Kansas Creationism: Alive and Well in 2012

There was once a time when Kansas was the center of The Controversy between evolution and creationism (see Kansas Flashback: The Crazy Days).

It was back in 2005 when the Kansas State Board of Education, led by Kathy Martin and Connie Morris, 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. That was before the Kitzmiller trial began in Dover, when everything started going downhill for the creationists. The next Kansas elections brought in a new Board majority that reversed the creationists’ science standards.

It was also before the spectacular 2006 Florida crusade by Ronda Storms to legislate creationism in Florida, the enactment of a creationism law in 2008 in Louisiana, the recent circus presided over by Don McLeroy in Texas, and this year’s creationist legislation in Tennessee. As a result of those later developments, Kansas has somewhat faded in our memories, but that may not last much longer.

We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Kansas headed toward another evolution debate as school board reviews new science standards, which appears in the Washington Post. The bold font was added by us:

Kansas is headed toward another debate over how evolution is taught in its public schools, with a State Board of Education member saying Friday that science standards under development are “very problematic” for describing the theory as a well-established, core scientific concept.

Oh goodie! No one does it better than Kansas. As we look at the membership of the State Board of Education, we see a lot of familiar names — especially Kathy Martin. We also remember Bacon and Willard as being creationists. There may be others. Back to the news story:

Kansas is now among 26 states helping to draft new science standards alongside the National Research Council, with the goal of creating standard, nationwide guidelines. A first draft became public last month, and the Kansas board is scheduled to hear an update on Tuesday.

Creationists don’t like those standards. Too rational! Let’s read on:

Board member Ken Willard, a Hutchinson Republican, said he’s troubled by the first draft of the proposed standards. In the past, Willard has supported standards for Kansas with material that questions evolution; guidelines that he and other conservatives approved in 2005 were supplanted by the current ones.

Willard said the draft embraces naturalism and secular humanism, which precludes God or another supreme being in considering how the universe works. He said he intends to raise the issue Tuesday.

All right! Kansas is back in action! There’s nothing more entertaining than world-class stupidity in the spotlight. Stay tuned to this blog.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Kansas Creationism: Alive and Well in 2012

  1. Spector567

    Tell you what I’ll agree with Willard if he can teach 60h worth of a class on his alternative theories without mentioning evolution.

  2. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams

    Ken Willard, like every other member of the Kansas State Board of Education, had the opportunity to appoint someone to the state-level review committee for the Next Generation Science Standards. Thus he’s *already* had input to the standards. Now he just sounds cranky because he didn’t get his way.

    And for what it’s worth, the terms “naturalism” and “secular humanism” aren’t in the NGSS. This could lead one to wonder if he’s even read through the NGSS. Of course that wouldn’t be the first time Kansas’ critics of good science standards hadn’t bothered to read them!

  3. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams

    Another thought . . . the Common Core standards for mathematics don’t have any mention of “alternate theories” either. Despite the lack of God-verbiage in the math CCS, Willard hasn’t accused the math standards of embracing “naturalism” or “secular humanism.” Hmmm. Wonder why he’s picking on science?

  4. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams says: “Wonder why he’s picking on science?”

    This year, evolution. Next year, fractions.

  5. Ceteris Paribus

    @Cheryl: I sure hope you are not a Kansas high school student. Last fall we found out that Kansas Gov Brownback keeps track of students making “mean comments” about him.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find that even some state school board members, at least those most intent on seeing the state renamed “Brownbackistan”, are also keeping notes about “mean girls” who make rude comments.

    Oh, and by the way, if you ever need to register as a first time voter in Kansas, keep in mind that under Brownback the rules were changed this year. Now, if your married surname, or the hyphenated surname some adopt for their own purposes, is not identical to the person’s birth surname name as it appears on their original birth certificate which you must provide, then to complete registration one needs to also provide a certified copy of the original marriage license showing the name change. In case of a divorce where a married name has reverted back to the birth name, then for voter registration a court document showing that name change must be produced.

    Probably only a couple of months delay involved getting either kind of proof from the bureaucracy. But we shouldn’t suspect that the Brownbackians are picking on women. The rules do apply equally to men. Still, if instead of Emma it turned out that the student who upset Brownback was a football player named Levi, do you suppose he would have been called to the principal’s office to write an apology?

  6. CP “@Cheryl: I sure hope you are not a Kansas high school student.”

    Nope, no worries there, but thanks for the concern. Your other observations are, sadly, too accurate.

  7. NeonNoodle

    How frustrating must it be to be a taxpayer in Kansas, reading this story? It’s deja vu all over again. The KS state flag should be an image of Charlie Brown trying to kick a football. They call themselves the Board of Education, but they never learn.

  8. I hope that the board tries to escalate this thing again, preferably with Kansas tax dollars. Back in 1999 when Kansas tried similar shenanigans, the voters threw ’em out and sanity prevailed. Sooner or later, Kansans will wake up and start asking questions rather than later.

  9. I’m just waiting for these anti-science crusaders to start insisting that pi is equal to 3.0 and citing 1 Kings 7:23 to prove it.

  10. retiredsciguy

    SC: “This year, evolution. Next year, fractions.”

    Aitch748 beat me to my comment. Actually, though, I’m not sure why the Kansas State Board of Education would be against pi. One would think they would embrace irrational numbers.

  11. will Fraser

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    looking for food to contribute to the group.
    Every family has as a banana filcher
    hanging around the periphery of the camp fire.
    The hyenas missed a few strays it would appear….That’s mother nature for you guys.