evolution in KS

Doug Yanega dyanega at pop.ucr.edu
Tue Aug 17 21:13:08 EDT 1999

As much as I hate these threads, there are limits to how long I'll ignore them.

Mark Walker said:

> But then I'm sure you really mean to practice what you preach - and that you
> would in fact embrace the co-teaching of the science of creationism in
> schools along with the theories involving evolution.  Maybe we can co-author
> a petition to the Kansas State Board of Education - along with the other 49
> states?

There is no reason to confuse children with religious views of nature *in
our schools*, and if there were, there are LOTS of other views besides
creationism which are of equal or even greater logical merit; creationism
deserves no preferential treatment. Give me a purely objective reason why,
were we to allow for ONE faith-based belief system in the curriculum, we
should not also instruct students in how animism, paganism, buddhism,
judaism, hinduism, greek mythology, and every OTHER faith-based belief
system perceive and interpret the workings of the natural world, and their
theories of human origin. Now tell me whether you honestly believe we would
be able to accommodate ALL these alternative views and STILL educate our
students. The idea is preposterous, and you are not prepared for the
consequences of that sort of "objectivity". How would you feel if the
Kansas B of E had decided that reincarnation was a valid alternative view,
and accordingly banned all consumption of meat and wearing of
animal-product clothing on school property, in addition to banning labs
involving live animals? If you think creationism is the ONLY alternative
worth presenting to students out of all the possibilities, then you are a
hypocrite pushing a personal religious agenda, plain and simple, and can't
even pretend to be demanding academic integrity and "balance".
        Sadly, "Creation Scientists" are one of many groups of people who
fabricate "facts" and distort the truth, and pandering to them by offering
their views as if they were genuine alternatives is not going to help. It
is NO different than suggesting that we quote racist hate literature in the
classroom and tell students THEY have to decide whether or not to buy into
that alternative worldview - which, naturally, comes with its own massive
set of "facts" to offer support for its views, each one put forth as
unassailable truth. Do you really believe we need to expose our children to
every form of unsubstantiated propaganda in order for their education to be
complete and balanced?
        If you admit that there would have to be some objective criterion
for deciding what DOES qualify as a "fact", and that only things which meet
this criterion should be taught in our schools, then creationism would be
eliminated from consideration for the school curriculum just as quickly as
racism, while evolution would be left unscathed. And guess what? That's the
way it is in many countries in the world! Even some places within the US!
But not in Kansas...


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California - Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521
phone: (909) 787-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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