Kansas Evolution Battle Heats Up Again
Update 08/02/2006: According to a news report on Live Science, conservatives have lost their majority in the primary election for seats on the state school board. Details are reported by the Lawrence Journal-World. The winners are gloating that this is a great day for Kansas, said Science Now, but ended by noting that the issue will not be going away. For reaction from the pro-standards side, see Evolution News and article by David Klinghoffer in National Review.
The Kansas state science standards approved last November and again in February specifically exclude intelligent design from being taught and allow no mention of supernatural explanations in the science classroom. They only allow for scientific criticisms of evolution to be included whenever evolutionary theory is taught. It wouldn’t appear this is something worth a war, but the pro-evolutionists and anti-evolutionists are in battle again, trying to win votes on the state school board in Tuesday’s primary (see MSNBC News).
In one arena, there is the battle of the websites. The pro-evolution group Kansas Citizens for Science, which Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute calls the “Kansas Citizens for Misrepresenting the Kansas Science Standards” maintains its list of links, FAQs and articles, and on the pro-standards side, the Discovery Institute has launched a website and radio commercial campaign called Stand Up for Science urging citizens to sign a petition in support of the standards.
In the lecture arena, Kansas University is sponsoring a lecture series this fall to “dialogue” about the issues. According to the Lawrence Journal-World, John Calvert, leader of the Intelligent Design Network, considers the panel one-sided, with Michael Behe the only pro-ID representative. Calvert considers the series little more than propaganda. The article states, “Calvert prefers debates and one-on-one discussions, which he says bring focus to specific issues and enable audiences to see all sides of an issue.”
In the political arena, evolution’s backers are staging a counterattack, according to the New York Times. The issue of how to teach evolution has become a wedge dividing the citizens scheduled to vote in a primary election for the school board tomorrow (Tues. Aug 2). Democrats and “moderate Republicans” are seeking to unseat the 6-4 conservative majority that approved the standards. Dr. Steve Abrams, leader of the majority, denies that the opposition candidates, like Harry McDonald, who is out knocking on doors to get votes, are moderates. Jonathan Witt on Evolution News considers this an example of Newspeak. If the conservative majority loses its hold, however, the “moderates” and liberals will dominate the school board once again, and one of the first things on their agenda will most likely be to reverse the new science standards. Peter Slevin said as much in the Washington Post August 1. The arguments on both sides may be over the heads of many Kansans who may vote whichever way will get the state out of the political cartoons.
We have come to a place in this country where misinformation is rampant, and where Darwinism has become such a sacred cow that to even give the slightest hint or suggestion that his theory might have some weaknesses is to invite a firestorm of anti-religious rhetoric. Listen to the radio spots. Is there something wrong with wanting students to hear both sides of a controversial theory? How can anyone possibly object to that? What drives the pro-evolution forces into such a panic when their sacred cow gets a USDA inspection? Does any scientist act this way over other honest investigation of strengths and weaknesses of other theories, like quantum mechanics or dark matter? As Jonathan Witt wrote for World Net Daily, what are Darwinists so afraid of?
The reason for the panic is that Darwinism is much more than a hypothesis about how species change over time. It is a complete worldview package. With its built-in relativism and purposelessness, it makes man the master of individual life and society. Liberals love this, and they loathe the alternative. What they don’t realize is that by embracing the assumptions of unguided evolutionism, they have undercut the very foundations for reason, logic, and science altogether. Promoting Darwinism with logic and reason is like getting high on drugs stolen from an intelligently designed pharmaceutical lab. Logic and reason were not meant to support a selfish habit that denies the existence of reason. It feels great on the trip, till the withdrawal hits and reality sets in. And you know how paranoid and irrational addicts can be.
Now that the Kansas seesaw has tilted back again to the “moderates” (read: radical Darwin maniacs), it will be fun to watch them having to tell us why evolutionism is so fragile it is the only scientific theory that must be protected from the light.