Re: Kansas update

James Mahaffy (
Thu, 12 Aug 1999 11:28:01 -0500

Inge asked:
> could Ryan or someone just update a Norwegian who doesn't
> know much about the American school system.
> Does the decision imply that
>-no one can teach evolution in ANY elementary school and high school in
> Kansas anymore ?

No it was a compromise. It only means that it will no longer be assessed for on State exams and local districts and schools will be able to do what they want. It will mean that local parents will have a bit more pressure on local schools if they bother to try (which is not all bad). I have been listening to the responses on a list of biology educators, where one person suggested that you cold be a professional and a Christian and not be a flood geologists and still got slammed to imply that his Christianity could have anything to do with his science. It is sad to see that secularism is tied to the issue of science in the minds of many American educators. Most informative to me was a Wichita article posted to a paleontology list, that you might like to look at. It seems fairly well done.

-that evolution will be removed from the curriculum of every class (where evolution
has been taught before) in those schools ?

Not at all - see the article.

> Does this also imply that a modest teaching like "evolution is a theory that some/many
> scientists think fits the data well and may be a good explanation for how living things evolved"
> will not be allowed anymore in for example biology/science classes in any of the
> elementary and high schools in Kansas?

In fact I think most schools will at least do this. It probably means little will change but will raise a consciousness to the fact that a lot of folks in their schools have strong religious beliefs. The governor appears to not like the decision so who knows if it will stand.

I suspect most Christian High Schools (which are not under State Control) do this modest teaching (I know a number of Christian grade schools and High Schools in NW Iowa). You would not be responsible teaching biology to have students be aware and UNDERSTAND the theory of evolution - even if you do not believe in it (at least in the way it is often taught).

James Mahaffy ( Phone: 712 722-6279
Biology Department FAX : 712 722-1198
Dordt College, Sioux Center IA 51250