Kansas official bemoans lack of respect for religion, pooh-poohs centuries of scientific knowledge

Kan. official wants evolution concerns considered

People who question evolution shouldn’t be treated as “crackpots,” and their concerns should be addressed seriously as states consider new science standards for public schools, an elected Kansas official said Tuesday during a preliminary discussion about the work on new guidelines.

Ken Willard, a member of the Kansas State Board of Education, described a draft of proposed science standards as “flawed” because of how it treats evolution. Kansas, 25 other states and the National Research Council are developing common science standards for possible adoption for their schools and the draft, made public last month, describes evolution as a well-founded, core scientific concept.

Willard, a Hutchinson Republican, distributed a nine-page letter criticizing the draft multistate standards from the group Citizens for Objective Public Education Inc., which lists officers in Florida and Kansas. The letter suggested that the draft standards ignore evidence against evolution, don’t respect religious diversity and promote secular humanism, which precludes God or another supreme being in considering how the universe works.

“I hope that it will be taken seriously and not as just information from a bunch of crackpots,” Willard said. “Anybody who deigns to take a questioning position regarding anything to do with evolution is pretty well named to be a crackpot or a kook of some sort.”

Tip: CFI’s Morning Heresy

I’m going to have strongly disagree with Willard here. It is absurd to not teach science in science class. To promote a non-science that has a religious basis shows that he is not an advocate for teaching science. There is no evidence “against evolution”, there are bits that we aren’t quite sure how they work. But we know that life evolves. Mr. Williard does not want to understand evolution (or U.S. case law, apparently), he wants to demonize it in the name of his religious beliefs. He decries respect for religious diversity (which has no place in science class, obviously) while completely ignoring the milestones in biology, genetics and palaeontology that have contributed to our understanding of life on earth. To deny children that education is selfish and pathetic. Want religious diversity? Start a World Religions class. I’m all for it.

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  13 comments for “Kansas official bemoans lack of respect for religion, pooh-poohs centuries of scientific knowledge

  1. Fastmover01
    June 13, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Our society has filters built-in to make sure this type of ignorance doesn’t slip through, though in regards to politics I see a glaring hole. I think we need to field a candidate that uses the purple spaghetti monster as his basis for his beliefs. But then the irony would be lost on the masses. I truly am hurting inside for American politics.

    • Fastmover01
      June 13, 2012 at 3:43 PM

      *his/her*

  2. LREKing
    June 13, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Calling evolution deniers “crackpots” just makes them resist that much harder.

    A better way to fight this seemingly endless battle would be to sit down with these people and explain what the theory of evolution is and present the evidence that the theory is sound.

    Dollars to doughnuts most of these people do not really understand it–only some distorted version as presented by other deniers.

    • LREKing
      June 13, 2012 at 4:26 PM

      Should have said “Treating evolution deniers as crackpots…” since the only one actually referring to them as crackpots is Ken Willard himself.

  3. Kevin Morgan
    June 13, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    How about teaching the controversy in religious classes? Could you see a nun having to tell her class after talking about Jesus walking on water that “of course, much of the world disagrees with this and believes it to be a fictional story, plus the physics of walking on water make it highly unlikely it could ever have happened…”

    I can hear the religious right heads exploding from here!

    • Fastmover01
      June 13, 2012 at 5:38 PM

      Until someone brings up water-walking bugs…then all hell breaks loose.

      • LREKing
        June 14, 2012 at 11:23 AM

        So…if Jesus weighs the same as a water-walking bug…then…

        • Bob Jase
          June 14, 2012 at 3:20 PM

          He’s made of a tiny piece of wood.

          • LREKing
            June 15, 2012 at 11:47 AM

            And therefore…?

  4. Moose McNuggets
    June 13, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Of all places to live and simultaneously deny evolution, Kansas has got to be one of the most absurd from which to take this stand. Give the man a shovel and tell him to dig anywhere in Kansas he wishes. It won’t take him long to find plenty of fossil evidence proving he’s wrong.

  5. LREKing
    June 14, 2012 at 11:22 AM

    He will tell you with a straight face that God put those fossils there when He created the earth.

  6. Bob Jase
    June 14, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    “The letter suggested that the draft standards ignore evidence against evolution, don’t respect religious diversity ”

    Since when is repecting superstition a scientific priority?

    As to scientific evidence against evolutionby all means bring it on but don’t show me a collection of bronze-age myths and claim its science.

  7. July 13, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    Peculiar article, just what I was looking for.

Comments are closed.