Kansas Creationist School Board Update 24 Jul ’10

A few months ago we posted Kansas Creationism: A Blast from the Past, in which we discussed upcoming elections for members of the Kansas State Board of Education. We identified two incumbents who were running for re-election who had been part of the creationist faction during the infamous Kansas evolution hearings of 2005.

Those two lingering creationists are John Bacon, who represents District 3, and Kenneth Willard of District 7. We found two news articles pertaining to their campaigns. We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold added by us.

In the Kansas City Star we read Key differences for only filed candidates in Board of Education District 3 race.

The Aug. 3 primary election will almost certainly determine who will occupy the District 3 seat on the Kansas Board of Education. Republican incumbent John Bacon [the creationist] of Olathe is facing Republican challenger Dennis George of Ottawa. No Democrats have filed for the office.

The 03 August primary is the whole game in District 3. Continuing with the article:

According to their answers on a survey, Bacon and George differ on several key issues. First, Bacon said science curriculum should include theories in addition to evolution, while George said other theories should be allowed to be discussed in class but should not be part of the curriculum.

This is a close one. Bacon is still a hard-core creationist who wants six-day creation and Noah’s Ark in science class. His opponent will tolerate unofficial classroom discussions of such “theories.” Our guess is that George is the less aggressive creationist, whatever that may mean in Kansas.

That’s all there is on creationism, but the article ends with this

Bacon has been endorsed by the Kansas Republican Assembly and Kansans for Life. George has been endorsed by MainPAC, the MainStream Coalition’s political action committee.

Okay, now for the District 7 race. In The Kansan of Newton, Kansas we read State BOE seat has two candidates. They say:

Kenneth Willard [the creationist] has served two terms on the Kansas Board of Education representing District 7 … . Willard faces a relatively unopposed re-election this year to what would be his third term in office.

Willard’s district seems comfortable with their creationist. Let’s read on:

Though Willard has run twice before in hotly contested elections, he has little reason to doubt his re-election this time around. He has only one challenger in the primary election, M.T. Liggett, an artist from Mullinville known for politically satirical pieces that adorn Highway 154.

Well, at least that’s interesting. Here’s more:

Though he does not possess much of a political record, Liggett has used his art as a forum to criticize the state Board of Education. One piece, which criticizes the board’s stand on evolution, calls the board members “nincompoops” and claims that they are “lead(ing) our schools to the stone age.” Calls to Liggett for comment about the election were not answered.

We like that guy. Let’s continue:

Willard is confident he will be re-elected this year, because most of the focus in this election has been paid to other races, and there is no Democrat running in the general election. Unless Liggett develops a larger following than in previous elections or a strong write-in candidate emerges, the election is Willard’s to lose.

As with District 3, the GOP primary for District 7 is the whole show. The last line of the article emphasizes this:

Willard and Liggett will be on the Republican primary ballot Aug. 3. The winner of the primary will run uncontested on Nov. 2.

So there you are. Two old-time Kansas creationists (John Bacon and Kenneth Willard) are being challenged in the 03 August GOP primary. If they win, they stay on the board — along with Kathy Martin, who was re-elected in 2008. That’s how it is in Kansas.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Kansas Creationist School Board Update 24 Jul ’10

  1. “George said other theories should be allowed to be discussed in class but should not be part of the curriculum.”

    Seems reasonable to me. If students are told one thing at home and church that are different from what they are told in school, it is bound to cause questions about why that is. To ignore or censor such questions is to allow them to gain more weight than they deserve.

  2. Some of Liggett’s “art” can be seen in the link below.
    http://www.kansastravel.org/liggettkanzaart.htm
    First site I checked and there are others.
    Be sure to read the “Uncle-Monkey” sign.

  3. Charley Horse says:

    Some of Liggett’s “art” can be seen in the link below.

    He’s more than qualified for the Board of Education.

  4. Here’s the man himself…..

    QUOTE: If I pissed you off….maybe I intended to..

  5. Curmudgeon: “This is a close one. Bacon is still a hard-core creationist who wants six-day creation and Noah’s Ark in science class. His opponent will tolerate unofficial classroom discussions of such “theories.” Our guess is that George is the less aggressive creationist, whatever that may mean in Kansas.”

    I look at it this way: If someone advocates teaching Noah’s Ark in science class, he will either fail (not even the DI will support him) or if he succeeds, some students will see how poorly it is supported compared to evolution.

    But he advocates only the phony “critical analysis” (actually misrepresentations) of evolution of taught, he will have a better chance of getting his nonsence taught. In which case only evolution will be portrayed as “weak.” And most students will fall back on whatever else makes them feel good, be it YEC/Ark nonsense, a more “progressive” OEC or some new-agey alternative.

    IOW to me the most aggressive creationists are the “don’t ask, don’t tell” “kind.”

  6. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams

    I disagree that “this is a close one.”

    If Dennis George is a “less aggressive creationist,” then he’s not-aggressive to the point where he prefers information from reliable science sources rather than from pseudo-science organizations.

    From the 2010 Kansas Citizens for Science questionnaire: “As a State Board of Education member, which of the following organizations would you trust to inform your decision-making in regards to science? Check all that apply.”

    George indicates he’ll rely on information from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The National Academies of Science, The American Institute of Biological Sciences, The National Science Teachers Association, and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    Apparently he doesn’t think much of information from The Intelligent Design Network, The Discovery Institute, Answers in Genesis, The Institute for Creation Research, or the Marshall Institute.

    SC, you noted the endorsements of these fellows.

    Dennis George’s opponent has been endorsed by the far-right Kansas Republican Assembly. In the past, the KRA endorsements for the KSBE have included creationists Kathy Martin, Connie Morris, Steve Abrams, Ken Willard, and Iris VanMeter.

    On the other hand, Dennis George has been endorsed by MainPAC, which supports none of that anti-evolution tomfoolery.

    It seems pretty clear to me that Dennis George is most definitely *not* a stealth creationist.

    Dennis George’s full responses to the survey referred to in the newspaper article; his opponent’s responses.

  7. Thanks, Cheryl Shepherd-Adams. That’s excellent information. (Your comment got delayed because of the number of links. Nothing personal.)

  8. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams

    (Your comment got delayed because of the number of links. Nothing personal.)

    I figured as much.