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Kansas Agrees to Teach Science, Despite Arguments that Science is Evil

Kansas Agrees to Teach Science, Despite Arguments that Science is Evil

It’s not often that we get good news when it comes to science education here in Kansas. Frankly, I’m still reeling from our flirtation with pre-19th century thinking on evolution. (In 2007 we dispensed with that silliness. But oof. It still stings.) However, today I can come to you with good news. Last week, the Kansas State Board of Education passed some new science standards, and they are actually pretty good.

The science standards in question – known as the Next Generation Science Standards – are a collaborative effort of 26 states, Kansas included. In a nutshell, the NGSS is designed to let students do science, not just memorize facts. It gives students the opportunity to apply facts to specific circumstances, which leads to a deeper understanding of the topic.

A particularly noteworthy topic covered by the NGSS is climate change, a scientific fact that the Kansas legislature is all-too-keen to obscure and ignore.

The standards passed 8-2, with two conservative Republicans voting against it. One of those nay votes, Republican Ken Willard, thinks that, under the new standards, evolution and human-caused climate change will be, you know, taught like the facts that they are. According to the San Fransisco Chronicle:

“Both evolution and human cause of global climate change are presented in these standards dogmatically,” Willard said. “This nonobjective, unscientific approach to education standards amounts to little more than indoctrination in political correctness.”

It’s political correctness gone mad! The science standards are incorporating actual science! Schools are no place for dogma or unscientific drivel, says the creationist.

But that’s not all! These standards also promote the worst thing in the entire world: atheism.

During a public comment session Tuesday, Rex Powell, a retired Spring Hill business and organizational consultant, said the new standards promote “an atheistic world view.” Powell is a member of Citizens for Objective Public Education, which formed last year to contest the new standards.

“They are standards for religious indoctrination rather than objective science education,” Powell said.

Listen. Science is just another way for the devil to get inside your kids’ heads so he can turn the youth against Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Unless you’re not Christian to begin with, then you’re just wrong and need to learn to be Christian. Or something. The thing about science is that it’s amoral. It doesn’t have an opinion. It’s a method of understanding the world. In fact, it’s the best method we have. It’s yielded incredible results. Like my ability to type this post from my couch while watching Doctor Who on Netflix. We know it’s right because it works. Willard misunderstands this. According to the Topeka Capitol-Journal:

“These standards are very heavy on methodology and light on science knowledge,” he said.

Knowledge of science trivia means nothing without knowledge of the methodology. It’s not hard to understand. Sigh.

Even though there were a couple of haters, the NGSS passed overwhelmingly, which hopefully signals that we’re done with science denial. In addition, a group of Kansas parents called Climate Parents presented 2,500 signatures in support of the standards. I’ll admit, as a Kansas resident and science enthusiast, I’m buoyed.

Not every state is on the right path. Louisiana, for example, failed to repeal a law earlier this year that allowed for creationism to be taught in public schools.

However, some states have tried to infuse science denial into classrooms by legislative fiat, but failed. Oklahoma came perilously close to passing its own “academic freedom” bill, which, as Mother Jones put it, would allow students to “make untestable, faith-based claims in science classes without fear of receiving a poor mark.” Colorado also failed to advance a piece of science denying legislation. Other bills bit the dust in Arizona and Indiana.

All of these defeats are certainly encouraging, but we can’t get complacent. After all, the Creation Museum has added zip lines in the hopes of snagging up all the hip and with-it kids.

 

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170 comments

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5:18PM PDT on Aug 2, 2013

religion is a sad crutch that spreads hatred, bigotry, ignorance and violence. It should be dead, and maybe one day it will be. it is silly that adults with imaginary friends still have a say in any lawmaking or in education. Scary, in fact

2:46PM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

I am not anti science. I enjoy the benefits of Science and engineering. I used to believe in evolution until I decided to look at it critically.

Now I do not believe Creationism or intelligent Design should be taught in school they are religious based and that is illegal.

I lost my favorite dinosaur when I was a child. They took away my Brontosaurus. Maybe this abuse made me think that Scientist do not know everything and they are working with their best guess. After all dinosaurs are cold blooded reptiles? What they are not. But I was taught that was a fact. When I read the National Geographic on Darwin is right they mentioned over 80 % of the evidence is missing but they know what happened millions of years ago. Wait they used to say it was 4 billion then went to 4.5 billion now they are not so sure. Did not they just add a few hundred thousand years to the age of the universe.

But I am not supposed to doubt what the Scientist tell me. They all know everything and I am just supposed to accept what they say. Kind of like they are priests.

2:46AM PDT on Jun 28, 2013

I am always amazed at the superstitious ignorance that still exists in parts of the USA. Science is neither good nor evil, it explains the way things are. In the US Bible Belt religion is nothing other than evil, forcing centuried old middle eastern superstitions as "knowledge" or "truth". It is time these creationists grew up.

5:50PM PDT on Jun 24, 2013

Evolution and climate change are both very real, it amazes me when people are anti-science.

12:24PM PDT on Jun 24, 2013

seriously..why are people like this teaching

8:49PM PDT on Jun 23, 2013

I guess that those against science in Kansas, believe the world is flat, and the land of OZ is a real place.

7:15PM PDT on Jun 23, 2013

Science is not evil. It is a useful subject.

10:27PM PDT on Jun 22, 2013

I am flabbergasted!

8:15AM PDT on Jun 22, 2013

David B.: They assume God is male because they are totally ignorant of basic biology which states that without women (or females for non human animals) there would be no new generation. Or they aren't ignorant of basic biology and they're TERRIFIED of women. Either way it doesn't really make a difference to their assumptions.

Joseph B.: Very true but your statement is common sense and the religious right are just like politicians: regardless of party (or religious affiliation in this case) they run screaming in terror of anything that REEKS of common sense like traditional vampires run in terror from garlic, silver, sunlight, wooden stakes, crosses/crucifixes, holy water and roses.

8:56AM PDT on Jun 21, 2013

Interesting comments. Positive progress some places, there's hope.

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