Archive for Friday, June 15, 2012

Evolution returns

Many Kansans aren’t happy to hear that their state school board once again is focusing on science standards and the teaching of evolution.

June 15, 2012


News that the Kansas State Board of Education once again is discussing science standards and the teaching of evolution makes many Kansans cringe.

Only a few years ago, Kansas attracted considerable unflattering attention when the state school board decided to remove the theory of evolution from its science curriculum requirements. After new board members were elected, the decision was reversed, and many state residents aren’t eager to see the issue revisited. Unfortunately, at least a few state school board members don’t share that view.

The board received a report this week on common science standards being developed by 26 states, including Kansas, and the National Research Council. The goal is to write standards that will be considered for adoption in the participating states. The draft standards reviewed by the Kansas board describe evolution as a well-founded, core scientific concept.

That seems like a fair enough description, but some Kansas board members weren’t happy with the language. To support his criticism of the standards, board member Ken Willard, a Hutchinson Republican, distributed a letter from a group called Citizens for Objective Public Education, which lists officers in Florida and Kansas. The letter argues that the draft standards ignore evidence against evolution, don’t respect religious diversity and promote secular humanism.

Kansans have heard this argument before and largely rejected it. The job of school science classes is to use the best available scientific evidence to teach about a variety of topics, including evolution. If matters of faith somehow conflict with the scientific evidence, that is a topic for religious instruction most appropriately conducted in private homes or churches.

Instruction in public schools can’t be based on the individual beliefs of students. In math, grammar and most other subjects, there are generally accepted standards of knowledge that should be imparted to students. Two times two equals four; singular subjects take singular verbs in a sentence. Such standards are the basis for education. The same is true in science class. Students can choose not to believe in evolution, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t learn about and understand the well-accepted theory on which much of biological study is based.

Kansans certainly respect a wide variety of religious beliefs in the state, but the argument over teaching evolution as part of public school science classes has proved to be needlessly divisive and embarrassing. After considerable debate and a couple of election cycles, this issue was settled several years ago. Unless there’s a compelling reason to raise it again, the state school board should let that decision stand.


Smartyr 1 year, 10 months ago

I've seen lots of Christians propose that schools be required to "compromise" and teach creationism, but I've never seen even a single Christian propose that churches be required to "compromise" and teach evolution.


tange 1 year, 10 months ago

kno' it: u love evolution. k?


Geodge 1 year, 10 months ago

It's a shame that the religious opponents of the teaching biological evolution have to resort to lying about the subject to win support. There is no scientific evidence, at all, against the theory of evolution. None. Those that claim otherwise are either purposely deceived or purposely deceiving others.

And it's a shame to see atheist supporters of the teaching of biological evolution misrepresenting it. Evolutionary science is not a scientific theory showing there is no God. Those that claim otherwise are either purposely deceived or purposely deceiving others.

Evolutionary theory is no different than germ theory. If people want to believe they see God's hand (or Satan's) in leprosy, polio, AIDS or rabies, that's their prerogative. But it is not their prerogative to deceive others into believing there is an active scientific debate over what causes these diseases. It is not their prerogative to promote a "God dunnit" theory of disease in a public school science class. These school board members' notions about evolution have no more scientific merit than do astrology or divination. These two members are manifestly unqualified to hold their positions.


mikekt 1 year, 10 months ago

Oh Lord,.... Save Us........from this same old tired evolution debate! And Lord,....Find us something better to spend our time, attention, money, etc..,on! Thanks! Ahmen.


BornAgainAmerican 1 year, 10 months ago

The only thing worse than the BOE hammering on this issue again is listening to a bunch of Larryville Losers trot out the same old "I'm smarter than you" lies and hurl the same old tired insults over, and over, and over, and over.....

You guys need a hobby.


beatrice 1 year, 10 months ago

I do not believe 1 + 1 = 2.

I believe 1 + 1 = something other than 2. I don't know what it actually equals, nor do I have any proof at all that 1 + 1 = something other than 2, but I have faith that the true answer is something other than 2.

As such, I demand that this opposing view be taught in school, and if they don't teach my belief than I am being persecuted for my beliefs.

Oh, and if you don't believe 1 + 1 = something other than 2, you will burn in hell for all eternity. That isn't me saying this, it is my faith saying it. Hate the math, love the mathemetician.


MacHeath 1 year, 10 months ago

If you are going to teach Christian creationism in pubic school, then you need to teach them all...


mikekt 1 year, 10 months ago

OMG!!!!. The Loonie-Toonies are back!!! Or maybe they never went away???


lawrenceguy40 1 year, 10 months ago

1 Cor 15:58: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."

The Lord has seen the good works happening in Kansas in the last 18 months. It may be no coincidence that CNN this week named southern Kansas as one of the top five "boomtowns" in the US.

By following the Lord He will reward us. The School Board can do no harm in promoting God's word over that of the self appointed liberal indoctrinators.

Rejoice in this news!


blindrabbit 1 year, 10 months ago

And Kansas is trying to attract high-tech industry! I'm sure the possibilities are mounting! This coupled with the negativity Kansas already has to the rest of the country, is a great selling point.

Kinda like the opposite of "Field of Dreams" concept "Build it and they will come", Kansas's take "screw it up and they will leave (Boeing) or never come"


SuperActivistGirl 1 year, 10 months ago

I don't hear about Hindu's arguing that Evolution hurts their children?

What about the other religions that are in America? Why do we have to recognize just one?

If we are going to throw out science, why favor one myth over another?

Stop being selfish people and think of our future - THE CHILDREN.

I don't want a holistic healer to treat me in the ER, just because modern medicine conflicts with some childhood story they grew up with.


tange 1 year, 10 months ago

Well, I HAVE the red-letter edition WITH concordance; still I find no answers to the odd questions, at the back of the book.


Carmalee Winebrinner 1 year, 10 months ago

Ken Willard believes the current science standards "ignore evidence against evolution, don’t respect religious diversity and promote secular humanism."

Other than the Bible, there is even less evidence supporting creationism than there is supporting evolution.

Science should not respect religious diversity, since the two areas are so very nearly mutually exclusive as to be approaching infinity.

Science does not promote any type of "ism." The one thing that science promotes above any other is curiosity.

The biggest questions one can ask in science are "why?" and "how?" Since the biblical literatists believe that both of those questions are tantamount to heresy, it's no wonder they don't want evolution taught.


Eride 1 year, 10 months ago

I went to a catholic school for elementary school.

We were taught evolution as a core scientific theory. I cannot fathom why the school board members continue to insist on making our state look foolish.


catfishturkeyhunter 1 year, 10 months ago

Wouldn't this fall into the whole seperation of church from state amendment? Im not bashing religion by no means and I do believe in Jesus. He was a real person just as most of the charachters in the Bible most likely were. But the story of the Bible is only a couple thousand years old. Planet earth is 4.5 billion years old and its a proven fact that there were living creatures (some resembling modern day man) on this planet way before anyone ever thought about writting the Bible. That doesn't make the Bible entirely false either. Theres alot of facts supporting the Bible.. I guess I just choose to look at both sides of the story.


Gareth 1 year, 10 months ago

Science flies rockets to the moon.

Religion flies airplanes into skyscrapers.


yourworstnightmare 1 year, 10 months ago

"Evolution should be presented in science classes, as should opposing views."

Which opposing views? Those based on religion? Which religion? Which views?

I ask because there are no scientific "opposing views" when it comes to evolution. Sure, there are arguments over exact mechanism and details, the the theory of evolution, a theory derived from science and the scientific method, is as iron-clad a theory as any in science.


KillerKitten 1 year, 10 months ago

Evolution should be presented in science classes, as should opposing views. There's no reason there needs to be a debate. What gets me is that these so-called educators cannot trust their own children to weigh the evidence and make their own decisions.

I was raised Catholic. I went to after school Bible study classes until I was 12 years old.

In high school, I remember having one lecture dedicated to Darwin and following evolutionary scientists. I remember the mention of intelligent design and I remember the mention of creationism. We focused on evolution because there is heaps of scientific evidence supporting evolution. It was science class.

In high school I also learned a ton about the history of Christianity in my European history class. Having gone through Catholic Bible classes, I had a head start on some other classmates in understanding the doctrine. In college I've studied parts of the Bible multiple times as well. I see the tremendous value Christianity has in the lives of people who follow those teachings. I see religion in general as an extremely valuable part of humanity. There are so many different religions in the world however that to try and force a single religious view on such diverse people is ludicrous.

I made a decision in my life to follow the science of evolution instead of the doctrine of Christianity in regards to human origins. I made a choice. I was not indoctrinated either way. Evolution makes more sense to me. I have friends who received the same education that I did who chose to believe the Christian doctrine.

My point is, your beliefs are ultimately a choice. These legislators do not trust that their children can make their own decisions, and that scares me. Human beings are intelligent creatures. I believe being educated involves being exposed to as much as possible. I feel like these board members are unconsciously forcing Kansas children to be uneducated and single minded.

Another point: Unless these kids choose to follow a scientific or religious career path (oh look, there's that pesky "choice" idea again), where humans originated is not going to make a difference in their day to day lives, just like calculus has no bearing on my day to day life.

Ultimate point: Trust our children. Teach everything which is relevant.


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 10 months ago

The science of "evolution" is working.

The "evolving" guy has 'evolved' to 'dictator' by legalizing 800,000 'trespassers' in time to vote.

groovy. This can not be 'taught' in church.


yourworstnightmare 1 year, 10 months ago

The lack of education and the willful ignorance of the anti-science zealots is truly embarrassing.


JackMcKee 1 year, 10 months ago

sadly, when these morons manage to reproduce normal offspring they run away from crazy eyed parents and the State of Kansas as soon as they can open a bank account.

It's not taxes driving people away from Kansas. It's these people.


lcchain 1 year, 10 months ago

Glad my eyes are wide open and my mind is free to think for itself. My heart decided to live this way.

I see god every moment I'm alive, and I see the evolution of the story being told.

4da Lulz n00bz


Jeff Kilgore 1 year, 10 months ago

The way around this rehash of "teaching the controversy" is to add the study of Christianity as an elective. Notice that I didn't offer "religious studies" because that's not what the public wants.

Although I'm not religious, I'm not against the teaching of religion in schools, so far as it does not involve indoctrination such as class prayer or a forced statement of faith.

For better or worse, isn't it strange that the separation of church and state is so pronounced that students are not allowed to even have Christianity discussed? What I've found in 28 years of public education is that a stunning number of my students have only a very sketchy idea of what Christianity is in any way. To me, that's ridiculous, just as ridiculous as the idea of teaching intelligent design in biology class.


parrothead8 1 year, 10 months ago

"...singular subjects take singular verbs in a sentence."

I think that should be, "...singular subjects take singular verbs in sentences."


Stuart Evans 1 year, 10 months ago

"ignore evidence against evolution, don’t respect religious diversity and promote secular humanism." oh do tell.. What exactly IS the evidence against evolution? go ahead, I'll wait...

Additionally, our public schools are not here to respect or promote religion, and they are to be secular. This poor politician doesn't care about education or kids.. he only cares about pushing his religious agenda on the future of this country. he should be publicly shamed.


geekin_topekan 1 year, 10 months ago

I assume that we are speaking of Umo N Ho N creation story. It too has archeological and oral history as evidence, some of it a day drive from Kansas.

If we are going to teach one creation story, we must teach them all. The founders of our country saw this nonsense coming and purposefully excluded the Christian God from our founding documents.

Christianity was omitted with purpose.


jonas_opines 1 year, 10 months ago

"The letter argues that the draft standards ignore evidence against evolution, don’t respect religious diversity and promote secular humanism."

While scientific study should certainly be concerned with the first of those three things, it should be actively unconcerned with the last two, which I suspect are the ones that the letter writers are truly concerned about.


Cait McKnelly 1 year, 10 months ago

So many right wing Christians, so few lions....


One_Faith 1 year, 10 months ago

As an observer from the UK, may I just say that this issue is not about 'banning evolution' being taught anywhere. Students should understand the theory of evolution, but they must also be allowed to learn about other interpretations of the same evidence. Until the 1960's all talk of geological catastrophism was deeply frowned upon, yet now there is a mounting body of evidence for widespread geological catastrophe in the Earth Sciences. To limit students' exposure to just the ruling paradigm of the day - which could be overthrown in mere decades based upon better research - is tantamount to curbing academic freedom. It cannot be justified! There is an enormous and growing weight of evidence agreeing that the Holy Bible is wholly trustworthy from both both archaeological digs - and cosmogony studies. The secular agenda doesn't want to accept the claim that the Holy Bible (which alone is wholly authoritative) provides verbal, propositional revelation about the real world and its past history. Rejection only began in the 17th century with philosophers like Spinoza, and continued with Kant, Hegel etc. Yet a careful study shows that they were busy cutting off the branch they were sitting on. Nowadays, scientists like Stephen Hawking have to postulate multiple universes (a notion also encountered in ancient Judaism) just to avoid the conclusion that the cosmos was a set up job! The truth will out one day!


Liberty_One 1 year, 10 months ago

This is a perfect example of one of the many failures of government. Groups try and impose their will upon others instead of living harmoniously together. Here, those seeking to oust the teaching of evolution from public schools are trying to gain enough power to push their agenda upon others, while at the same time, those against this are trying to make sure their agenda rules the day.

Whoever wins, one group will be oppressed by the other. Yet another failure of the state.


FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 10 months ago

and yet, Scientists, scientifically know the Universe is 'infinite' which rules out the remote possibility a complex intellectual nuanced "Spaghetti Monster" exists.

because, like the definition of "is"! the definition of Infinite means there cannot possibly be a complex intellectual nuanced "Spaghetti Monster".

The complex intellectual nuanced Liberal thinks "Evolution" is neat, until it is 'applied' to them.


1957 1 year, 10 months ago


These 2 comments expose that to some evolution is not about science but about disparaging religious faith. They also are just rants without merit written with such certainty and hubris. There is plenty of evidence on the other side, far to much to post here.

I only ask that you treat those who believe with respect and understand that you both just might be wrong.


Liberty275 1 year, 10 months ago

"Even today, our world's major religions continue to hide such startling discoveries such as the sun doesn't spin around the Earth"

Doesn't the sun and earth and the rest of the planets and bit and pieces revolve around the center of mass of the solar system? Also, the sun never has or will spin around anything except it's own axis.

"our planet is not the center of the universe"

Where is the center of the universe?

"these men might have slipped some of their own thoughts into what God was telling them?"

That's not possible. They didn't slip in their own thoughts, they just wrote them down. Giving them the benefit of kindness, they may have been psychotic and thought a god was talking to them and not blatantly lying, but every thought on every page of every book on Earth is man's. Gods don't exist.


distant_voice 1 year, 10 months ago

Like all religious writings, God didn't write the Bible, he didn't write the Torah, and he didn't write the Quran. Men wrote these books, claiming that God was speaking through them. Do you think there's just the slightest possibility that these men might have slipped some of their own thoughts into what God was telling them? Even today, our world's major religions continue to hide such startling discoveries such as the sun doesn't spin around the Earth, our planet is not the center of the universe, creatures no religious book describes were roaming our planet millions of years before these books tell us that God created it; and yes, while God may have created man, he didn't do it with a wave of his magic wand.

An all-powerful God has less reason to demand the obedience of us mortals to these teachings than men who think themselves powerful.


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