Kansas NGSS Case — It’s Back!

At the start of December we wrote Kansas NGSS Case — Dismissed! That was about a suit filed in the US District Court in Topeka, Kansas to bar the state from implementing the evolution-friendly Next Generation Science Standards (the “NGSS”). The lead creationist plaintiff has the Orwellian name of “Citizens for Objective Public Education, Inc.” (COPE).

Among the lawyers for the plaintiffs is John Calvert, who made a name for himself during the Kansas evolution hearings back in 2005. Wikipedia lists him among the participants and says that he “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.”

Because of the dismissal, we left the Kansas case out when we posted Thrills That Await Us in 2015, in which we listed the unresolved court cases we were following. Now we’ll have to add a correction to that post. Here’s why:

In the Emporia Gazette of Emporia, Kansas we just found this headline: Critics of Kansas science standards appeal ruling. It’s an Associated Press story, so we can’t excerpt much of it. Phooey on them! We don’t need to excerpt anything — the headline tells the tale.

The appeal process usually takes a long time, and there probably won’t be any news about the case until it’s over. Meanwhile, you feel the need to check things out for yourself, our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have been archiving the pleadings here: COPE v. Kansas State BOE. We always like to call your attention to “Exhibit A” attached to the complaint, which starts at page 37. It’s an astounding collection of mind-numbing creationist arguments.

Also, you can find generalized links to information at the Justia website: COPE et al v. Kansas State Board of Education et al, but you can’t access the court’s docket, which lists what’s been filed, nor can you read the pleadings without a PACER subscription. No problem — NCSE does it for you.

But you don’t need to bother with any of that that. Your Curmudgeon is on the job, and we’ll be watching.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “Kansas NGSS Case — It’s Back!

  1. I’d never perused the original complaint before. So I’ll summarize for those who don’t want to wade through it (starting on page 37, as SC said):
    1) We’re a bunch of religious fundamentalists. We will not compromise. You are either for our religion, or against it!.
    2) Atheism is a religion.
    3) These standards promote atheism, which is a religion (see #2, above).
    4) Ditto #3, above.
    5) It’s the micro-macro mambo! (Everybody MAMBOOOOO!)
    6) a) Fine-tuning argument.
    b) There be information in them thar DNA!
    c) Ditto 6b above.
    d) It doesn’t explain how life came to be, hence OOGITY-BOOGITY!
    e) Michael Behe and irreducible complexity, COME ON DOWN!
    f) It’s the micro-macro mambo again.
    g) Ya know, we didn’t talk enough about irreducible complexity, so let’s do it again!
    h) We’ve still not talked enough about irreducible complexity, so let’s talk about it some more, mmm-kay?
    7) Hey, ya know, all of those science-y terms don’t fit our needs, so let’s redefine them to fit our purposes. Specifically, let’s explain the steps of the micro-macro mambo so that everyone with a Bible clearly understands the “micro” vs the “macro” part. The people with actual science degrees won’t understand, but that’s okay. This isn’t for them, anyway.
    8) Our ability to properly indoctrinate our children is being violated here, hence this is a 1st Amendment violation. It’s clear that our guiding principles are so weak and esoteric that the 1 – 2 hours a week that students will have with these new standards will positively overwhelm the remaining 166 – 167 hours in the week we have with them.
    9) Religion should be a protected group. We’re being harassed, and this violates our rights.
    10) The committee who developed this group was obviously not of our specific religion. Therefore, we don’t like them.
    11) See #8 above.
    12) See #11 above.
    13) Because our specific “viewpoint” is not accounted for in the science standards, despite the fact that it has no verifiable evidence or any of that other science-y stuff, we’re being discriminated against. Without our viewpoint that is already pre-determined before we even get started, how will science progress?
    14) It’s BIG BROTHER!
    15) For some strange reason, when they developed these standards, they ask known science institutions. They didn’t ask anyone at the Discovery Institute or Answers in Genesis. This is clear and flagrant bias against these… institutions. Where’s the open-minded-ness? They could actually publish a real peer-reviewed paper any millenia now!

  2. 8) Even our kids won’t believe this nonsense!

  3. After reading Gary’s excellent summary of plaintiffs’ Exhibit “A”, I was intrigued enough to take a closer gander.

    Wow, the folks at COPE must have a very low regard for their judges’ intellect.

  4. I love this gem!

    “The F&S omit to include a standard that will cause students to know and understand that historical science seeks to test historical narratives or explanations through the use of abductive reasoning that seeks an inference to the best of the competing alternatives by a weighing of all of the available evidence and that the materialistic/atheistic explanations of unguided evolution students are to learn pursuant to the F&S have not been tested through the use of that method as an Orthodoxy is employed that precludes consideration of the evidence-based competing teleological alternative.”

    It’s incredible!

    historical science
    abductive reasoning
    inference
    all of the available evidence
    materialistic/atheistic
    unguided evolution
    Orthodoxy [capitalized to show importance]
    evidence-based
    teleological alternative

    All the creationist buzzwords you could shake a stick at in a single sentence! Beautiful, just beautiful!

  5. Thanks for spotting this. There aren’t any interesting new documents on PACER yet, but when the briefs are filed, they’ll be posted at http://ncse.com/legal/cope-v-kansas-state-boe

  6. That’ll take a few months, Glenn. There probably won’t be anything else in the news, unless one side or the other gets something published in the press.

  7. Gary’s point 8 probably underestimates the problem. Although most high school biology texts have a chapter about evolution, I think most high school biology teachers avoid talking about it, either because they don’t know much about it or because they’re afraid of the ignorant parents’ reactions. So most high school biology students are lucky to get one or two hours of lecture about evolution in the entire school year. Assuming the goddies interact with their kids 6 h*day^-1 (perhaps an overestimate), they have their full attention (?) for about 2200 h each year. No wonder it’s so hard to find people in the US who actually know anything about evolution!

  8. Stupidity never takes a day off.

  9. @abeastwood: Not quite so bad as that. According to the National Survey of High School Biology Teachers conducted by Michael Berkman, Julianna Sandell Pacheco, and Eric Plutzer in 2007, the average time devoted to evolution in a high school biology class is 13.7 hours.

  10. @Glenn Branch: Thanks, I was just guessing. Still, 14 h vs a couple thousand h — could some goddy please remind me which part of the alledeged controversy gets short shrift?

  11. I like SC’s take on the topic earlier when you actually have a skilled person versus a mystic investigating a problem. Seems the COPE people here are desperately wanting that mystic to teach their kids.

  12. COPE would just love having Jack Chick tracts used as supplemental texts in Kansas classrooms.

  13. SC wrote:
    The universe is what it is. It existed for billions of years without us, and it will exist for additional billions of years after we’re gone. Why would anyone think it’s all about us?

    But that’s the whole point these creationists are making, that for the miniscule fragment of time allocated to our lives, the universe was clearly designed only for our insignificant existance. So with this thinking, the universe did not exist before humans came about nor will it exist after the last human dies out, it will just cease to be. It’s all about us says Casey.

  14. The important thing about the fine tuning analogy (and it is only an analogy) is that it, like “common design”, “intelligent design”, “irreducible complexity”, “the Bible tells me so”, or “supernatural agency” – it tells us nothing about the way that the natural world is, rather than any of the vast numbers of ways that it could be.
    ISTM that any agency which is up to the task of determining things like the number of dimensions of space and time, and the validity of Schrodinger’s equation, etc., would find no difficulty in making life no matter what. And thus the existence of such an agency does not account for fine tuning.

  15. The really important thing is that the “fine tuning” argument puts the cart before the horse buy arguing that the universe was fine-tuned in order for us to exist, rather than that we exist because the universe is the way it is.

    Lurking below the surface of the creationists’ argument is the belief that we had to exist, that God would have failed if we had not.

    Of course, Genesis gives us the kind of God who, having created a universe, didn’t consider it complete until it contained creatures who could worship Him. In other words, not just a First Cause but a First Celebrity as well.

  16. winewithcats

    Wtf is “abductive reasoning”? I don’t believe that’s an actual thing.