Ever since the State Board of Education in Kansas decided to mildly de-emphasize the teaching of evolution in its public schools, you would have thought that the sky had fallen in on this American state—if you were an evolutionist. The reactions of humanists in the state—and even worldwide (it became prominent news in Great Britain, for example)—were hysterical, in more ways than one.
While evolution remains in the state’s educational standards approved last August, the secular media have generally misreported what happened, writing things such as “evolution has been eliminated” or “banned” from the schools in Kansas. Actually, the word evolution appears in a few sections of the new standards. In fact, one school board member informed AiG that evolution is mentioned more than in the previous standards! However, because the final document did not promote evolution as a fact and did not adopt a science committee’s suggestion that evolution be mentioned more often, evolutionary activists chose to grossly misrepresent what really happened.
In other words, evolutionists see any infringement on their dogmatic assertion that evolution is fact as inherently creationist.
The creation/evolution issue has become a “hot potato” in Kansas as summer elections loom. An August primary will determine which board candidates will go on to the November 7 general election. Newspapers in Kansas are reporting that an activist science group, along with liberal-to-moderate political leaders, are targeting the board members for defeat who voted for the state’s new teaching standards. The Kansas City Star (May 14) reported that many observers are declaring that “the science standards will be the overriding issue in the races.” Political scientist Burdett Loomis of the University of Kansas was quoted by the Star as saying: “that’s the issue and almost nothing else.”
Board member and former chairman, Linda Holloway, who voted with the majority, said that she wished the state could go on to more pressing matters, such as phonics instruction and other academic questions. She recently, by the way, received the endorsement of U.S. Senator Sam Brownback in this year’s race.
Contrary to assertions made in some of the mainstream press, creationism was not adopted in the state’s science guidelines. You won’t find the word Creator, the Bible, etc. at all. But because the state standards omitted references to things like the big bang theory, which, by the way, is rejected by a significant number of evolutionists (as well as most creationists), critics see the approved guidelines as introducing creationism. We fail to see the logic here: you leave something out like the big bang, don’t put anything in its place, and declare that something has been added? In other words, evolutionists see any infringement on their dogmatic assertion that evolution is fact as inherently creationist.
Five of the ten state board of education positions will be voted on in November. Up for reelection this year are three board members who voted for the new standards—a fourth who voted with them is moving out of state. Two of the six who voted affirmatively last August face reelection in 2002.
For fascinating inside information surrounding the 1999 August decision by the state school board on the teaching of science in its public schools, read The Kansas Tornado, authored by Dr. Paul Ackerman.