Kansas Creationism: It’s Back Again

You remember when we recently reported, in Kansas Is Having a Lucid Moment, that Kansas — of all places! — had adopted the evolution-friendly Next Generation Science Standards (the “NGSS”).

As that Wikipedia article explains, the NGSS were drafted as a privately funded (i.e., non-governmental) effort by the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Research Council, and others. States remain free to run their own education systems. They may adopt the NGSS voluntarily, or they don’t have to. About a half-dozen have adopted the NGSS, and the last state to do so that we know of was Kentucky — although it’s still uncertain what’s going to happen there. See Kentucky OKs Next Generation Science Standards?

The Discoveroids hate the NGSS, as Casey wrote yesterday in Nationalized Science Education, Privately Funded and Formulated in Secret: “Next Generation Science Standards” Are Ripe for Criticism. Why do the Discoveroids feel that way? As Casey puts it:

The NGSS are ardently pro-Darwin-only, and would withhold from students any information about the scientific weaknesses in Darwinian theory.

[…]

[L]eading groups skeptical of modern Darwinian theory (including Discovery Institute) were excluded from the NGSS drafting process, but pro-Darwin advocacy groups like the National Center for Science Education, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Science Teachers Association were invited.

Now it seems that in spite of their official adoption of the NGSS, things aren’t over yet in Kansas. At the website of Fox News we find this remarkably fair, unbiased story: Lawsuit filed in Kansas to block climate change, evolution curriculum. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

An anti-evolution group [the grotesquely misnamed Citizens for Objective Public Education] filed a federal lawsuit Thursday to block Kansas from using new, multistate science standards in its public schools, arguing the guidelines promote atheism and violate students’ and parents’ religious freedom.

Oh goodie — another thrilling court case for us to write about. Let’s read on:

The new standards, like the ones they replaced, reflect the mainstream scientific view that evolution is well-established. Most board members believed the guidelines will improve science education by shifting the emphasis in science classes to doing hands-on projects and experiments.

That’s right, dear reader. This is from Fox News. They continue:

The nonprofit organization [that filed the suit] based in the small community of Peck, south of Wichita, was joined in its lawsuit by 15 parents from across the state with a total of 18 children — most of them in public schools — and two taxpayers from the Kansas City-area community of Lake Quivira. The parents say they’re Christians who want to instill a belief in their children that “life is a creation made for a purpose.”

It shouldn’t be too difficult for a court to handle this one. Here’s more:

“The state’s job is simply to say to students, `How life arises continues to be a scientific mystery and there are competing ideas about it,”‘ said John Calvert, a Lake Quivira attorney involved in the lawsuit.

John Calvert? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We remember that name from the Kansas evolution hearings back in 2005. Wikipedia lists him among the participants and says:

John Calvert – Lawyer who has worked closely with the Discovery Institute in finding constitutionally allowable ways to bring intelligent design and failing there, Teach the Controversy, into public schools. Managing Director of Intelligent Design network, inc., an organization that seeks intelligent design taught in public education.

[Addendum: We just realized we once posted about one of Calvert’s essays, which was published in WorldNetDaily: WorldNetDaily: Cognitive Blowout!]

So he’s back in action. This is exciting! Moving along:

Joshua Rosenau, programs and policy director for the Oakland, Calif.-based National Center for Science Education, said Calvert has been making such an argument for years and “no one in the legal community has put much stock in it.”

“They’re trying to say anything that’s not promoting their religion is promoting some other religion,” Rosenau said, dismissing the argument as “silly.”

Fox News is scrupulously presenting both sides. Here’s another excerpt:

Calvert said the new standards are particularly troubling because students would start learning evolutionary concepts in kindergarten. “By the time you get into the third grade, you learn all the essential elements of Darwinian evolution,” Calvert said. “By the time you’re in middle school, you’re a Darwinist.”

How horrible! Moving on with the news story, Fox says this:

The information included in the lawsuit is reminiscent of material skeptical of evolution inserted at the urging of Calvert and other intelligent design proponents in science guidelines adopted by a conservative-led State Board of Education in 2005.

Ah yes, who can ever forget The Kansas Crazy Days. And now we come to the end:

Steven Case, director of the University of Kansas’ science education center, said previous court rulings suggest that the new lawsuit “won’t hold up.”

This is about as frivolous as lawsuits get,” Case said.

So there you are. Kansas creationism is back in the news. Your Curmudgeon is pleased.

Addendum: The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has a new post about this — see Anti-NGSS lawsuit filed in Kansas.

They provide a link to the plaintiffs’ complaint — it’s a 51-page pdf file: COPE et al. v. Kansas State Board of Education et al.. COPE, the lead plaintiff’s initials, stands for “Citizens for Objective Public Education.”

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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20 responses to “Kansas Creationism: It’s Back Again

  1. That’s right, Calvert, by the time they get to middle school, they’ll have the scientific facts. What they learn at home or in church is not on the table.

  2. Our Curmudgeon sounds like a happy bunny:

    Kansas creationism is back in the news. Your Curmudgeon is pleased.

    And–don’t forget–this coming Monday, 30 September–is the deadline laid down in the DI’s ultimatum on Ball State University!

    Will John West huff and puff and blow their house down? Will Klingy foam at the mouth and snap at the ankles of the Board of Trustees? Will Luskin hurl more gerbil droppings in their general direction? Don’t miss next Monday’s thrilling episode of Daze of Our Lies!

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    Is this a valid ID argument: “life is a creation made for a purpose”? That sounds fully religious and besides the point. And if you want to get fussy, Christianity doesn’t really give us a greater purpose anyway.

  4. Cagey Bluffkin gripes:

    “The NGSS are ardently pro-Darwin-only, and would withhold from students any information about the scientific weaknesses in Darwinian theory.”

    I’ve touched on the point that follows before in these pages. A scientific theory doesn’t die because it’s too full of holes; it dies through being superseded by another that is scientifically superior in terms of its scope, explanatory/predictive power, evidence supporting it, testability, concordance with other theories, and more. This applies to scientific theories, of which the neo-Darwinian synthesis is one, but the situation is different with hypotheses. So Clunkin’ is being either especially obtuse or consciously misleading on this issue. Could it be — Gasp! Shock! Horror! — that he and his co-Discoverrhoids don’t actually have anything that is scientifically superior!?

    Cagey Bluffkin bleats:

    “[L]eading groups skeptical of modern Darwinian theory (including Discovery Institute) were excluded from the NGSS drafting process…”

    Well yes, see, being excluded is what typically happens when you have no standing. Scientific standing in this case. We should maybe also take, say, the chunter of self-styled psychics into account when drafting emergency rescue plans, yes?

  5. “The parents say they’re Christians who want to instill a belief in their children that “life is a creation made for a purpose.”

    So they begin by stating the whole purpose of their suit is based on their religious beliefs and it has nothing to do with science. Will they find a sympathetic judge to hear their case?

  6. Calvert said the new standards are particularly troubling because students would start learning evolutionary concepts in kindergarten. “By the time you get into the third grade, you learn all the essential elements of Darwinian evolution,” Calvert said. “By the time you’re in middle school, you’re a Darwinist.

    Ummmmmm, sweet?

  7. Did you ever notice the anti-evolutionists’ obsession with Darwin is matched only by religious fundamentalists’ obsession with homosexuality?

  8. “By the time you get into the third grade, you learn all the essential elements of Darwinian evolution,”

    The Discoveroids are correct to object to this. 7 (I don’t know how third graders are) year olds understanding evolution better than then would be an embarrassment. They may have to start updating their blogs debating with these kids as adults don’t take them seriously anymore.

  9. I just added this addendum to the original post:

    The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has a new post about this — see Anti-NGSS lawsuit filed in Kansas.

    They provide a link to the plaintiffs’ complaint — it’s a 51-page pdf file: COPE et al. v. Kansas State Board of Education et al.. COPE, the lead plaintiff’s initials, stands for “Citizens for Objective Public Education.”

  10. Colorado (well, at least, Montrose County) looks like its warming up to follow Kansas’ shining lead: From creationism to kindergarten:

    Curricula change over time, said Jessica Crane, a candidate for District E, in response to a league-asked question. Creationism should be part of the district’s curriculum, she said. “I think it’s part of science.”

    Aaaaarrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh!!!

  11. Cheryl Shepherd-Adams

    ugh

  12. Mark G. writes>”Did you ever notice the anti-evolutionists’ obsession with Darwin is matched only by religious fundamentalists’ obsession with homosexuality?”

    I can’t help being fascinated with science. I was born this way.

  13. Here is John Calvert, JD, himself, in a video by Aron Ra; there are a few brief moments of him and Aron in roundtable discussion.

    He apparently calls himself a geologist. He is a corporate finance lawyer with a bachelor’s degree in geology.

    He also appeared in the film Kansas vs. Darwin. Some quotes:

    Calvert: “It becomes a godless conspiracy when a community of people will not allow it to be challenged.”

    …Calvert: “It’s about religious discrimination, and the issue. Sure, and I admit it over and over again, this is about religion.

    Interviewer: Do you think Christians are being discriminated against?

    Calvert: “Yes! When science selectively suppresses evidence that supports their theistic beliefs.

    On the Kansas school board was Connie Morris, who wrote about her youth as a high school slut, before being saved, in From the Darkness: One Woman’s Rise to Nobility.

    Connie Morris: I’m proud of Mr. Calvert and the crew that he put together for this presentation [for the Kansas Kangaroo court of 2005] and this diversity and expertise.

  14. If the article appears objective for Fox News, note that it came from Associated Press.

  15. I added this addendum to the original post:

    We just realized we once posted about one of Calvert’s essays, which was published in WorldNetDaily: WorldNetDaily: Cognitive Blowout!

  16. Calvert and his IDN compare Evolutionists to Nazis:

    “My wife and I just returned from a trip to Belgium. We visited Bastogne where a few brave Americans of the 101st Airborne Division were surrounded by the German Army during the battle of the bulge. The German attack was led by a crack SS unit that took no prisoners. What were we fighting against in Bastogne? We were fighting against a Nazi regime that used the philosophy of Naturalism to justify a eugenics program of terrifying proportions.”

  17. Calvert lied and called himself a geologist at the 2005 Kansas kangaroo court. From Slate magazine, May 11, 2005 1999, by William Saletan:

    A lawyer named John Calvert testified, “Being a geologist, I find no fault with most geologic estimates concerning the age of the earth and the times at which various stages of life appear to have come into being. I am not a creationist as that term is frequently used in the press and by the scientific community to describe one who believes in a literal and narrow interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2. However, I do believe that life has resulted from design rather than by chance.”

  18. The parents say they’re Christians who want to instill a belief in their children that “life is a creation made for a purpose.”

    Then do what most the parents who accept evolution do – teach them evolution and that life was created for a purpose. Unless you believe in a creator that encourages bearing false witness. Then go ahead and misrepresent evolution and/or teach creationism/ID.

  19. Curm, thanks for fixing the quote.

    Errata: I was wrong about the date of the “geologist” quote– it was 1999, not 2005.

  20. “By the time you get into the third grade, you learn all the essential elements of Darwinian evolution,” Calvert said.

    Not only that, but if taught by the materialist, rationalist, scientist types, they will have also learned that germs (not demons) cause disease, that lightning is an electrical phenomenon (not Zeus’ thunderbolt), that stars are like the sun, but farther away (instead of astrological “data”), ad infinitum. I think Calvert instinctively knows that creationism fits well with demon possession, Greek mythology, and astrology; not so well with modern science.