Archive for Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kansas prepping for another evolution debate

June 12, 2012


— A State Board of Education member who is troubled by science standards being developed that treat evolution as a core concept said Tuesday he expected a vigorous debate on the issue again.

Just not yet.

Kenneth Willard, a Republican from Hutchinson, earlier this month questioned proposed Next Generation Science standards.

During the board's update Tuesday on those standards, Willard said those comments were blown out of proportion and that he was hammered for being a "crackpot" or "kook."

But, he said, he also heard from many people who also are troubled by teaching evolution.

"It's not a bunch of Kansas crazies that has brought this up," Willard said. "It's broader."

To his critics, Willard said, "Many are worried Kansas will be embarrassed," by another debate over evolution. He said he couldn't imagine why anyone would be embarrassed "by trying to get to the truth."

From 1999 to 2007, evolution was almost a constant focus of contention on the 10-member board until standards were adopted that reflect mainstream scientific views on evolution. During that time, Willard had been a consistent vote with those who questioned evolution.

Other board members on Tuesday downplayed the update on developing science standards.

"Today is no different than any other meeting," said Board Chairman David Dennis, R-Wichita.

Board member Janet Waugh, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kan., said she has not received one phone call or email recently concerning evolution.

Kansas is one of 26 states involved in developing the science standards.

Matt Krehbiel, science education program consultant for the Kansas State Department of Education, said a second public draft of the document probably won't be ready until late this year.

Krehbiel said he thought the board would probably have to consider the standards by spring 2013. By then, it is possible six of the board's 10 members could be new. Five of the board seats are on the November ballot, and Willard, whose position is not on the ballot, is leaving to run for the Kansas House. If he wins, he will have to give up his board seat.


kugrad 6 years ago

Kansas: As scientifically illiterate as you think.

Mike1949 6 years ago

Actually yes, a bunch of crazies did bring this up, AGAIN! If I am liberal because I use common sense, then I guess I am liberal. Evolution for the most part is not theory. The very start might be, but as history has passed, they have pretty well proven that man and animal has evolved by the skeleton evidence. If you don't want to believe that because you choose to be dumber than a sack of rocks, that is find with me. Just don't teach my kids and grandchildren this hokiest pokiest crap.

kuguardgrl13 6 years ago

I will correct you and say that the Bible says nothing about what is at the center of the solar system. There's Earth, the Sun, the Moon, and the stars. Nothing about how they are located compared to each other other than the Sun lights day, and the Moon lights night. And most of us educated Christians know not to take Genesis or the Bible literally word-for-word. It contradicts itself a few times. We can also differentiate between medieval beliefs that lacked science and modern science that can be backed by solid proof. My argument with evolution is that it is still only a theory. The Laws of Motion have been proven over and over again. Evolution is still quite a bit of guess work. Should it be taken out of sciences classes? No, I don't believe that. Should intelligent design be included? No, there is no scientific way to prove it, even I can admit that. The story of creation and other religious stories can be discussed in other disciplines. Noah's flood and the Epic of Gilgamesh can be compared in literature courses. Whether we like it or not, the Catholic Church played a huge role in Europe for centuries. The BOE needs to embrace the many different beliefs. No class in a public school should be "preachy" on anything whether it's religious beliefs or scientific theories. Theories should be presented as just that: theories. Talk about the possibilities and the evidence to support it. Don't blow off a child who brings up another idea. Acknowledge that other belief and explain that people have different beliefs. Diversity is to be embraced, not shut down.

kugrad 6 years ago

The use of the term "theory" in science is not the same as the common use. It is not synonymous with the usage in the sentence "I have a theory about why the Royals aren't doing well this year." Rather, to be a theory in science, a concept must have broad support across disciplines. There is NO debate about the acceptance of evolutionary theory in the scientific community. None. There is no controversy. It is settled science, clearly established. On the other hand, intelligent design, which is in fact a synonym for creationism, has NO scientific credibility at all. None. It is not testable, hence outside the realm of science. It is the other kind of theory.

So the discussion of all theories in a science class would not include creationism (by any name) because it isn't a scientific theory.

There is simply a misunderstanding of the word theory. This makes it appear as though there is no certainty surrounding evolution, which is false. Many of us lived in a time when evolution was, in fact, less developed as a theory as it is today. Those times are gone. Evolution is a clearly documented reality. We don't know all there it to know about it, of course, but we know enough to stop pretending there is an alternative explanation relying on the supernatural.

I agree it is good for children to learn that people have differing beliefs on reality, but not in science class. Save the supernatural explanations for discussions of culture in other settings.

KS 6 years ago

Hummmm! No God? You have only one chance to get that right! Hope you make the right decision.

4getabouit 6 years ago

Kansas rides again!! ....a vigorous effort to once again regain its status as the dumbest state in union.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

No need to bash Brownie, or you, BAA. You're self-bashing.

Cait McKnelly 6 years ago

Once more BAA rides to the rescue of the thread contributing absolutely nothing significant to the discussion. He doesn't even address the topic in question. He could copy and paste this to any Rothschild article and it would be just as generic and just as (non) appropriate.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years ago

Science is based on fact. Religion is based on faith. Evolution must be taught to children in biology class. I will point out that my 12 year old learned about a lot of religions this year in social studies class at Southwest Middle School in Lawrence. That is the appropriate place for religion to be discussed. Religion has no place creeping into science class. Period. I can't believe this is still being discussed. dumb as you think.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years ago

What the heck are you talking about?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

If it mattered, he'd have shut up a long time ago. (I think FHNC enjoys the company of quotation marks much the same way Dennis does his mannequin girlfriend that he pushes around in that baby carriage.)

Cait McKnelly 6 years ago

He's the "special" one on these boards. Just tolerate him and go on about your bidness.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years ago

Doesn't there need to be some comparable factual basis for there to be a debate between two positions? How can there be a true debate between science and fairy tales?

blindrabbit 6 years ago

blindrabbit(anonymous) says…

To clear up this mess once and for all, I suggest we bring back the 6 conservative, bible-thumping Board of Education ostrichs that voted in the Creationist consideration back in 2004/2005. Fortunately, more intelligent heads prevailed in 2007, and tossed out their B.S. agenda. Kansas needs more bad publicity, now with Gov. stumping on the abortion issue in Virginia, Herr Kobach messing with the voters, and the Koch-a-Kolas buying the elections.

Remember them; how could you forget! Dr. Steve Abrams John Bacon Kathy Martin Connie Morris Iris VanMeter Ken Willard

geekin_topekan 6 years ago

According to the Urban Dictionary:

KOLA; A Lakota word in male to male speech. Originally in formal language to acknowledge another man as KOLA is to commit to that individual for life. A man would be lucky to have one kola in his lifetime. Now used much less formally on the rez or at powwows as simply meaning a male friend.

oldexbeat 6 years ago

forgot about good old connie morris -=- google her name and second and third place is a headline about her high school years -- fun stuff

Are we having fun now? asked zippy. in brownbackistan every day offers amusement and fun, normally with court fools performing for our entertainment.

That's why we elected them.

Pastor_Bedtime 6 years ago

Yet another aspect of the radical Christian agenda that is out-of-step with practically everyone outside their circle. And just as Republicans have rejected the radical agendas of Perry and Santorum on the national level, we are about to see on a state and local level in Kansas the pendulum swing back toward the center, away from fundamentalist extremism. These quotes from Barry Goldwater are worth repeating: "Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them." "I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in "A," "B," "C" and "D." Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me?" "I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism." " "I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell right in the ass."

And no, Barry was not a leftie or commie.

Cait McKnelly 6 years ago

I find it ironic that in today's fascist (in the classical sense, i.e. "corporatist") climate of the GOP, Goldwater, along with Reagan, would not be considered far enough to the right.

texburgh 6 years ago

Read "Conservatives without Conscience" by John Dean of Watergate fame. He was collaborating on the book with Barry Goldwater when Goldwater passed away. It is a scathing indictment of today's "conservatives" written by one-time conservatives who, as you rightly point out, would be called RINOs today and targeted by Koch, the Kansas Chamber, and AFP.

Cait McKnelly 6 years ago

I find it further ironic that the current GOP likes to throw around the term "socialism" when referring to the Democratic party. They use it as a trigger word for a scare tactic with no real regard to it's true meaning. On the other hand, using the term "fascist" in reference to the GOP is about as appropriate, philosophically, as it gets. "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini

danmoore 6 years ago

Reagan, the man republicans want to deify could not get elected by his own party today. But that discussion is for another day.

geekin_topekan 6 years ago

I assume we're talking about the Umo N Ho N story of creation.

Jock Navels 6 years ago

the last time the church was running things; we call it the Dark Ages.

Cait McKnelly 6 years ago

It wasn't until the Church abandoned all sense of propriety and Popes had morganatic wives and illegitimate children (Pope Alexander the VI, aka Roderic Borgia, had six children), along with the Reformation, that the Renaissance happened.

JustNoticed 6 years ago

Right, and the Inquisition was just a voter registration drive.

Cait McKnelly 6 years ago

One of my all time favorite movie quotes is from "Elizabeth: The Golden Age". Elizabeth, informed of the Armada, says, "My lords, I can offer you no words of comfort. This Armada that sails against us, carries in its bowels the Inquisition. God forbid it succeeds, for then there will be no more liberty in England, of conscience or of thought. We cannot be defeated."

Why does that give me the shivers and make me think of present day politics?

globehead 6 years ago

Evolution should not be taught in Kansas because it is irrelevant. There has been no evolution in Kansas. It is clear that the only force at work in Kansas is de-evolution. To have stood perfectly still would have shown an improvement but not evolution. For evolution to have happened, things would have had to advance beyond where they started. That is not the case. Not in Kansas. If it gets any worse, we should start to teach anti-creationism. We are not far from the day where even creationism will be seen as too liberal. Hard to believe but if you put this stuff on a graph, it's clear to see where it's heading.

"...To his critics, Willard said, "Many are worried Kansas will be embarrassed," by another debate over evolution. He said he couldn't imagine why anyone would be embarrassed "by trying to get to the truth."..."

When I am finished absorbing everything Mr. Willard says I am actually dumber than when I started, and THAT is the current state of Kansas!

verity 6 years ago

It does hurt one's brain to try to wrap it around some of what's going on, doesn't it? It doesn't even approach the nonsensical, let alone any semblance of coherent thought.

Maybe they think (and that's using the term lightly) that if they spin enough absolute and utter senselessness enough times, people will just give up. Kind of like if you tell a big enough lie enough times, it becomes the truth.

Somebody commented to me once that he was glad he had found fossils in a rock, because that proved creation. I didn't ask---

booyalab 6 years ago

The liberal idea of evolution: Force others to pay for kids, who would otherwise have to get jobs, to be forced to learn about "survival of the fittest" in an archaic educational system. Then lavishly subsidize failure and dependence for the rest of their lives.

Don Whiteley 6 years ago

How completely embarrassing! These people have made us the joke of the entire country. Why in the world would any literate country base its scientific teachings on religious dogma? May as well start teaching them Islam too and forcing the girls wear burkas.

DavidEmerson 6 years ago

How many of you that are so outraged and/or embarrassed about Mr. Willard's comments have attempted to contact him directly and politely and without insult offered your opinion? I did, and have found him to be a reasonable human being who I have a difference of opinion with when it comes to the intersection of religion, science, and public education.

But don't take my word for it. Try it for yourself. His contact information is readily available at

JackMcKee 6 years ago

and they wonder why people are fleeing the state.

curmudgeon 6 years ago

If they want their children learning about creationism they need to take them to church. There is a reason why church and state are separate. Or maybe they can pay for a private/catholic school, where their children will learn what they want them to. Otherwise, I think the public schools need to teach facts and not religion, unless it's in a religion studies class. Kansas has become a huge joke because of this issue and it shouldn't even be an issue. Religion is taught in church and should not be taught in public schools unless it's offered as an elective.

William Weissbeck 6 years ago

It's bad enough that we've turned Kansas education standards over to these clowns, but then they want us to elect the useful idiot, Romney, so that the rest of the country can operate on Koch tax policy, Kobach immigration, and Kansas science. The only explanation for this insanity must be fracking compounds seeping into the ground water.

William Weissbeck 6 years ago

Just a quick aside that you independents need to consider. For all the faults of the Dems, and all the alleged benefits of the fiscal GOP, just keep in mind that if you vote for them, you get their crazy aunts, also. And it is very safe to say, that the Dems' crazy aunts are far less a threat to you than theirs. "Don't let the crazy aunt in!"

beatrice 6 years ago

Kenneth Willard, Arizona thanks you.

oldbaldguy 6 years ago

If you believed in intelligent design, why can't you believe that evolution is part of it? All religions have creation stories, teach them in comparative religion class, not in science class.

Jayhawk1958 6 years ago

I thought Kansas was a midwest state and not a southern one.

blindrabbit 6 years ago

Used to be; was always pretty conservative, but had some populist and progressive thinkers. Things started to change when the social conservatives of the GOP displaced (or at least squelched) the moderate Republicans. Much of this came about because of the upswing in fundamentalist Christians rising to the forefront; many coming in from other parts of the country, especially Oklahoma and Missouri. Of course, the GOP as a whole drifted to "Southern Like" thinking when the parties flip/flopped following the major Civil Rights legislation under LBJ. Now, with the likes of Brownback, Kobach, Klein, the BOE and the Jenkins, Ryun, Tiahrt drift, the old moderate GOP is a thing of the past in Kansas.

Interestingly, many old moderate GOP'ers are more like Progressive Democrats, but because of ridgid long-term habits would rather stick it out than "eat Crow" with a party shift. Not me, I bailed years ago, I had too many memories of travelling through the South in the 1950's-60's.

Kansas, as bigoted as you think!

danmoore 6 years ago

The problem with republicans is they stopped being republicans. Used to be the party of fiscal responsibility then Karl Rove started mining votes by getting the evangelicals in the mix. Now they’re all upset about gay marriage. In the meantime Reagan and Bush both left office with huge debts. Bob Dole used to be as far to the right as you could get.

scaramouchepart2 6 years ago

On any of my sister's geological digs she explains how old the rock formations are and the process it has gone through and then adds and for my brother and sister's state of Kansas their rocks are only 6000 yrs old. Western Kansas dinosaurs only lived 2 years in order to allow Kansas to be only 6000 yrs old. Did you know that about 5 years ago there was a research study done which proved that man kind was started in Ethopia and there are two gene pools. A and B. Everyone has the B gene except for a very small set of two groups which actually only have the A gene. The researchers were able to prove how man expanded north and then east and west along land bridges that existed at the time. "The date of the earliest successful "out of Africa" migration (earliest migrants with living descendents) has generally been placed at 60,000 years ago as suggested by genetics, " this one is referenced and you do not have to go to a university library to find.

However, Kansans just appeared in Kansas 6000 years ago. Thankfully I emigrated.

danmoore 6 years ago

Let the schools do their job and teach science and let the church contradict it on Sunday if they so desire. We should not even be having this discussion.

Jayhawk1958 6 years ago

Anyone ever think that maybe a supreme being was responsible for evolution?

blindrabbit 6 years ago

The late Carl Sagan said many times there are billion and billions of stars (and presumably many more planets) in the universe. If life exist on any of the remote (to us) planets, would each have a unique supreme being. Would each have a fictional Jesus character, and a bunch of right wingnuts trying to refute the facts of their being.

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