is probably all your mind can grasp. God forbid you look deeper.

"...there is no God..."-Pope John Paul II

fossilhunter 12 years, 7 months ago

Ms Canada - Yes, I have read the standards. They are bad. According to the new science standards, science must not only consider natural phenomena, but supernatural phenomena. Plop that in the lap of a 13 year old and see how they define science. Complete and total confusion. (And that means that Kansas has a different definition of science than the rest of the states.)

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 7 months ago


The standards represent faith-based attacks on science, not scientifically-based testing.

The standards seek to redefine science as to include supernatural and "logical" explanations for natural phenomenon.

The standards are politically-motivated and not motivated by the best interests of the students.

To name a few.

bankboy119 12 years, 7 months ago

Would you care to explain prospector how they are taken out of context? By reading the books I cannot see how they are.

Nightmare, again you are being extremely childish. The quotes that I have supplied are complete sentences from literature I'm sure you have not read since you sound about 12. Your quote on the other hand seems to be from the middle of a sentence and if you look at the Bible the phrase is in there as well. Now if you want to explain how they are out of context, please, by all means do so. But again, if you're going to post on the grown up board, act more mature than your long 12 years of life.

akuna 12 years, 7 months ago

Ms. Canada. I don't think anyone fears that evolution will fall apart. First and foremost because part of science is to test and evaluate theories. If the theories fall short, we science believers figure out what makes the theory not work and correct it.

I am afraid of may things that this indicates. First, Public schools will be teaching Christian creationism. That is a horrible precedence to set. Will this open the door for the teaching of multiple views of religious creationism? Second, Kansas' children are going to find it more difficult to be accepted into colleges that require a strong understanding of science and evolution. Third, this dumbs down science. Science is about rigorous testing and experimenting. ID is about accepting that God created the world - notice the lack of experimentation and testing. I am fine with teaching and learning about other "theories" as to how the universe began, but I don't think that teaching these things is the duty or responsibility of a science teacher. This is the responsibility of a philosophy course. Forth, it show the lack of respect that the school board and Christians in general have for science and alternative views of the world. If the point is to teach students that there are other "theories" about the beginning of the universe, then this could have been addressed with a more encompassing standard, not ID.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 7 months ago


Wow, you got the joke. Amazing. Now if you could only grasp the implications...

bankboy119 12 years, 7 months ago

Darwin said, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."

No mechanism has been put forward that even begins to explain how something like the human eye could have been produced by time, chance, natural selection and mutation.

Let's consider what Darwin himself said: "To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree."

A baby needs a number of very complex, interdependent systems to live and survive. These systems include the nervous, digestive, excretory, circulatory, skeletal, muscular and an immune system. For the baby to survive and live each system requires all the other systems to be functioning. Therefore all these systems must be in operation at the same time and could not have evolved slowly over millions of years.

There is no evidence (in the fossil record etc.) of the evolution of such systems. More than that, not even an imaginary process can be thought of to explain how something like the brain and the digestive system could have evolved bit by bit over time!

bankboy119 12 years, 7 months ago

By the way the above comments are not my own, I'm sure you can tell with the absence of grammatical errors. The evidence can speak for itself.

fossilhunter 12 years, 7 months ago

Bankboy - Fossil you're on my turf! First off, you really, really do not understand evolution. You keep talking like it is a morphing of parts/genuses that happen overnight. Talking about the central nervous system "evolving" without the immune system is just weird.

There is lots and lots of fossil evidence of evolving and changing. You have to remember, Darwin died before the discovery of the beautiful Chinese feathered dinosaur fossils, before we knew about asteroid impacts on the earth, heck, even before T-rex was discovered (by a Kansan, no less)!

bankboy119 12 years, 7 months ago

By Ethan Sudman © copyright 2003 The title of this essay may raise question marks among some of my readers. Many readers will wonder what the existence of matter has to do with evolution. Strictly speaking, this essay doesn't have to do as much with evolution as it does with the origins of the Universe itself. Even though it is technically incorrect, I will use "evolutionists" to mean scientists who agree with secular explanations for the origins of the Universe (such as the "Big Bang").

We are surrounded with matter. Some scientists estimate that there is an estimated 1 * 10^53 kilograms (not pounds) of matter in the universe. Everything which has a beginning has a cause. This leaves where would this matter come from? What caused it to come into being? All of evolutionists' theories of origins start by assuming the existence of matter.

To solve this problem, some evolutionists assume that matter has existed for all time. This is not based on any particular set of scientific data, but rather on their particular philosophical assumptions. And what is "time"? Can time truely exist independent of space?

The only way that matter can be created out of nothing is by converting energy to it (a procedure which remains unknown to modern science). However, the first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created (unless you convert matter to energy, which in itself requires energy to initiate and maintain). Therefore, you would have to have either energy or matter originally, matter and energy would have had to have been created by God.

I've heard evolutionists use "virtual particles" as an explanation of how matter can "appear" ex nihilo (out of nothing). Is this a plausible explanation? I'll analyze the evidence.

Pro-evolution Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2000 tells us: "A virtual particle differs from a real particle in that a virtual particle cannot be seen by means of a particle detector, but it can be observed through its indirect effects. Empty space is full of virtual particles fleetingly 'created' out of nothing, forming a particle and antiparticle pair that immediately destroy each other."

bankboy119 12 years, 7 months ago

Some evolutionists have suggested that enough virtual particles were not destroyed to create matter. However, the pro-evolution Encarta Encyclopedia tells us "...a virtual particle differs from a real particle..." The fact that "virtual particles" are not equivalent to a "real" particle is further evident by the fact that they are not detected by a particle detector, electron microscope, etc. Also, when virtual particles are "created", antiparticles are also instantly "created," therefore instantly destroying themselves.

Not all evolutionists claim to know where matter came from. When one evolutionist was questioned about the origins of matter, he honestly stated, "no one knows." To paraphrase: "we atheists really have no idea where matter actually came from, but we accept, by blind faith, that it somehow came into existence."

It's amazing how evolutionists often neglect the obvious in their desperate search for more support for their pet theory.

Kodiac 12 years, 7 months ago


Today, here and now, in our actual natural world, you can find many different organisms that range from simple light receptors that respond to light to the complex eye. You can find organisms in today's world that range from simple to complex functioning systems. So you are wrong about having to have all of these systems in place for them to function. Think about it bankboy you don't have to go back a million years to find these types of organisms, they are right here in front of your nose.

Densmore 12 years, 7 months ago


What is it that you are trying to say? Are you saying that there are unanswered questions with regard to evolution and therefore we must have been designed by something supernatural, or are you saying that evolution cannot possibly explain the origination of our species and therefore we must have been designed by something supernatural?

fossilhunter 12 years, 7 months ago

Bankboy - please use non-biased lit for your quotes. To say that scientists are athiests completely destroys any part of your arguement.

BTW, evolution and the "big bang" have nothing to do with each other.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 7 months ago


Your argument of irreducible complexity is one of the most intellectually lazy arguments ever put forth. It assumes that organismal development and physiology do/did not change over time, which is ridiculous.

A change in an organism that gives it an advantage might not initially be necessary for growth/development, but over time the development/physiology of the organism changes with regard to the modification, making it essential for growth and survival.

Irreducible complexity is a tautology because it assumes that organisms do not change over time. Ridiculous.

feeble 12 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps bankboy would be good enough to show the quotes in context?

Posted by bankboy119 (anonymous) on November 9, 2005 at 9:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"As by this theory, innumerable transitional forms must have existed. Why do we not find them embedded in the crust of the earth? Why is not all nature in confusion [of halfway species] instead of being, as we see them, well-defined species?"-Charles Darwin, quoted in H. Enoch, Evolution or Creation (1966), p. 139.

Read the rest of the quote:

"But, as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth? It will be more convenient to discuss this question in the chapter on the Imperfection of the Geological Record; and I will here only state that I believe the answer mainly lies in the record being incomparably less perfect than is generally supposed. The crust of the earth is a vast museum; but the natural connections have been imperfectly made, and only at long intervals of time.

But it may be urged that when several closely-allied species inhabit the same territory, we surely ought to find at the present time many transitional forms. Let us take a simple case: in travelling from north to south over a continent, we generally meet at successive intervals with closely allied or representative species, evidently filling nearly the same place in the natural economy of the land. These representative species often meet and interlock; and as the one becomes rarer and rarer, the other becomes more and more frequent, till the one replaces the other. But if we compare these species where they intermingle, they are generally as absolutely distinct from each other in every detail of structure as are specimens taken from the metropolis inhabited by each. By my theory these allied species are descended from a common parent; and during the process of modification, each has become adapted to the conditions of life of its own region, and has supplanted and exterminated its original parent-form and all the transitional varieties between its past and present states. Hence we ought not to expect at the present time to meet with numerous transitional varieties in each region, though they must have existed there, and may be embedded there in a fossil condition. But in the intermediate region, having intermediate conditions of life, why do we not now find closely-linking intermediate varieties? This difficulty for a long time quite confounded me. But I think it can be in large part explained. "

feeble 12 years, 7 months ago

[In a letter to Asa Gray, a Harvard professor of biology, Darwin wrote:] "I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science."-Charles Darwin, quoted in N.C. Gillespie, Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation (1979), p. 2 [University of Chicago book].

"It should be noted at the outset that the above citation is incorrect. The quote does not appear on page 2 of Professor Gillespie's book (Gillespie, Neal C. 1979. Charles Darwin and the Problem of Creation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.) but, rather, on page 63, in a paragraph carrying over from page 62."

" Darwin's application of these principles to particular scientific problems seems to have taken shape in the early period of his species work and to have changed little in later years. Surrounded by "inductionists," he was not always confident of the propriety of his practice. Thomas Kuhn has remarked that "all crises begin with the blurring of a paradigm and the consequent loosening of the rules for normal research." In the present case, those who drifted away from special creation also showed a tendency to abandon "induction" as normal scientific method. Darwin embodied the innovative use of "hypothesis" at its best, but he never fully accepted its philosophical implications, nor did he completely overcome the inhibitions of one who knew that he was innovating and necessarily violating the supposed Baconian methodological canons of his time: "I am quite conscious," he wrote to Asa Gray on the eve of the publication of the Origin, "that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science."When [it was reported that John Stuart Mill had characterized the Origin of Species] as being "in the most exact accordance with the strict principles of logic (and that) the method of investigation (was) the only one proper to such a subject," Darwin was relieved. ... [H]e suffered much at the hands of mathematicians, who usually, like so many of his critics, approached the Origin as if it were a proof of evolution, which of course it was not. Its supporters, on the other hand, commonly viewed it correctly as a hypothesis, based on plausibly ordered evidence and heuristic in purpose."

As for the Gould, you can have it. The man built a career on being contentious, if not necessarily correct.

Jamesaust 12 years, 7 months ago

Well, we're coming up in about 9 months to primary season for governor. Assuming that Sebelius is running for re-election and will be the Democrat nominee, focus will be on the various GOP candidates.

I guess question #1 should be: now that the Board of Education has voted to include supernatural phenomena in science classes, how do you plan to lure jobs and industry to this state? how do you plan to keep jobs and industry from leaving Kansas? what will you say to those considering investment in the state? can Kansas survive economically as an island is a global sea of evolution?

Question #2: do you, as a candidate for the office of governor, believe that the office needs to be strengthened to include appointment power to the board of education? should the diluted executive offices be focused on a core executive?

Artist 12 years, 7 months ago

You know I have read some interesting things today from a wide awray of opions. So what if the Science community has to teach another Theroy. If you look at what Darwin put together it was just a theroy. ID give another theroy. When we have elections we usually have two canidates with two different path/platforms of view. We as voters make a discession based upon which we feel will do the best job. The same is to be said about ID vs EV. Let the children that are being taught make the decision for themself. I would rather have two ideas to choose from instead of one that really streches the truth.

To say this is a sad day for Kansas. That thought is to say we can not rise above the pressure and excel to new heights. What narrow way of thinking. And you call the BOE narrow. It just happened and you are saying the sky is falling, the sky is falling. Get a grip! The standards are just guide lines anyway.

fossilhunter 12 years, 7 months ago

Artist - As I slog through the misspellings.....

The problem with your arguement is that scientists do not believe in ID. It is not science.

How about we teach in math that 1+1=2 or 1+1=3. You pick which you believe.

feeble 12 years, 7 months ago


What can I say, Google is a powerful tool. Perhaps the BOE should take on Google as well.

Steve Mechels 12 years, 7 months ago

Nice work feeble; you saved me the time of doing the same.

As for Gould, he did not question evolution, only the mechanism (punctuated equilibrium). A very good example of how the science of evolution can be SCIENTIFICALLY questioned when there is evidence.

BunE 12 years, 7 months ago

I still am struggling with the dinosaur thing. If god loved all he created but he killed off the dinos, god then become of questionable morality.

I hope that the dinos had some sort of jesus to redeem their souls.

Anyway, Goodluck. I am starting an underground madrass to teach science. I am recruiting teachers as we speak.

dream 12 years, 7 months ago

Looks like the city of Dover spoke... and LOUDLY!

DOVER, Pennsylvania (AP) -- Voters came down hard Tuesday on school board members who backed a statement on intelligent design being read in biology class, ousting eight Republicans and replacing them with Democrats who want the concept stripped from the science curriculum.

I predict the same for Kansas

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 7 months ago

An example of "logical" explanation for a natural phenomenon:

Humans and dinosaurs must have coexisted because: 1) Dinosaur fossils show evidence of bone disease and cancer. 2) There was no disease before the Fall. 3) Ergo, dinosaurs must have existed after Eve ate the apple.

badger 12 years, 7 months ago

SO bankboy said (and you all seem to have missed it for yelling at him):

"Okay and now to the amusement of wendt and badger I want to say that I'm going to back track and say that ID should not be taught in schools. I still say that evolution is not accurate in that it is the beginning of life, but ID should not be in schools. After reading some posts by enochville I have to agree that God can fight His own fights. He uses men, but by reading the Bible you do find out that when He does use men they come right out with the ultimate truth and do not beat around the bush; which is what ID is doing. God should not be dressed up as "some intelligent being," but should be exalted for who He really is. Again, I don't believe evolution caused the beginning of all life and that when the exterminator comes I should be sad that I'm disposing of long lost relatives, but ID should not be taught in schools."

I'm not amused at all, actually. I'm glad.

You see, I don't care if people like bankboy want to challenge evolution using their faith in places like this. I welcome it. If the debate has people reading Darwin and biology texts and talking and THINKING about what it means, even if I don't agree, then that's all to the good because they're thinking, at least.

I just object to challenging evolution using faith if one is developing public school curricula and spending tax dollars to do it. I object to it when it ends up hurting a state's ability to attract businesses and qualified technical employees.

By the way, for those of you looking for subject matter for digestion, I'll recommend Allcock's book on Animal Behaviour (I believe it's just called 'Animal Behavior'). It's a good reference, simple enough for the layman but complex enough to cover the theories surrounding evolutionary and behavioural biology well. It actually does address, in early chapters, the idea of how complex systems could have evolved, but from the standpoint of how natural selection might affect their gradual development.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 7 months ago

Excerpt from a recent Scientific American article:

"Well, it is a shame, but really, no great harm done. Really. Science and technology will continue to advance anyway, no matter how low the standards in Kansas sink. Students from Kansas will still manage to get into colleges, at least if the colleges aren't too picky about preparation in science, and at least some of those students will come to realize how backward their public educations were, and they'll scramble to compensate. The students who don't will surely find work in fields other than science. If Kansas becomes scientifically irrelevant for a while, I'm sure that plenty of other places, inside the U.S. and out, can pick up the slack.

The state motto of Kansas is Ad astra per aspera: "To the stars through difficulties." But it doesn't sound like Kansas will be going to the stars any time soon, and in this case, the difficulties are of its own making."

muffaletta 12 years, 7 months ago

Well, this has been highly entertaining -- thanks to all participants. Special thanks to worstnightmare -- "spankboy" is priceless.

I am not a scientist or a clergyperson, nor am I a devout believer or scholar. As such, I won't make any statements about the origins of Earth.

What I do know and will make a statement on is thus: Science class is for teaching Science. There are lots of appropriate venues for discussions of the supernatural and ethereal "what ifs" and possible answers to the obtuse "what does it all mean" questions. Science classrooms are not one of those venues.

anonym2 12 years, 7 months ago

yeah, that's what happens when you criticize "others", you have to make sure YOU don't make any mistakes, even spelling errors.

bankboy119 12 years, 7 months ago

Okay I'll go back and reread everything I've missed...but presently nightmare look at the content of SA and who publishes it. All the liberals clamor that the content isn't "peer edited" when, if you look at the articles and magazines that are provided, are obiviously very liberal in their content as well. You don't have a creationist critiquing content for National Geographic or SA because they do not allow it. Have you ever seen an article in there that is not pro-evolution? And when you look at what is presented in the media, also pro-liberal, what conservative edits the content before it is presented? Now, the same holds true for the conservative side of things as well, don't think I'm saying that it doesn't.

christie 12 years, 7 months ago

Try this on for size:

Microevolution involves small-scale genetic changes in a species over time. The classic example is a color change undergone by British pepper moths in response to changing levels of air pollution. The acquisition of antibiotic resistance by bacteria and the trend towards tusk-less elephants in Africa are also examples of microevolution at work.

Because it is so well documented, even people who don't believe that evolution can lead to the creation of new species accept that microevolution occurs.

Most microevolution studies involve change over very short time periods, on the order of decades or a few hundred years. The detection of microevolutionary changes over longer time periods has been difficult because it requires that ancient DNA deposits be found together with samples from modern populations of the same species.

Kodiac 12 years, 7 months ago


"obiviously very liberal in their content as well"

Bankboy science is not about being liberal or conservative. You might think that about scientific literature since it does not conform to your worldview. And you can stop with the "pro" in front of evolution because it incorrectly conveys the idea that there is another viable scientific alternative. There isn't bankboy, it is either evolution or something else we haven't thought of.

Jamesaust 12 years, 7 months ago

Goodness, I wonder how Mr. Abrams would react if local school boards mandated direct (and frank) discussion of religion in, say, history class instead of hiding it in biology?

Lesson Plan: Day #1 - Religion: good for us or cause of all our problems? Day #2 - Atheists - unprincipled, immoral dangers? Day #3 - Lutherns vs. Baptists vs. Congregationalists - who's best? Day #4 - Mormons - Movie presentation: South Park episode #108 [Dumb,Dumb,Dumb,Dumb,Dumb] Day #5 - Holy Rollers, Snake Handlers - socioeconomic aspects. Day #6 - Buddha - insightful thinker or tub o' lard? Day #7 - Mohammad - Man of peace or progenitor of murderous hatred? Day #8 - Catholicism - the one, true Cult? Day #9 - Hindus - more than worshipping cows? Day #10-Flying Spaghetti Monster - true God or carb-laden overload? Day #11-Presbyterians - too dull for even God? Day #12-Shintoism - "Even You!" (can become a god). Day #13-Zorastrianism - Feed the Fire! Day #14-Native American religion - worshipping whales & mountains while high on pot or spiritual pow-wow ecstasy? Day #15-Agnosticism - Skeptics or people who can't freakin make up their minds? Day #16-Special musical guests: St. Michael and All Angels tamborine band. [best behavior!]

How can you introduce religion as free speech without allowing a reply from dissenters? Why would anyone want to introduce religion voluntarily into an environment where every bizarre quirk, blind faith dogma, or embarassing historical fact gets pointed out and is open to discussion by GOVERNMENT to our CHILDREN? Please let me know the day ID is discussed so I can pull my children from this state-sponsored intrusion into our religious beliefs.

badger 12 years, 7 months ago

I think that when people dismiss the importance of peer review, they think there's some group out there asking themselves if it conforms to the Super Secret Liberal Agenda. When you move to the left of center, I regret to say, you are not issued a secret decoder ring and invited to all the parties where they make up the news and decide who will win the Oscars and how far we can push the concept of 'art' for NEA grants this year. At least, I wasn't. If one of you guys got my ring and didn't give it to me, I'm going to be very put out.

Peer review focuses on the science you used to reach your conclusion. Are your initial sources valid? Was your hypothesis correctly formulated based on available information? Was your data collection accurate, do you demonstrate calibration standards for your equipment, do your formulae make mathematical sense? Do your conclusions include or account for all the data available? If any of your data contradict your conclusion, have you demonstrated reasonable explanations for that contradiction?

Peer review prior to publication isn't about the political viability or acceptability of your theories. A so-called 'pro-evolution' paper that used the shoddy science you see in the ID work I've encountered wouldn't be published, either, even though it conforms to the alleged party line.

fossilhunter 12 years, 7 months ago

From a blog in St. Louis. Very well stated.

This morning when I heard the news about Kansas I realized just how complacent many of us have become. A theory which has withstood more than a century of doubts, questions, and tests by an army of skeptical men and women could now possibly be dismissed by a few citizens because they don't believe it. Shouldn't the ease with which this can happen scare everyone, even those who want to believe in an intelligent designer?

If you are truly interested in the idea of ID, then do the hard work. Set up testable hypotheses. Then test them, and publish to the world why only ID can explain the results. Then allow a thousand skeptics to repeat your tests and try to refute them. Pass these hurdles first, then talk about bringing your theory into the classroom.

Frankly, my feeling is that forcing unsubstantiated theories (beliefs) into school curriculums can only backfire. In church believers are surrounded by other believers who don't question fundamentals. The general public, however, is full of skeptics, and questions will get raised that cast doubts. Why does the world need a designer, but God, who is far more complex does not? What evidence do we have that our vision of God (or anybody's vision) is correct? I personally think that learning about the world we can see and touch is complicated enough for kids. We are free to indoctrinate our children in our choice of belief systems whenever school is out of session. And if we do it in private we don't even have to prove a thing.

BunE 12 years, 7 months ago

I just got my monthly set of super secret science reports to review. I need to make sure they deny god and are critical of oil companies.

I may not be able to post for a while.

donsalsbury 12 years, 7 months ago

Ah, I knew this article would burn up the comments thread. Please view my comments (after a brief summary of the article) at:


DonnieDarko 12 years, 7 months ago

Dear Steve Abrams:

Congratulations! You have been PRE-APPROVED to take place in a very special EARLY RAPTURE, reserved for only the most blindly-accepting "Christians". You've worked hard to make sure the "word of God" permeates every possible facet of our education system--don't you think you deserve a reward? One that only EARLY RAPTURE can provide?

To claim your special EARLY RAPTURE, please report (along with Connie Francis and the rest of the conservative majority of the BOE) to the highest hill you can find in Kansas--preferably during a major lightning storm. Please be sure to bring the special commemorative edition of the TEN COMMANDMENTS (etched in highly-conductive metal) that was mailed to each of you earlier!

Congratulations again, and see you on the other side!



braden_quinn 12 years, 7 months ago

Great.. Did you know they were talking about dissolving the school board in KS about a year ago cause they can't get their sh*t together on anything.

They were going to change it from an elected position to one appointed by the gov. of the state. I'm sure we would have all been better of if they had.. not sure why that didn't change.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 7 months ago

There once was a school child from Kansas who was taught that dinosaurs coexisted with man-ses when he finally left the state and sane people learned of this trait he ended up on the street with begging hand-ses

fossilhunter 12 years, 7 months ago

A biotech firm was expanding New hires, expertise they were demanding. At Kansas they looked Saw the science they took And now in Missouri they're standing.

BunE 12 years, 7 months ago

If you must ask about ice cream, than you know I can't answer.

fossilhunter 12 years, 7 months ago

There's supposed to be a discussion on the radio here in STL from a big ID/Creationist supporter from Washington University at 4:30 this afternoon. I've heard him speak and he is well spoken. I disagree, but he is very articulate and passionate. They have online access.

hobb2264 12 years, 7 months ago

Don't you think that the impact of the BOE decision is slightly overblown by the media. Since when do corporations care about the education of the state they are centered in? What they care about is the bottom line ($$$) only. If it is cheaper for them to function in Kansas than in Missouri, then they will set up shop in Kansas...regardless of what our state science standards are.

I also don't see how it will impact what our children are learning in their biology classes. The standards do not mandate the teaching of intelligent fact they don't mandate the teachers to teach anything different than what they are teaching now. The teacher is still responsible for the material that is being taught, and from my experience there will be very few biology teachers who will change their courses b/c of this.

In case anyone cares...I am a Christian and I do not support what the BOE has done. I do believe in Creationism, but I don't think it is a topic to be taught in the science classroom. All the BOE has done is made wider the rift between Christians and non-Christians in this state.

I will also add that all of this talk about scientific research being unbiased is bogus. While the data may be objective, the humans that analyze (interpolate and gasp...extrapolate) are not. I am tired of hearing people make scientists sound like robots who have no emotional ties to the research they are performing.

fossilhunter 12 years, 7 months ago

Well said, Wendt! Hobb, the big deal is the vocal minority that knows nothing about what they are talking about (listen to them!) have imposed their will. It is not for the good of the kids, it is not for the good of the state, it is simply to impose their beliefs (in this case Christianity) on the state. That is exactly what Thomas Jefferson and the framers of the Constitution tried to avoid. No state religion. I happen to be a Christian, but I don't want my faith forced on people of another faith. This is the point of the Creationist "Wedge" Plan.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 7 months ago


Your quote: "Personally, I am tired of people who know absolutely nothing of science make erroneous declarations with absolute confidence."

Bingo. That's what this blog is all about. Some newbie Kansas Taliban member logs on and spouts off about evolution without knowing the first thing about it, only what their mullahs have told them. Then, you, fossil, et al., slam dunk the fools until they quit posting and instead sit with their fingers up their noses in dizzy disequilibrium.

That's what makes it so gal dern fun.

pz5g1 12 years, 7 months ago

The framers wanted to avoid the domination of a particular Christian group, not the domination of the Christian faith. That this was a Christian country was a given and did not need to be articulated specifically. Unfortunately, we've lost sight of that. Perhaps it's time to update the Constitution to reflect what the founders intended (pehaps Jefferson excepted) since the liberal courts have decided to ignore this.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 7 months ago

Oy, here we go again with the "founding fathers were christians" fallacy.

pz5g1 (I think you used your password for your username), clicking your heels together and wishing something is true does not make it so.

ksmattfish 12 years, 7 months ago

Quick, tie all your stuff down! They will be going after the theory of gravity next!

fossilhunter 12 years, 7 months ago

Matt - It's just a theory. Can you prove, without a doubt, that just because you drop a ball 3 times and it falls, that it will fall the 4th? Nope. You can believe it will, but you can't prove it will. Yup, it's suspect at best. ;-)

hobb2264 12 years, 7 months ago


Of course it is on the front page of the major media's just another sexy topic that the media can overblow (see also avian flu). When all the dust settles, this won't even get a sidebar in any of those outlets (except of course in the LJW). Most Americans aren't really interested in fixing problems, they just want to hear about them so they can complain about the injustices...but I digress.

I will agree with you that this is a potential constitutional issue. Unfortunately, that isn't what the talking heads are complaining about. They are discussing the loss of revenue to the state and how Kansas children are going to fall behind the rest of the nation...right?

If you reread my earlier comment, I never implied that the data (chemical in a flask, electromagnetic wave, temperature reading) is biased, just the people that must analyze the data they have in front of them. It is the assumptions that they must make (linear, quadratic, or some higher order regressions for example) that bring in the bias. The good thing about the scientifice method is that bad assumptions can usually be rooted out...but sometimes it takes many generations.

ksmattfish 12 years, 7 months ago

It's a shame we have to keep wasting tax payer money going back and forth over this again.

Oh well, evolution will be back again next year.

fossilhunter 12 years, 7 months ago

Hobb -

"Don't you think that the impact of the BOE decision is slightly overblown by the media. Since when do corporations care about the education of the state they are centered in? What they care about is the bottom line ($$$) only. If it is cheaper for them to function in Kansas than in Missouri, then they will set up shop in Kansas...regardless of what our state science standards are"

Not true. Here in St. Louis there is a tremendous biotech industry blossoming. Buildings going up everywhere. You know where they are? Right next to Washington University, a hotbed of bio research. You are darn sure that business cares about the state they are in. If it comes down to $$$, would you rather go where the talent is, or have to import it all?

hobb2264 12 years, 7 months ago

fossil -

What do they care if they have to import "talent". It doesn't cost them any more money. The only talent that they are interested in is the telecom infrastructure around WashU and the tax incentives they are getting from Missouri. I don't think it is strange at all that major biotech corporations are started in large metro areas and around college campuses. The problem with Kansas is that there is only one university around a major metro area. The BOE's decision has not changed that as far as I can see.

BOE 12 years, 7 months ago

hobb2264 " All the BOE has done is made wider the rift between Christians and non-Christians in this state. "

They've done much more than that.

For one thing, you could have shortened it to:

" All the BOE has done is made wider the rift between Christians

DonnieDarko 12 years, 7 months ago

I'm looking at the picture of Steve Abrams again--doesn't he look a lot like Ned Flanders? :-)

dream 12 years, 7 months ago

Ahhhh Yes!! It finally looks like the ultra right wing conservatives are losing power. From the recent elections that went to the democrats to Dover ousting it's right wing BOE members and el-presidente Bush and the Bushniks losing popularity poll after poll, it's clear the writing is on the walls. People in the U.S. are sick and tired of the ultra-right and their agendas which do not represent the majority thinking. Not to mention all the republican shinanigans over the course of the last few years.

Stay tuned...

Curious 12 years, 7 months ago

CURIOUS. Heard a report about oil discovered in Russia and another report from northeast Kansas. Turns out evolution has led us astray.

Dictionary -- Fossil fuel: A hydrocarbon deposit, such as petroleum, coal, or natural gas, derived from living matter of a previous geologic time and used for fuel.

The age of the earth as predicted by scientists leads them to conclude that "fossil fuel", as described above, exists. Because of this scientific bias, the U.S. has limited its search for "fossil fuel" to depths which could have sustained life at some time.

Russia didn't teach its scientists the "truth" it seems because they went way below that depth - 5 miles down in some cases - and have found oil. Deep test wells are now being dug in northeast Kansas at a depth where no "fossil fuel" can possibly be found if the scientists are accurate.

Is evolution so precious (kind of like a flat earth or the earth being the center of the universe) it is not questionable?

HOW CAN KIDS LEARN IF THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO AND TAUGHT TO QUESTION? And that should include the religion of the left as well as the religion of the right. Whoever questioned "fossil fuel" should be written up in the so called "peer reviewed" journals. Peer review - maybe it should be called peer censored. But that is another topic.

Kodiac 12 years, 7 months ago

Uh I'm sorry but this commentary by Curious has me completely baffled. Someone help me out here. Is he making a point here? How does evolution lead the search for fossil fuel astray? I am pretty sure that the people that look for oil are mainly engineers and people who specialize in geology. I imagine you will not find too many evolutionists out there looking for oil? So Russia found oil 5 miles down in the earth. I though there were competing theories on the formation of fossil fuels which have biotic or abiotic sources. I didn't think that this debate has been settled since hydrocarbons can be found in meteors and other planets. Ah well I am sure there is a point in there somewhere.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 7 months ago

Intelligent Design doesn't deserve to be mentioned alongside the Theory of Evolution because it's not even a theory. It's a weak hypothesis cooked up by no one in the bible.

nkatzman 12 years, 7 months ago

Interesting blog, lovely limericks!

  1. OF COURSE dinosaurs and humans coexisted - the Flintstones showed that, right?

  2. I hope you Kansas folks don't forget to alter your Science standards a bit more; you may have forgotten to include the Native American belief that the Earth is carried around in space on the back of a turtle. It may even be an Intelligently Designed turtle.

  3. Yes, Kansas, the rest of the country IS laughing at you. I'm in Kentucky, and even WE are laughing at you. Our standards may be low, but at least they're not as low as yours are now!

MyName 12 years, 7 months ago

I really don't think there is a point to Curious's curious statements, but if there is, than he/she has managed to achieve the opposite of what I believe he or she set out to do.

Has my history completely escaped me, because if I remember correctly, Russia (formerly known as the USSR) spent most of the past century or so as a state whose official religion was atheism and who embraced evolution with far more fervor than we in the US ever have. So if anything, it shows that if we in the US want to find oil, we obviously need to stop praying, and start digging like those Russian scientists.

Actually, I think it just shows how cracked Curious's ideas about evolution are.

limbodog 12 years, 7 months ago

Thank you Kansas! I now feel SOOOO much better about my state of Massachusetts. I was getting kinda bummber with Mitt Romney and Ted Kennedy. Thinking we sure had it bad up here. But then I see what you've got going on down there and I can't help but feel good about my state!

Good luck with that. Hope you can follow PA soon.

zbarf 12 years, 7 months ago

NOTE to all Atheist posting/reading here.

You may sound Strong and Bold in a liberal college town, but you are a small minority in an 80% Christian nation that believes we were created by God.

You should be happy with ID. ID supports evolution at God's hand. Better than Raw Creationism!

Kansas will get more silent majority support on this than anyone (especially the liberal media) can fathom.

One more note:read the PDF guidelines and make up your own mind instead of listening to people screaming that the sky is falling.

DaREEKKU 12 years, 7 months ago

Oh zbarf, it's people like you that turn me off from Christians. I respect the fact that you have beliefs, and I respect the fact that you voice them....HOWEVER....I do not respect those beliefs being shoved down my throat alongside some Christmas Holly. Intelligent Design has no place in government, and no place in my wonderful secular public schools. If Christians were secure in their faith, they wouldn't have to pervert our government. Religion needs to stay in church/temple. Not everybody is Christian, not everybody follows the Bible, and not everybody believes in God. This does NOT mean they are wrong. Think about it.. according to you, they are wrong..according to them, YOU are wrong. See a pattern? The wall between church and state must be kept impregnable.

geneven 12 years, 7 months ago

Good job on evolution!

Now it's time to take on gravitation!

The explanations for gravitation have never made much sense to me -- curved space, are you kidding!!

Seems more likely that God is exerting his infinite Will to cause things to attract each other. Try to prove he isn't!!

No theories of gravitation should be taught without acknowleging that they are not perfect, and therefore that their imperfections could be bridged by an infinite God! Let that be included in all science classes.

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