Archive for Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Evolution can’t be ignored in board of ed race

Carolyn Campbell and Robert Meissner give their opening statements.

October 21, 2008


Election 2008

In-depth coverage of the candidates and the issues, all leading up to the Aug. 5 primary and the Nov. 4 general election.

The race for the District 4 seat on the State Board of Education heated up Monday over the issue of teaching evolution during a debate.

Democrat Carolyn Campbell said she supports the current science standards that teach evolution and would not change them. The 10-member State Board of Education has been embroiled in battles over evolution and intelligent design for years.

Republican Robert Meissner also said he supports the current science standards. He said he would consider allowing other theories of origin to be taught only if the scientific community came to a consensus.

"The litmus test for me is scientific credibility," Meissner said.

Later in the forum at Free State High School, Campbell implied Meissner was open to the idea of putting intelligent design in the science curriculum.

"With Carolyn Campbell you never get a hidden agenda. It is always what is best for the children," she said. After the debate, she noted Meissner received a contribution from the Free Academic Integrity and Research Committee, which has supported critics of evolution in past education board contests.

But Meissner denied having a hidden agenda. "My only agenda is serving kids," he said.

He said he has had no contact with the group or filled out a questionnaire for it. He said he concludes it contributed to his campaign because it determined he was the best-qualified candidate.

Both candidates have served on area school boards for 12 years - Campbell on the Topeka school board and Meissner on the Shawnee Heights school board.

The contest is for the position that includes most of Lawrence.

Meissner ran for the same position in 2004 and lost in a close vote to Democrat Bill Wagnon, who is not seeking re-election.

Both candidates said providing adequate funding for education and retaining and recruiting teachers would be their top priorities.

Asked whether they would support taxpayer-funded vouchers for students to attend private schools, Meissner said he would consider the proposal only if the private school provided the same level of services to all students as the public schools. Campbell said she opposed the idea.


bondmen 9 years, 4 months ago

From just reading this account Robert Meissner sounds more open minded and willing to consider change in education policy. He is The One to support in this race!

sci4all 9 years, 4 months ago

"I believe in an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out." --Arthur Hays Sulzberger

Paul Decelles 9 years, 4 months ago

Invictus has fallen prey to the common misconception that evolution is all about survival of the fittest in the sense of strongest. In point of fact modern evolutionary theory also concerns itself with how cooperation among individuals of the same species or even individuals of different species can arise.We ARE animals and the products of the evolutionary process, Invictus, but that doesn't mean that we are chained to some sort of amoral evolutionary past.

gr 9 years, 4 months ago

"she supports the current science standards that teach evolution and would not change them.""He said he would consider allowing other theories of origin to be taught only if"What is evolution? Some say it is not about origins. Some say it is only about what is observed and repeatable. What do THEY mean and want to teach? What IS being taught? Is it science?

webmocker 9 years, 4 months ago

I give evolution two opposable thumbs up!

pusscanthropus 9 years, 4 months ago

Watson isn't only a racist, he is a sexist who stole important work from an accomplished woman scientist and did not give her any credit in his discovery of the structure of DNA. But...what the *$&# does Watson have to do with creationism? I don't see the connection, ese.

gccs14r 9 years, 4 months ago

The Republicans have spent the last 40 years trying to take us back to the 19th century. Enough already. It is long past time to resume moving forward.

Moderateguy 9 years, 4 months ago

Dr. Meissner is being stealthy about the "intelligent design" issue. Make no mistake, if he is given a chance to vote to change the standards, he will. We absolutely must keep the majority on the board of education this election. Creationism has no place in the science classroom. Please vote for Carolyn Campbell.

sci4all 9 years, 4 months ago

Meissner knows darned good and well what the scientific consensus is. He's trying to persuade folks that he's a moderate. Campbell pointed out that the groups that have endorsed him - F.A.I.R., the Kansas Republican Assembly - only endorse anti-evolution candidates. Thanks to F.A.I.R. and the KRA, we've had Kathy Martin, Connie Morris, Steve Abrams, John Bacon, Ken Willard, and Iris Van Meter trying to drag us back to the 18th century. Meissner certainly hasn't repudiated those endorsements.

Bob_Keeshan 9 years, 4 months ago

Meissner was much more open about his views on "intelligent design" when he ran 4 years ago.Just because he sings a different tune this time doesn't mean he has changed his views. He obviously thinks his radical views on science education cost him the election in 2004 and is masking them in an attempt to win in 2008.

Jennifer Forth 9 years, 4 months ago

If you are serious in your belief that kids from Lawrence, from this country, are not already ahead in the "survival of the fittest race" you have in your head, you really should travel more.

pusscanthropus 9 years, 4 months ago

Vote School Board Race:Yes--CampbellNo--MeissnerThis is an important issue for all Kansans whether or not you have kids in school.

pusscanthropus 9 years, 4 months ago

No wonder the U.S. is ranked so low in science education. Let's keep these fundamentalists off the state school board. It also makes economic sense if KS wants to be a bio-science state. How many good scientists will move their families here if they have to worry about creationism being taught to their kids?

pusscanthropus 9 years, 4 months ago

You go bobxxxx! I couldn't agree more. Our country is a laughing stock and Kansans are the funniest! It's horribly embarrassing.

storm 9 years, 4 months ago

Note - theories of origin. Good luck with the litmus test.People of Faith, be careful what you wish for:. imagine your creation story reduced to only a theory not observable according to scientific methodology. People of Faith, do not let your religion be reduced to only theory in a science class-room. It is best to consider evolution is/was the mechanism may have been used for your particular creation story. Campbell appears to be the logical choice to satisfy both sides of the debate.

jonas_opines 9 years, 4 months ago

Sorry, Cliff, but much as it pains me to admit it, Invictus is a little closer to accurate perception than you are. Not to urge a defeatist attitude, but you should strongly consider the truth of a few of his claims, in order to understand effectively how to counter them to the greatest extent possible. Anyway, thinking you can craft a world with no war, total equality, and egalitarianism is a fool's errand.

Chris Golledge 9 years, 4 months ago

So, if your potential job is to decide what or how our kids are taught, shouldn't you already have a pretty good understanding of what the general scientific view is?The scientific consensus is already in; there is no need to waffle unless you simply don't want to alienate a segment of the voting public. When in doubt, I'll go with the candidate who will at least be open about where they stand.

geniusmannumber1 9 years, 4 months ago

Ese--Come up with something intelligent that adds to the discussion or don't. But don't be a troll.

Chris Golledge 9 years, 4 months ago

ese,Well, yes, there are rude and/or arrogant people to be found spread throughout all of society, but that doesn't change what is science and what is not. Taken to extremes, people like the Nazis abuse science and people like the 9/11 terrorists abuse religion.Science is not just a loon tool; else we'd have to have this conversation face to face. At very basic levels of chemistry and physics, the same science supplies the foundation for fossil dating and DNA, and makes it possible to build the computers we are using. So, would we be better off without that science?

dweezil222 9 years, 4 months ago

I can't believe this issue is still being hotly debated. I was a freshman in high school when this crap hit the first time and had the distinct pleasure of watching my biology teacher verbally whip Jerry Falwell's ass on live TV. Before you religious zealots start lashing out at me, I am a Christian, albeit not always strong in my faith. I just believe that there is room for interpretation of Biblical language that permits the Christian creation view and evolution to peacefully coexist. Furthermore, what right is it of any christian to force beliefs on others? If your doctrine won't allow for any mention of evolution, great. But convince others of your viewpoint, don't force it on them. A belief not genuinely held is not faith, it's coercion. And in a country where religion is supposed to be a choice, not an imposition by the government, the proper venue for your conversion attempts is not the schools. Again, voluntary belief rather than coercion should be considered.For me, the finality of the need to teach evolution is very simple. At least a basic working knowledge of the theory is necessary for academic success at any institution of higher learning in America. It's often included in college entrance exams or regents admission standards. If you want to hinder your children's ability to get a college education, by all means strike evolution from school curricula. Personally, I'd prefer not to spend my life standing over a fryer at Burger King.

Paul Decelles 9 years, 4 months ago

Redwood,Honestly, do I ever get tired of explaining evolution or at least attempting to: not really. Would a physicist tire of explaining the central ideas in physics? What is tiring that people keep on spouting the same misconceptions about evolution without even bothering to think if these misconceptions make any sense.Lots of these people are still fighting about 19th century concepts of evolution while the scientists have moved on. Darwin had some of the story right but as you correctly pointed out it is only when we began to tie evolution and genetics together that we really began to make progress in understanding how evolution actually operates.

pusscanthropus 9 years, 4 months ago

Hey Buffy--could you reword your post. I don't understand what you mean. Are you trying to make a logical argument? Where have you travelled that has convinced you that Lawrence and/or American kids are "ahead" in the "survival of the fittest race" in somebody's head(wtf)? Based on your inane ramblings above, I bet you're voting for Meissner, aren't you BG?

jonas_opines 9 years, 4 months ago

I would imagine that Jesus would disagree with me. Now, why should I care what Jesus would say? I have no wish to die violently at the hands of those that I'm trying to save.

texburgh 9 years, 4 months ago

Science should be science. Religion - including creation stories - belongs in religious studies. Campbell supports that. Campbell is the best candidate if we want to protect the integrity of science education. Meissner is open to putting religious beliefs into science classrooms.As Kansas seeks to encourage high tech and bio science industries to locate in this state, we cannot afford to put ourselves once again into late night television monologues and editorial cartoons. Keep the State Board focused on education. That is why I will support Carolyn Campbell.

kmat 9 years, 4 months ago

Invictus - war isn't inevitable. See, if intelligent people actually discuss issues, sometimes you can solve issues without getting violent. You appear to be living in the stone ages.If war was inevitable, then we would have all died back in the early 60's when we almost went to war with the USSR. Maybe you need to study your history and see that Kennedy, using his brains and communicating with Khrushchev, was able to use diplomatic means to end the crisis. If he had only used a show of force, we would have all been blown to bits.

jonas_opines 9 years, 4 months ago

"As long as you agree you are heretics of the religion you claim to follow, I'm happy."Since that becomes a plural statement I must be looped into this, and I assure you that it is only your baseless assumption that I am a member of any religion. Even past invictus, I have posted nothing on this thread, or any other, to make that a legitimate assumption. Perhaps you should be more careful when making things up.

RedwoodCoast 9 years, 4 months ago

Paul: Michael Pollan's 'The Botany of Desire' comes to mind.Invictus sounds rather Malthusian with that last post. Darwin read Malthus.Also, Paul, do you ever tire of trying to explain evolution to people on here? There are so many posters, such as Invictus, who act like they know everything about how evolution works, but it is usually obvious to me that they really don't have any clue--outside of what the Discovery Institute tells them.It has always seemed to me that these people don't really understand that Darwin was merely a contributor to evolutionary thought. Many years after Darwin, people rediscovered Mendelian genetics and began applying that to the growing body of evolutionary theory. This resulted in evolutionary mechanisms like genetic drift, gene flow, the founder effect, etc. And lastly, we did not evolve from chimpanzees or monkeys; there is a distinct difference between apes and monkeys. We share a common ancestor with chimpanzees, but chimpanzees and humans have been evolving on their own trajectories since about 6 million years ago.

ockhamsrazor 9 years, 4 months ago

Interesting turn-a-round... Meissner solidly supported teaching intelligent design when he last ran in 2004. If you buy this transformation would you say his position has "evolved?"I don't buy it and will vote for Carolyn Campbell. Carolyn may help keep Kansas off Leno and Letterman and our kids out of the middle ages.

jonas_opines 9 years, 4 months ago

"Just wondering what you stand for if not anything "invictus" might say."Can I answer with the reality that I perceive to be true? I consider the lessening of conflict to be a good goal. However, the idea that you are ever going to eliminate some of the things that you, by context, are claiming you can eventually eliminate sounds less admirable, and more simply naive. I think that understanding this reality, that these things will continue to exist, in some form or another, will lead to better results in actually lessening the problem, because people will be more practical and less naive in their approaches. "While I apologize for thinking you might be a christian, it is interestoing that you are siding with such a scoundrel as "invictus"."What is interesting is the fact that you apparently (or conveniently) missed the part where I said, and I quote: "Sorry, Cliff, but much as it pains me to admit it, Invictus is a little closer to accurate perception than you are." I think I've told invictus more or less directly what I think of his opinions on a general basis, so I see no need to discuss them with you. What's the adage of the broken clock?

Paul Decelles 9 years, 4 months ago

Tangential,Are you saying you evolved from the primal Precambrian ooze?eg

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 4 months ago

Paul: "Are you saying you evolved from the primal Precambrian ooze?"Perhaps... as it seems I must return, again and again, to that gooey origin, swimming slipstream, as it were.

gr 9 years, 4 months ago

Redwood: "This resulted in evolutionary mechanisms like genetic drift, gene flow, the founder effect, etc."Perhaps "etc" includes the important part you have in mind. Otherwise, could you explain how "genetic drift, gene flow, the founder effect," explains how all life descended from a common ancestor - unless you have a different definition of evolution?"We share a common ancestor with chimpanzees, but chimpanzees and humans have been evolving on their own trajectories since about 6 million years ago."I think you really know what people mean when they say that. So that there is no future misunderstanding, what do you wish us to call that "common ancestor with chimpanzees" so that we can technically meet your specifications?

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 4 months ago

With this post, I find expression at the end of a long evolutionary thread.Could I have evolved from all those simian posts before?( I'd like to think that I had an uncommon ancestor. )Will one of Ronda's BLOGs render me to extinct?

jonas 9 years, 4 months ago

Andrew Stahmer (Andrew Stahmer) says:"Unfortunately I can't personally relate; being 'created' to walk upright on the ground."Are you sure? You spend a whole lot of your time here doing nothing other than throwing excrement at pedestrians, and hooting unintelligibly when they stick. It appears that you've worked out how to use a computer, but I think they taught a Gorilla to do that about a decade or two ago. Her vocabulary (about 3000 symbols/words at the end, if I recall) seems to match yours. (might have only been 300, but doesn't change the point)

AjiDeGallina 9 years, 4 months ago

Teach Creationism:In Mythology class, alongside Greek, Roman, Incan, Native American, and the Bible.

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