RE: Darkness spreads over Kansas

Pim van Meurs (
Thu, 12 Aug 1999 08:43:01 -0700

It's indeed sad to see how YEC'ers are willing to sacrifice the future of their youth just because their own faith disagrees with reality. It did not work in the dark ages, it will not work now.

From: Susan Brassfield[]
Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 1999 1:15 PM
Subject: Darkness spreads over Kansas

The forces of ignorance who wish to establish a state religion have won a
round in Kansas today. The new school board curriculum trashes the 1st
Amendment in more ways than establishment and I doubt it will stand, but
the people whose dearest wish is to keep Oklahoma in the Dark Ages will
almost certainly jump on the bandwagon.

Well, Pim, is it time I bought my plane ticket to Amsterdam? :-)



Wednesday August 11 1:53 PM ET

Kansas Board Votes To Bar Evolution From

By Carey Gillam

TOPEKA, Kan. (Reuters) - The Kansas Board of Education rejected evolution as a
scientific principle Wednesday, dealing a victory to religious
conservatives who
are increasingly challenging science education in U.S. schools.

The 10-member board, ignoring pleas by educators and established scientists,
voted six to four to embrace new standards for science curricula that eliminate
evolution as an underlying principle of biology and other sciences.

``Evolution has been removed,'' board member Janet Waugh, who opposed the
new standard, said in a packed conference room near the state capitol.
``Instead of
Kansas' curriculum having more and more credibility, it will have less and

The board voted on a modified version of curriculum guidelines for grades
kindergarten through high school that eliminates evolution as a way to describe
the emergence of new species -- for instance the evolution of primates into
sapiens -- while leaving intact references to ''microevolution,'' or
changes that
occur within a single species.

The theory of evolution was developed by 19th-century British scientist Charles
Darwin. His discoveries were famously argued in the 1925 ``Scopes Monkey
in which the state of Tennessee put teacher John Thomas Scopes on trial for
knowingly infringing a law banning the teaching of evolution.

Defended by prominent trial attorney Clarence Darrow, Scopes was convicted and
fined the minimum $100 but the verdict was reversed on a technicality by the
state Supreme Court.

Prior to Wednesday's vote, the presidents of Kansas' six public
universities wrote
a letter saying the new standards ''will set Kansas back a century and give
hard-to-find science teachers no choice but to pursue other career fields or
assignments outside of Kansas.

``The argument that teaching evolution will destroy a student's faith in
God is no
more true today than it was during the Scopes trial in 1925,'' the letter said.

Banning evolution from the classroom gave conservative forces a victory after
previous attempts to eliminate evolution in states including Alabama, Arizona,
Georgia and Nebraska.

Religious groups have argued that evolution cannot be proven, and some feel
evolution is not in accordance with Biblical teachings regarding the
origins of life.

Teaching evolution misleads students, said Tom Willis, director of the Creation
Science Association for Mid-America, which helped write Kansas' curriculum

``It's deception,'' Willis said prior to the vote. ``You can't go into the
laboratory or
the field and make the first fish. When you tell students that science has
determined (evolution to be true), you're deceiving them.''

Dozens of books have been published in the past two decades challenging the
validity of evolution, bearing titles such as ''The Facts of Life:
Shattering the
Myths of Darwinism,'' and ''The Neck of the Giraffe: Where Darwin Went Wrong.''

In Kansas, a 27-member state science committee spent a year writing the new
curriculum standards for elementary and high school students that were based
on national education standards and included evolution.

But this spring, a school board member introduced a competing proposal to
remove evolution theories from classrooms. The board deadlocked over the
matter in May, and the issue has since roiled political circles and
prompted angry

Kansas Gov. Bill Graves, a Republican, warned board members not to adopt the
anti-evolution curriculum, and has said he would support an effort to
abolish the
Board of Education.

``It's frustrating and it makes me angry,'' said Steve Case, a member of
the state
science committee and a University of Kansas instructor. ``There is potentially
great damage that can be done to students in Kansas.''

Prior attempts by religious groups to include ``creation science,'' or
in school curricula included a failed attempt in Arkansas to require that it be
taught alongside evolution.

In 1982, an Arkansas federal judge overturned the law, ruling it violated the
constitutional clause barring the establishment of religion by the state.
He said
that creation science was not a valid science, had no secular educational
but served only to promote religion. A similar law in Louisiana was struck down
later the same year.


"Life itself is the proper binge."
--Julia Child