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Archive for Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Kansas headed for another debate over evolution

June 6, 2012

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— Kansas is headed toward another debate over how evolution is taught in its public schools.

State Board of Education member Ken Willard, a Hutchinson Republican, said Wednesday that he's troubled by common science standards being drafted by Kansas and other states. Those standards describe evolution as a well-established core scientific concept.

The board is scheduled to receive an update about the work on the science standards at its meeting next week. Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker said the board could see a final draft by the end of the year.

In the past, Willard has supported science standards that have incorporated material questioning evolution. The board's latest, evolution-friendly standards were adopted in 2007 and supplanted the standards Willard supported.

State law requires the science standards to be reviewed by 2014.

Comments

yourworstnightmare 1 year, 10 months ago

This is not a debate about evolution.

The debate is about whether science will be taught when it clashes with religious dogma and ideology. Evolution is just one example of science clashing with religious ideology.

So the real question is: do we teach science when it clashes with religious dogma, or do we restrict the teaching of science (or conflate science with religion, such as intelligent design) when it clashes with religious dogma.

That is is real question here.

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kansanbygrace 1 year, 10 months ago

A scientist friend and mentor...(sometimes called Dr. Meticulous) would point to the laws of physics, particularly the elements of thermodynamics, and the fact of entropy; observing that without question "life" absolutely defied those scientific realities. He denied that "God" had a place the paradigm exclusively confined to that which could be seen, felt, weighed and measured, but acknowledged the absolutely inescapable reality of "neg-entropy", an invisible force that held chaos, dissolution, dissipation and entropic loss not in check but in absolute abeyance--that is, until "death".

That and the evolutionist/Curator of mammals at a northern university who, after spending about 35 years studying how evolution occurs, accepted the impossibility of it without organizing forces that were obviously interacting and still invisible, exactly, as he described it, as with the assumption of gravity. Undeniable, while invisible and indescribable.

He said that ultimately, physical reality is impossible without the inscrutable force some call "God."

They did not presume that the human senses were fully adequate to see, hear, smell all the forces that exist in the Universe. The presumption that there was nothing there if we couldn't put one in a jar was too obviously unsupportable.

That threw both silly sides of the vapid dualistic debate out the window--that the evidence supported neither alone, both in conjunction.

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jayhawklawrence 1 year, 10 months ago

I studied Evolutionary Anthropology at KU and it was one of my favorite classes. The professor was very, very good and inspiring to listen to. I loved it.

He never said that Evolution is proof that we are not created by God. He also said that this is a theory, not a fact.

You cannot discount the science surrounding genetic mutation and natural selection but at the same time, you cannot prove that this is all there is. Our understanding is far from complete.

I think there is nothing to fear from teaching evolution but there is something to fear from religious leaders who are afraid of the science being taught.

In my view, God must be the greatest scientist of all.

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FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 10 months ago

Do 'complex intellectual nuanced Liberal atheists' with minds based in 'scientific course work' give as much money to the hapless 'Takers' as the wacky religious sort do?

I myself use the people in 'government' to give my money to the hapless. It affords 'me' a clear conscience for doing 'something' good.

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Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 10 months ago

Too many people lump all religions together. Some claim that a few religions are not religions at all, only a set of ethics and morals. That is especially true of Reform Judaism. Although, it's really not that simple.

One of the wonderful things about Reform Judaism is that you can go to the Jewish Temple and discuss the Creation Myths, there are two consecutive ones in the book of Genesis, with the rabbi.

That don't fly in most Christian churches.

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Liberty275 1 year, 10 months ago

You know, maybe it's time for some of you to rethink this. If you can get god compared to science in school, you can make a new world of atheists. It would be like putting a fairy tale next to a textbook. Nobody's going to believe Snow White when the big words prove rape doesn't magically wake women from comas. One generation is all it would take to end belief in god if you would just think before going off on some anti-religion rant and instead turn their fervor against them. If you don't use this opportunity to purge mythology from at least this backcountry state, well, I really don't care, do whatever you want. I'm retiring elsewhere anyway.

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MyName 1 year, 10 months ago

Well on the bright side, the last time they managed to actually pass one of these idiotic curricula changes all of the board members who voted for it lost the election. Food for thought...

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blindrabbit 1 year, 10 months ago

Kansas is already reaping the benefit (ridicule) of this most recent evolution flap! Just read an Associated Press national news report by John Hanna discussing the on again off again Board of Ed. issues with evolution and "creative design" curicula in public schools! We a the butt of jokes among the informed populace! As backwards and bigoted as you might expect!

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Crazy_Larry 1 year, 10 months ago

“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'” (a source)

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observant 1 year, 10 months ago

Kansas is determined to live up to it's motto. "Kansas as backward and ignorant as you think." Prime example being, they elected brownie.

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Kirk Larson 1 year, 10 months ago

For those still pushing the Second Law of Thermodynamics argument, consider this: Another way to express the second Law is thus,"In any process entropy will be maximized". Entropy is a measure of disorder, often regarded as waste heat. Now imagine a pinball machine with no bumpers or obstructions of any kind. The ball is shot to the top and falls straight to the bottom. This is like a photon from the sun falling on a lifeless planet's surface. Now imagine a pinball machine with lots of bumpers and spinny thingeys and such. The ball is shot to the top and as it falls it bounces from one thing to the other until it reaches the bottom. This is like a photon falling on a rich biological system. It is absorbed by plants, eaten by herbivores, eaten by predators, again by predators, until it is decomposed by bacteria. Both photons end in the same final state but the one that passes through biological systems creates entropy with each permutation; more entropy than the one that simply fell to earth. Thus the Second Law actually drives life to evolve once it arises by pushing it to create more and more trophic levels, i.e. more complex food webs, until they reach the maximum the resources of the environment can sustain. The Second Law "wants" there to be evolution.

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Kirk Larson 1 year, 10 months ago

I'll bet this debate has Ol' Sam Brownbackside a quakin'. On the one hand he would like to see Kansas backslide into scientific mushy-headedness and bible literalism. On the other hand the fate of the NBAF is already shaky and another evolution kerfluffle could tip the scales for all those sciencey jobs to go somewhere where people have a better grasp of basic science and biology.

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tange 1 year, 10 months ago

Why did God create evolution and then bury it on an island if it wasn't treasure to be found?

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Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 10 months ago

This argument really should be taken to the Middle East, where it is blasphemy punishable by death to teach that the Holy Book, the Koran, is not factually correct in every way.

Many of the posters on this thread consistently post in support of the Islamic Arabic point of view, which is total literalism. And of course the Jews, most of whom believe in evolution and many of them teach it in universities, are the bad guys.

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irishdevil99 1 year, 10 months ago

Okay, so we've all seen this before. While the sane majority isn't giving the issue its full attention, Willard and his buddies sneak enough folks onto the BOE to change the science standards. It explodes in the national media, Kansas becomes a laughingstock, and, at the next opportunity, we vote the creationists off and they return the standards to normal.

What I didn't get from the article was whether step 1 of this process has already happened. Do they have the votes? Is this something we legitimately need to be worried about? Or is this guy just spouting off without the power to change it?

Either way, it's a nice reminder to research the BOE candidates and their stances on science education before the upcoming elections.

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notorious_agenda 1 year, 10 months ago

The fact is that this is a debate about what to teach our children in our state's schools, and not a debate about proving evolution or creation. These kids' schools should not be the battleground for this impossible issue. It makes us all look like fools. They should be priority equipped with the best tools to move into their future educations so that they can effect positive change in their arsenals of knowledge and advance. The majority of our nation, virtually all of it with regards to the public school system, agrees that evolution better suits this need in the curriculum. The supplementation of creation for evolution should be based on personal opinion and explored within the realm of one's own religious endeavors.

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Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Its about time. Good people of faith know the earth is 5,000 years old and that god created our ancestors, Adam and Eve, from dirt.

If you haven't already seen this excellent historical movie, go see Raquel Welch in "2000 Years B.C." that proves that man and dinosaurs existed at the same time.

Anything else is just pure communist propaganda.

And my oh my, Raquel looks good in her skimpy little thing fur loin cloth. .

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SnakeFist 1 year, 10 months ago

LarryNative, the argument that energy always existed or arose from nothing is a one-step naturalistic argument, while the argument that God created energy at some point is a two-step supernaturalistic argument. Generally, we prefer simpler naturalistic explanations to complex or supernaturalistic ones. For example, we could explain thunder as the discharge of static electricity or we could explain it as God "moving his furniture around", but reason favors the former. Its the same with evolution versus creationism.

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a_flock_of_jayhawks 1 year, 10 months ago

This is SOOOO stupid, Kansas! The solution lies in your own hands: If you want your kids to learn creation, then take them to a church that teaches it, maybe Sunday school or VBS.

Stop shoving your religion down everyone's throats!!!

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blindrabbit 1 year, 10 months ago

LarryNative: Please for your own awakening, (1) Take a science course, biology, anthropology, genetics or paleontology, (2) open the mind to rational thought, (3) stop dining on Kool-Aid and "manna from Heaven", (4) understand the difference in proven scientific theory and "faith" a "belief in something which there is no proof", (5) understand that evolution is a long timed event, (6) understand the difference between "common ancestor" and direct lineage between existing species (Man and Ape), (7) understand if all were created by a perfect God, why so many species failures (extinctions), diseases, different sexual orientations, different religions, etc., etc., etc...

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Pastor_Bedtime 1 year, 10 months ago

The folks who doubt evolution around here are for the most part the same ones who admire Phill Kline's professional ethics and legal expertise ~ even without a license. 'nuff said.

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yourworstnightmare 1 year, 10 months ago

Science and the scientific method can lead to some very uncomfortable truths about the universe and our place in it.

Why, Darwin himself, a pastor, was very uncomfortable with the implications of his theory to religious dogma and ideology.

But, he was a remarkable scientist and let science and the scientific method inform him despite the implications for his religion.

This is science and where the scientific method can lead. Evolution is the epitome of science and the scientific method.

The real debate is not over evolution, but over teaching science when it conflicts with religious dogma and ideology. Evolution is just one example.

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Kontum1972 1 year, 10 months ago

cant we evolve into some other..issue with this State......feral hog's , holy-rollers, the anti-christ koch bros. who made these clowns God?

remember we all live in "amercia' according to the Mitt....the guy who dress up like a cop and pulled people over....just for grins....

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John Spencer 1 year, 10 months ago

Why can't we all just, evolve along?

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kansanjayhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

You need to watch Ben Stein's movie "Expelled no intelligence allowed" this will show how political correctness has corrupted this issue.

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yourworstnightmare 1 year, 10 months ago

As an "argument" against evolution, a parochial school science teacher (oy vey!) whose job depends on not teaching evolution, said:

"Call me up when a fruit fly changes into a monarch butterfly. Or a bacteria becomes a proto-flat worm."

And I say: call me when you create a star or galaxy in your lab, based on the theories of gravitation, general relativity, and quantum mechanics (which also happen to be the basis of electricity and magnetism, and your computer).

It is frightening that such a vapid, hollow argument is made by a teacher of science to our children.

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yourworstnightmare 1 year, 10 months ago

Do not think that this is a debate about evolution. It is not.

The theory of evolution is as "science-y" as science gets. It is the epitome of science and the scientific process.

The real debate here is about teaching science and the scientific process when it conflicts with religious dogma and ideology. Evolution is just an example of science conflicting with christian religious dogma and ideology (and Islamic as well).

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verity 1 year, 10 months ago

Once again it comes up that "evolution is just a theory" and once again it is pointed out that the definition of theory being used is not that of scientific theory. Are there really people in the United States who don't by now know this or are these people just being disingenuous?

I don't know which is worse, knowing and pretending not to in order to try to make an argument or being that uneducated.

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blindrabbit 1 year, 10 months ago

How embarrassing; A new focal point to add to my earlier posting , this blog of June 6 at 2;26 P.M. As a longtime Kansas resident who tried to defend our State from the snide comments from residents of the other states in which I've lived: California, Hawaii, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington State, to now have more ammunition for them to fire back! Points out, what a really backward, parochial state Kansas is and is further becoming! What ever populist, progressive history Kansas once had has been supplanted by ignorance!

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Crazy_Larry 1 year, 10 months ago

Of course the republican brings religious debate to the forefront! After all, it is an election year, so they have to rally their base of ignorant sheeple...We'll be debating abortion by the end of July.

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Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 10 months ago

There is no question, the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of everyone with any education in the field of biology.

Toto is a sweet, gentle descendant of very vicious wolves.

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FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 10 months ago

Those bipeds "evolving" will get there 'someday'. They'll hopefully learn 'capital money' systems while "evolving".

The question is, will those bipeds "created" money hold up from all the mandatory 'spreading' while they wait for them to "evolve".

"Evolving" is such a slow, slow, slow process.

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Mike1949 1 year, 10 months ago

Totally agree. How does these people who represents less than 1% of our population get into these positions? I have to assume no one runs against them? Either that or the district that voted them in have the lowest average IQ in the state of Kansas!

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Armored_One 1 year, 10 months ago

If evolution and/or adaptation doesn't exist, then why are there drug resistant pathogens and insects?

Or did God upload disease 2.0 or bugs v3.5?

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SnakeFist 1 year, 10 months ago

One last thing: God is a much clearer violation than evolution of the second law of thermodynamics. Supposedly, nothing exists apart from God, he is the alpha and omega, i.e., he's a closed system, and he has always existed. Even given that entropy only tends to increase over time, it would have reached its maximum at some point during the inifinite amount of time God has existed. And please don't reply that God is immune to entropy, or that the laws of thermodynamics haven't always existed, because I'll just invoke your nonsense exception to explain why evolution doesn't violate thermodynamics either.

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blabber 1 year, 10 months ago

Religion is affordable healthcare for all.

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Beth Bird 1 year, 10 months ago

Are you kidding me? Common Core Standards were created for a reason. Use them.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 10 months ago

Devo believes that the slightest doubts about anything that doesn't support his ideological/religious beliefs are proof that his superstitions are correct.

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SnakeFist 1 year, 10 months ago

There are many arguments for the correctness of evolution, and KU biology offers a semester-long class on them. For example, evolution clearly explains vestigial organs, such as the mole rat's skin-covered eyes, the whale's hind leg bones, and our own appendix.

Creationism cannot explain vestigial organs unless we simply assume that God created animals with unneeded components. If so, the intelligent designer wasn't very intelligent.

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SnakeFist 1 year, 10 months ago

Let me get this straight: Evolution is "just a theory" because, though it has overwhelming support, it can't be proven to be absolutely correct (in fact, nothing can be proven to be absolutely correct - ask any statistician, or, better yet, any epistemologist).

On the other hand, creationism has no support whatsoever except unsupported and conflicting stories by anonymous authors, and yet religious zealots believe it to be fact.

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SnakeFist 1 year, 10 months ago

When Pennsylvania rejected creationism, Pat Robertson said he hoped Pennsylvanians would never need help from the God they had rejected.

If Kansas rejects evolution, I hope Kansans never need modern medicine because it, like all of biology, is built on the foundational belief that evolution is correct.

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Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 10 months ago

What created the existence of energy and please give the science used to back up the theory?

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FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 10 months ago

Falsy's 'Theory'/

Some bipeds "evolved". Some bipeds were "created"

Guess which 'ones' "evolved". hint: They are progressive at attaining what they need to 'survive'.

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JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 10 months ago

I think bridges should be designed by engineers. I think medicine should be prescribed by doctors. I think science standards should be left to professional science educators, not people who only ever read the bible...assuming they can read at all...

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Liberty275 1 year, 10 months ago

I think it's perfectly valid to discuss some possibility of creationism, although not in the way most conservatives would favor. I tend to believe we developed in our own little ooze-pond and evlolutionized from there. However, at the back of my mind are the possibilities that we descended from life that came to earth via a comet or a meteor or are all children of a virus that fell from the boot of an ancient space traveler.

Spelling police: I like "evolutionized" better and I am bigger than you.

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marleys 1 year, 10 months ago

Moderator, pleas note I ignored posts about your favorite Linwood protected nutcase, so please don't delete post for some so-called TOS.

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marleys 1 year, 10 months ago

How many more times is Kansas going to to declare their ignorance to the entire world? Bad enough that we endorse murdering doctors we don't agree with, that we have a total nutcase as SOS and former AG is facing disbarment for ignoring laws and declaring that his personal beliefs trump all laws, then we elect a total religious, Koch owned nutcase as governor. Kansas as ignorant as entire world believes.

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tange 1 year, 10 months ago

Why is it that bridgeless gulfs are fraught with sidedness?

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verity 1 year, 10 months ago

Face/palm.

Palm/face.

Not again.

I would like to see a survey of how many Christians believe in evolution. It's not mutually exclusive you know. I know many Christians who believe in evolution. Actually, I would like to know the percentage of people in Kansas who don't believe in evolution. Is this just a small minority who keep bringing this up? Distraction, anybody?

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Steven Gaudreau 1 year, 10 months ago

Last I heard evolution of man coming from a fish, monkey or bubbling mud was a theory, not a scientific fact. Did they find the missing link and I missed the story? Why do all the non believers think their theory is any better than the theory of God?

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Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 10 months ago

Kansas leads the Ship of Fools.

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funkdog1 1 year, 10 months ago

I will never understand how fundamentalists can reconcile accepting the scientific method in virtually every other facet of life: medicine, technology ... all the stuff that makes our lives more convienent, comfortable and fun, and yet somehow they declare the exact same scientific method as applied to evolution as something that scientists are supposedly just pulling out of their collective @sses. (Yes! We'll take your flat screen TVs and your antibiotics but that evolution crap is just heretic voodoo!)

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Cait McKnelly 1 year, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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yourworstnightmare 1 year, 10 months ago

In science, there is no debate over evolution. Evolution is a theory that is based on observation and experimentation of the natural world (on facts) and has survived 150 years of scientific inquiry and has come away stronger and with more explanatory power despite at least three major revolutions in biology: Mendelian genetics, molecular genetics, and the more recent genomics.

In other words, evolution is at the heart of what science and the scientific process are. There is nothing more "science-y" than evolution.

The real debate here is not over evolution. The real debate is whether or not science should be taught when it conflicts with religious ideology and dogma.

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Amy Heeter 1 year, 10 months ago

Wow, ironic. The son of William Jennings Bryan obit just appeared yesterday.

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Rich_Crank 1 year, 10 months ago

Good Lord, Darwin, here we go again!

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gr 1 year, 10 months ago

"the 2nd law applies only to closed systems. "

If the earth is not a closed system, could it be argued that any system within the earth is not closed?

Is there any closed system where the 2nd law applies?

If there are no systems, what was the intent of the 2nd law?

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Ken Lassman 1 year, 10 months ago

Kansas politicians don't evolve, humans do.

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tange 1 year, 10 months ago

You can't really blame them. An appreciation of evolution presupposes the potential.

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DeckDoctors 1 year, 10 months ago

Evolutionism claims that over billions of years everything is basically developing UPWARD, becoming more orderly and complex. However, this basic law of science (2nd Law of Thermodynamics) says the opposite. The pressure is DOWNWARD, toward simplification and disorder. (Illustration from the ORIGINS series)

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DeckDoctors 1 year, 10 months ago

Scores of distinguished scientists have carefully examined the most basic laws of nature to see if Evolution is physically possible - given enough time and opportunity. The conclusion of many is that Evolution is simply not feasible. One major problem is the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

law of science: basic, unchanging principle of nature; a scientifically observed phenomenon which has been subjected to very extensive measurements and experimentation and has repeatedly proved to be invariable throughout the known universe (e.g., the law of gravity, the laws of motion).

thermodynamics: the study of heat power; a branch of physics which studies the efficiency of energy transfer and exchange.1

SO WHEN YOU GET TIRED OF MONKEYING AROUND AND WANT REAL SCIENCE: http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-thermodynamics.html

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irvan moore 1 year, 10 months ago

he might be right, at least he has proven his brain hasn't evolved

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blindrabbit 1 year, 10 months ago

Seri: To further bolster your concepts, I recommend a trip to the Creation Museum in Olde Kentuckee; there you will be able to see modern Homo sapiens walking with T-Rex and his cousins, and only 6,000 years ago. This experience will send shivers up and down your spine and reinforce the Creation concept. They also sell Holy Water Kool-Aid and "manna from heaven" there as refreshments. Also, soon you will be able to visit the nearby full size re-creation of Noah's Ark! Just think, what a joyfull weekend visit, with the possibility of seeing Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul!

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MarcoPogo 1 year, 10 months ago

While they're at it, they might as well debate whether or not silent = deadly.

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weiser 1 year, 10 months ago

Just take off your cloths, stand in front a mirror, and keep telling yourself that you "evolved" into that..... sure...

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devobrun 1 year, 10 months ago

"In the past, Willard has supported science standards that have incorporated material questioning evolution." Questioning authority has been the standard of science since Bacon's questioning of syllogism in Ovum Organum. No science is settled. Grand narratives are especially prone to teleology. I don't know how all this got here. I can neither conduct a test nor can I use a grand narrative for anything other than argue about other grand narratives.

So the grand narrative of origin of species is not testable. Do it, or put it into the same pile of hubris as religion. So how is it that Steamer ducks are flightless? They evolved that way.......a throw-away line if ever there was one.

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blindrabbit 1 year, 10 months ago

What is it with Hutch, maybe too much salt in the water! Just got rid of O'Neal, now we have to deal with this kook! What is it about that part of the State, like moths to a flame, these right-wing nuts are attracted! You would think that with the Kansas Cosmosphere out there, you might expect some rational thought.

Just add to the Kansas list of honored citizens and characterizations, afterall Mizzou just added Limbaugh to it's capital rotunda; and that is no comment on his rotund stature!

Fred Phelps Mike O'Neal Steve Abrams The kooky former female school board member from St. Frances The immigrant shootin, helicopter flyin Kansas legislator from SE Kansas The gay imprisoning, homosexual executing pastor from Seneca The repressive German trio of Brownback, Klein and Kobach Dorothy, Toto and the Wiz. clan singing "You ain't in Kansas Anymore" No Natural Lakes, only ditches, sloughs and ponds Flat, Featureless Tornados Goat Gland Doctor Why keep the former part of Kansas that was to become Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs Ball of twine, 6-legged calf, largest hand-dug well, Garden of Eden, Mt. Sunflower! Home of the Koch-a-Kolas

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Agnostick 1 year, 10 months ago

Books and texts can only do so much; for in-depth concepts such as this, you really need cutting-edge computer simulations, such as this.

http://www.venganza.org/games/index_large.htm

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jafs 1 year, 10 months ago

Posts like the above point out that people aren't very well educated about science.

Science operates by hypothesis and testing - many scientific theories can't be completely proven as fact, but are nevertheless accepted as the best explanation for existing facts.

Evolution doesn't claim that humanity descended from apes - it claims that we have common ancestors.

The objection raised was to calling it a "well established core scientific concept", not to claiming it as the absolute unvarnished truth.

It is in fact a scientific concept, it's been around for a long time (well established), and it's central to much of biology (core). Sounds like a good description to me.

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BABBOY 1 year, 10 months ago

The religous nuts can call this an an un-tested theory all they want. They can post all their stupid links and make all their silly arguments.

Evoultion is solid.

The people who do not buy it have a strong religious bias and cannot be taken seriously.

600 years ago these same flipping morons would tell you the world is flat and that the earth is the center of the universe......

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Seri 1 year, 10 months ago

A debate on the subject doesn't mean Kansas is backward. Even the most respected authorities on evolution call it a “theory” which cannot be tested. We have “millions” and “billions” of fossils before and after the evolution of man yet we cannot find one fossil of an ape-to-man transitional being anywhere that is not debated as authentic. These same top scientists are quoted as saying, “I’d rather believe the impossible than to believe the unthinkable.” It is an untested, unproven theory and should be taught as such.

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chootspa 1 year, 10 months ago

Really?! Why can't we get BOE people concerned with better educating our students instead of worse educating them?

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autie 1 year, 10 months ago

You have got to be kidding me. When do we get past subsidizing ignorance and electing stupid people to the BOE? There is no boogie man.

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HutchSaltHawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Really???? What a backwards state.

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