MOST of you remember the crazy days of the Kansas evolution hearings. That was back in 2005, a few months before the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial dominated the news of The Controversy between evolution and creationism. Those were fun times, with Kansas State Board of Education members Kathy Martin and Connie Morris leading the way.
They had the overt help of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists). The Board actually decided to re-define the meaning of science in Kansas so that it would also include supernatural phenomena — thus allowing creationism to be taught in science class. It was absolutely insane.
The Board still has a few members who supported the creationist madness, notably Kathy Martin, who won re-election in 2008 (see Kansas Creationist School Board Election Results), and two other old-time, hard-core, flaming, full-blown creationists, John Bacon and Kenneth Willard, who won re-election contests last month in the GOP primary, as we reported here. So where does that leave things?
In the Lawrence Journal-World of Lawrence, Kansas we read Money becomes new focus of Kansas State Board of Ed races. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
Campaigns for the State Board of Education that previously were as much about what Kansas students are taught might be more about how those courses are paid for this year. No longer is the debate dominated by science standards and subtle references to evolution, intelligent design or “The Flying Spaghetti Monster” who controls the universe.
That’s good news. Let’s skip over the issues that don’t concern us and read on:
Five seats are on the ballot, with three Republican incumbents unopposed. Getting through are John Bacon of Olathe in the 3rd District, Sally Cauble of Liberal in the 5th District and Ken Willard of Hutchinson in the 7th District.
Bacon and Willard are creationists who voted with Kathy Martin in the crazy times. What does this mean for The Controversy? The Lawrence Journal-World informs us:
In elections over the past decade, evolution became a key issue in Board of Education races. The board revised standards for testing students’ knowledge of science four times from 1999 to 2007.
A conservative majority adopted standards in 1999 that deleted most references to evolution; in 2001, a new majority revised the standards so they treated evolution as a key scientific concept.
Note that in Kansas, “conservative” doesn’t necessarily mean Republican, but it always means creationist. We continue:
In 2005, a new conservative majority adopted standards incorporating language reflecting skepticism of evolution, sought by intelligent design advocates. In 2007, a new majority returned the state to evolution-friendly standards.
That’s been the recent situation. But what’s the result of the latest round of elections? Here’s more:
The board will next review and revise the [science] standards in 2014. Shaver, Waugh and Cauble are part of the bloc that support the current [sane] standards. Medford said evolution should be taught in science classes, but any comparative study would be best for a “Philosophy 101 at the senior level.”
The Controversy will be on the back burner until 2014. One last excerpt:
But Waugh said the debate could be muted, if it takes place at all. … “We don’t need to fight that fight again,” Waugh said.
No one needs to fight that fight. It all depends on how things go in future elections. We haven’t heard the last from the Kansas creationists, but it looks like we can safely ignore them for the immediate future.
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