Ron Krestan is 46 years old. He has a bachelor's degree in science education from Emporia State University, a master's degree from Kansas State University.
Although he's certified to teach science courses in public schools in Kansas, he doesn't believe in evolution. Not for a minute.
Evolution, he said, doesn't jibe with the Bible so it cannot be true.
"Fundamentally, we believe there is a God and that he has revealed himself in Scripture, both through written word, the Bible, and the living word, Jesus Christ. That is our starting point for everything we believe," said Krestan, a third-year science, math and Bible teacher at Veritas Christian School, 256 N. Mich.
Krestan, who lives in Ozawkie, personifies the state's ongoing debate over the teaching of evolution, which, he said, cannot take precedence over belief in God.
"We believe that when God speaks, he is authoritative," Krestan said. "We also recognize that although we are made in the image of God and we have the ability to know and understand things apart from revelation, all of what we know needs to tie back to what God has revealed."
Evolution is a flawed theory, he said, because it assumes life on Earth is a consequence of random forces. But in the Bible, Krestan said, the universe has purpose and meaning.
"Revelation makes it clear that this universe is not here by random-chance events," he said. "It has an origin by a personal creator that has a purpose and is moving toward a goal."
He added, "That personal creator is God, the God of the Bible."
Other flaws, according to Krestan:
¢ The Bible says death began with Adam and Eve, but evolution contends that life and death were going on long before man's presence on Earth.
Evolution in Kansas
- 6News video: Some question group's move with elections nearing (07-08-06)
- 49abcnews.com video: Discovery Institute starts ad campaign weeks before elections (07-07-06)
- 6News video: Film explores evolution circus (01-03-06)
- 6News video: Group takes shot at Mirecki through postcards (12-15-05)
- 6News video: Mirecki resigns from KU department post (12-07-05)
- Education board to revisit debate over evolution (02-11-07)
- As old board departs, new evolution stance takes shape (12-14-06)
- Biologist speaks for intelligent design (12-08-06)
- Cultures clash in Democratic primary (07-06-06)
- Education department spokesman leaves job (06-15-06)
- Evolution, religion comments put heat on department spokesman (05-26-06)
- KU profs support evolution skepticism (02-21-06)
- Science teachers pan new standards (02-14-06)
- 'Dodos' circling around I.D. (01-04-06)
- Attorneys in I.D. case spread message (01-04-06)
- Professor blasts KU, sheriff's investigation (12-10-05)
- Kansas ranks last in science (12-08-05)
- Discovery Institute
- Evolution timeline: Events related to the Kansas controversy
- U.S. District Court Ruling in Kitzmiller et al v. Dover Area School District (PDF)
- Center for Science and Culture: A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism
- Parody: Intelligent Design Society of Kansas
- Mirecki press release (.pdf)
- More evolution coverage
- LJWorld.com's Evolution in Kansas coverage
¢ Under evolution theory, the Earth has been evolving for millions of years. The Bible says God created the universe in six days.
"It is difficult to reconcile the first three chapters in Genesis with evolution," Krestan said. He called the three chapters "historically accurate accounts."
In the debate over evolution, Krestan and his boss, Veritas administrator Jeff Barclay, said they differed with conservatives on the State Board of Education on the issue of intelligent design.
After consulting with intelligent design proponents, the state education board is poised to approve science standards for public school teaching that are critical of evolution.
Intelligent design, which critics consider thinly disguised creationism, holds that life's complexity is evidence it was the work of a designer and not the result of random circumstances.
"We don't use the term 'intelligent design,'" Barclay said. "We prefer creationism."
According to intelligent design, the universe was created by a higher power that may or not have been God.
At Veritas, this higher power is the God in the Bible. He is not a Martian, a Hindu or Buddha.
"Fundamentally there is only one God," Krestan said. "We have a starting point. We say that 'God is' and that God has revealed himself through the written word of the Bible and the living word, Jesus Christ. In that sense, we are very exclusive."
Other religions, he said, worship false gods.
Though most public schools do not teach intelligent design or creationism, Krestan and Barclay said they've not been reluctant to expose Veritas students to evolution theory.
"We are not here to create cookie-cutter Christians," Barclay said. "We're here to graduate thinking, lifelong learners."
Veritas, Barclay said, has welcomed the evolution debate with open arms.
"We use it as a springboard. It's exciting for us," he said. "We use it as a real teaching tool. It creates emotion in students. We want them to be able to speak rhetorically. We teach them logic here.
"We don't want them pounding their fist on the desk and saying, 'Because God says so!' We want to know why God says so."