As we pointed out in “We’re Not Crackpots”, Kansas is considering new, evolution-friendly science standards proposed by the National Research Council, which are intended as voluntary guidelines to be adopted by all states for use in their public schools.
One faction on the Kansas State Board of Education wants to approve the standards now, before the November elections — which could swing the Board back to a creationist majority. Between 1999 and 2007, the state had five sets of science standards, oscillating back and forth between creationism and evolution. See (see Kansas Flashback: The Crazy Days).
Five of the 10 Board seats are on the ballot this fall. Kathy Martin, the queen of the Kansas creationists, won’t be running for re-election, so it’s all up for grabs this year. Evolution is the big issue, because Kansas is on the cutting edge of science — Tenth Century science.
Today, the Los Angeles Times has this story: Kansas’ evolution debate just keeps evolving. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
The great Kansas debate over teaching evolution continues to, well, evolve. Consider Jack Wu, candidate for the Kansas state Board of Education. Perhaps the most relevant qualification on his bio is that he attends the Westboro Baptist Church. … “The current public educational system in Kansas and the United States is preparing its students to be liars, crooks, thieves, murderers and perverts,” he says on a statement on his campaign site.
He’s as whacked as they come. Well, maybe not — he could be mainstream in Kansas. We wrote about him here: Meet Jack Wu. On with the story:
All this is just a way of saying that the evolution debate once again is rearing its head as Kansas considers new science standards that would firmly entrench evolution as a core scientific principle.
Once the Next Generation Science Standards are finished by the end of this year, it’ll be time for Kansas to review its own science standards. The state’s current education board members would be expected to adopt the national standards they are helping to draft. For some creationists, that makes November’s upcoming election for half the seats on the 10-member board huge.
Huge indeed. Let’s read on:
“It’s not a bunch of Kansas crazies that has brought this up,” said Kenneth Willard, one state education board member who questions teaching evolution, according to the Lawrence Journal-World. “It’s broader.”
Actually, Willard, although there are loads of creationists around, in your case it really is a bunch of Kansas crazies. We continue:
Creationist advocates outside of Kansas, such as Answers in Genesis in Kentucky, have distanced themselves from the most strident calls to ban teaching evolution.
Too embarrassing, even for AIG. Here’s more:
Add to that list the Institute for Creation Research. “Teachers who don’t believe the Bible shouldn’t be forced to teach something they don’t believe,” Lawrence Ford, director of communications for the Institute for Creation Research, told the Christian Post.
Both organizations supported standards that would allow students to critically challenge evolution, however, so expect the debate to go on — maybe just more gently.
Professional creationists have had their heads handed to them so many times in court that they’ve adopted a kinder, gentler approach to suppressing rationality. But they’re not fooling anyone. Nevertheless, Kansas creationists like Willard and Wu aren’t interested in such subtleties. They want Kansas schools to teach full-blown creationism.
The election is a few months away and we’re expecting lots more fun from Kansas. Stay tuned to this blog.
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