Saturday, April 29, 2006


A funny thing happened on the way to the forum

A funny thing happened to RSR on the way to the 3rd District School Board candidates forum the other night. As we entered Shawnee Mission West High School, a man standing near the entrance handed us two pieces of literature.

We noticed there were people stationed at the other entrance handing out the same two pieces. They were also available, lying side-by-side, on a table in the lobby outside the auditorium where the forum was held.

One of the pieces was an expensively printed four page, four color brochure titled, "FAQ About the New Kansas Science Standards." It gives no clue as to who printed it, but it does refer readers to the Kansas Department of Education and the Kansas Science 2005 websites.

Kansas Science 2005, the site tells us "reflects the work of eight of 25 members of the Kansas Science Writing Committee appointed in 2004 by the Kansas State Board of Education." They are the authors, it goes on to say, "of the Proposed Revisions to the Kansas Science Standards. The bulk of their proposals were made a part of Science Standards adopted by a vote of the State Board of Education on November 8, 2005."

The website doesn't tell us that the eight are all supporters of intelligent design led by the ID Network's John Calvert and William Harris.

The FAQ distributed at the candidate forum is prominently reproduced on the Kansas Science 2005 site in PDF.

Here's one of the FAQs and the answer:
Q: Do the changes seek to criticize evolution to advance religion?
A: No. They seek to eliminate rather than advance a religious bias that permeated the old standards.

The other piece of literature handed to me by the man at the door was titled "Faith and Values." It reproduces an article written by the Rev. Larry Taylor titled, "Exposing the fallacies of theistic evolution."

The Rev. Taylor writes that "a growing number of Christians are identifying with "theistic evolution" and that a critical analysis is long overdue. Opposed to modern evolutionary science, or Darwinism, he writes, is "Theism, the belief in a personal God who created the universe; One who transcends, yet is immanent in it. An involved God that has, and is still intervening."

"It makes no sense to assume that a God intelligent enough to manipulate the natural laws of the universe would intentionally make the task unnecessarily difficult and uncertain by using blind evolutionary processes as his creative tool." Rev. Taylor goes on to say, "Another problem with the theistic evolutionary view is the doubt it instills in the authority and authenticity of the Bible."

In other words, there is a battle between Christians, according to Rev. Taylor, over the meaning of the Bible, what Christians can know about God's intentions, how he makes things happen, and whether or not God might have used evolution to accomplish his goals.

The FAQ's assertion that the new science standards adopted in Kansas "seek to eliminate rather than advance religious bias" can't be taken seriously. Certainly, the folks handing out the literature at the candidate forum didn't take it seriously.

The standards were written with one thing -- and only one thing -- in mind. They were written to gain the upper hand in a debate between Christians by teaching students fundamentalist theology based on a literalist interpretation of the Bible to students attending public schools.


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