If you’ve been following The Controversy between evolution and creationism for a while, then you surely remember the Kansas Crazy Days of 2005 and the Kansas evolution hearings. Back then 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.
But shortly after those infamous hearings the Kitzmiller trial began in Dover, and that’s when everything started going downhill for the creationists. The next Kansas elections brought in a new Board majority that reversed the supernatural science standards. Kansas continues to be a hotbed of creationism, but in the realm of official, state-mandated madness, Louisiana has superseded them as the center of the flat Earth, and Kansas has largely faded from our attention. But not entirely.
Last year we posted Kansas Creationism Is National News. At that time Kansas was considering the new, evolution-friendly science standards proposed by the National Research Council, intended to be voluntary guidelines to be adopted by all states for use in their public schools. Although Kansas was helping to draft the standards, their adoption was controversial. After all, the standards being drafted were pro-science, and that starts with “p” and that rhymes with “d” and that stands for devil.
Those standards have now been completed and you can see the final product here: The Next Generation Science Standards. We haven’t looked at them; all we know is that they’re pro-evolution and make no attempt to teach “both sides” of the alleged controversy. So now you’re all wondering — what will Kansas do — adopt the standards or reject them?
Lordy, lordy — it’s a miracle! Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
The Kansas State Board of Education today approved a new set of science standards that supporters say will give students a deeper understanding of science through more hands-on experience.
A few short years ago we would not have believed this was possible — not in Kansas. The story continues:
“When I first read the NGSS [Next Generation Science Standards], I was very excited to see it was just a clear description of what I’ve been striving toward for the past 10 years,” said Julie Schwarting, a biology teacher at Free State High School in Lawrence and president of the Kansas Association of Biology Teachers. “It really included all of the things I think are great ways to teach science.”
If the biology teachers are happy, the creationists must be furious. Let’s read on:
But the science standards have also drawn criticism from religious conservatives because they treat the evolution of species as a scientific fact and offer no discussion of religious-based theories such as creationism or intelligent design.
Ah, now that’s the Kansas we remember. Another excerpt:
Rex Powell of Spring Hill, a member of Citizens for Objective Public Education, or COPE, said the new standards would teach, “that life is a random occurrence, not a creation.”
“These are the tenets of non-theistic religion like atheism and religious humanism,” Powell said, adding that they promote, “an atheistic world view in the minds of impressionable children. They are standards for religious indoctrination rather than objective science education that touches religious issues.“
Yeah, Rex baby– tell ’em how it is! Here’s more:
State board member Ken Willard, a Hutchinson Republican, said he shared that view. In a lengthy prepared statement that he read to the board, Willard said “both evolution and human-caused climate change are presented in these standards dogmatically,” and that the standards amount to “little more than indoctrination in political correctness.”
We’ve written about Willard before — see Kansas Creationism: “We’re Not Crackpots”. He’s hard-core. Moving along:
Willard and board member John Bacon, who also voted against the standards, once were part of a majority on the board which pushed through science standards in 2005 that deleted references to macro-evolution.
Those were the days! Yes, we’ve got Louisiana to laugh at now, but somehow it’s not the same. Louisiana is dark and gloomy and swampy and all the trees drip with Spanish moss, so it’s not surprising that they’re all bonkers. But — this is difficult to express — when Kansas was officially insane, it just seemed so … appropriate! However, we are not creationists, or any other kind of magical mystical maniac, so we shall deal with the world as it is.
There are more details in the article, but you already know the big news — Kansas has adopted the new standards and that means they’re out of the creationism game — for now. But all that’s needed is another election, and the balance of power on the Kansas State Board of Education may change again. Then the Earth will once more be flat, God will be in heaven, and we won’t be no kin to no monkey.
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