Kansas Creationists Threaten Evolution-AGAIN!

Revolution #002, May 15, 2005, posted at

Dear Revolution,

Here they go again!

I certainly don’t believe in resurrection, but the "Living Dead" are coming back to life in Kansas. The Kansas State Board of Education, is once again moving to teach religion in science classes—as if religion were some "alternate scientific" explanation of the reality that life evolved on this planet. This is nothing but an attempt to deprive a generation of students of an understanding of science, and to actually blind new generations to well known, well established scientific facts, and the scientific method of understanding reality. Where will this leave students? Where will this leave society as a whole?

Only a few years ago these same anti-evolution forces were voted out of their position of power on the Kansas Board, after that Board had passed, in the late 1990s, similar "standards" for "education" in that state. But they have systematically worked to get back into position, and are now poised to gut the scientific teaching of evolution in Kansas—and in fact to demolish the foundations of real science education in that state. Similar forces are working nationwide—on the same medieval mission. Their Kansas "come back" is due to well organized anti-science forces who are backed from the highest levels in U.S. society. President Bush—who claims to be on a mission from God—has said that "the jury is still out" on evolution. And this has given a green light to little brigades of religious lunatics around the country to wreck scientific education. Now these forces are holding a kangaroo court in Kansas—to denounce evolution as dogmatic and "just a theory."

Never mind that evolution is among the most well established scientific facts ever, reinforced from scientific findings in many fields—from fossil evidence to genetics, to geology and more. No scientific evidence against the theory of evolution has ever been discovered in over a century of work in many fields since Darwin put forward the basic foundation of the theory of evolution. And evolution is foundational, not only for biology, but, to a significant degree, for other modern sciences as well.

To get a sense of the sweeping anti-science agenda at work here, one has only to note that the first Kansas board of education decision, back in 1998, did not stop at removing important aspects of biological evolution from their science standards. That same 1998 Board decision also eliminated statements mandating that Kansas students study the evidence that the earth is much older than 10,000 years, the theory of plate tectonics (the motion of the earth’s crust) and the Big Bang. The 1998 decision led to such outrage that those Board members were voted out, and their rules overturned; but now the "Flat Earthers" are back in charge and poised to attack evolution again.

While posing as "scientific experts" these forces do not include any real biologists, and the ones providing "evidence" now to the board are, according to their own statements, motivated by religious conversion and conviction. These witnesses present no scientific evidence against evolution. What is this doing in the class rooms supposedly devoted to teaching science?

The Killing of Science in the Name of Openmindedness

A New York Times reporter described the current Kansas board hearing: "Even as they described their own questioning of evolution as triggered by religious conversion, the experts testifying Thursday avoided mention of a divine creator, instead painting their positions as simply one of open mindedness, arguing that Darwinism had become a dogma."

Their method has been to throw up "doubts," which are not based in the scientific method of examining reality, testing theories repeatedly, from many angles and in the course of evidence-based debate and review among scientists. Instead they challenge science with statements like, "I know design when I see it," to argue for "a designer" vs. all the facts of evolution. And, in this profoundly unscientific way, they fight against the "dominance" of evolutionary theory. Doubt and arguments about "fairness"— devoid of scientific content—is good for knocking down the door. And once that door is knocked down, the program and outlook driving all this is not "critical thinking" or "fairness," but a plan to replace science, and the scientific method of thinking, with religious dogma about "creation."

The current battering ram for religious creationism entering into science classrooms, including in these Kansas hearings, is called "intelligent design." This theory, which is not established by any scientific evidence has been well exposed by many scientists and, in fact, has almost no acceptance among biologists and scientists in related fields. People can read an extensive refutation of "Intelligent Design" in the series "The Science of Evolution" by Ardea Skybreak (part 7e). (This amazing series appeared in #1220 and #1221 of the Revolutionary Worker newspaper and is available online at

The school board is now proposing that the very definition of science in the Kansas standards be changed from "seeking natural explanations of what we observe around us" to "continuing investigation that uses observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena." The words may be foggy, but the clear intent of this change is to "leave open" the idea that something other than science may explain "natural phenomena." Their method is to pry open the door with claims that the scientific method is rigid and let real dogma run amok. This has zero to do with "openness" in the classroom.

What are the stakes of this move by the Kansas School Board? All the promise and wonder of the scientific method would be driven down under a mountain of religious gibberish—and down, too, will go the right and ability of students to understand science as a consistent and emancipating way of deepening our understanding of reality. And this whole assault on science is part of a very dangerous, theocratic program of powerful forces in this society, who seek to dominate both in political power and in the way people are taught to think in this society.

Efforts like this are underway right now in 20 states. It is way past time to strip these ghouls of their disguise, and put a stop to their plans.

Science Alert: Kansas School Board Hearings

The Kansas State Board of Education has called six days of committee hearings on May 5-7 and 12-14 to revise the state’s science education standards. In June, the Board is expected to adopt state standards requiring that the theory of evolution be challenged in science classrooms with creationist theories that have no basis in science.

Earlier this year, a "science standards writing committee" of scientists and educators, which was appointed by this same Kansas Board, had approved science education standards that included the teaching of evolution — and not creationist theories. But the creationist authorities who dominate the Board are still determined to override this and ram through science education standards that include creationism and require challenges to evolution.

And, in an attempt to legitimize the decision they plan to make in June, these forces on the Board have called this month’s hearings. At the hearings, there are no standards of professional qualification for "expert witnesses."

In opposition to this anti-scientific move by the School Board, the Kansas Academy of Science, Kansas Citizens For Science, Kansas Families United for Public Education, and the MAINstream Coalition issued a statement that said, "We reject the show-trial hearings, whose purpose is to make it appear that Intelligent Design creationism and the well-established science of evolution are on equal footing."

These Kansas organizations have called for scientists around the country to boycott the hearings. As we go to press, the Kansas Board of Education has failed to find a single evolutionary biologist willing to participate in the hearings.