Science Education Without God? Inconceivable!
Kansas is gearing up for another evolution debate.
Oh good. For a second there I thought people were forgetting how crazy my state is. I’m glad someone is on top of it.
You see, Kansas is one of 26 states involved in drafting the Next Generation Science Standards, the goal of which is to create national standards for science education. OK, cool. I mean, Kansas isn’t the first state that springs to mind when I think of quality science education, but, whatever. I’m glad we’re getting a say in this. Maybe then the standards, which are due to be completed at the end of the year, will be taken a little more seriously by the locals. Maybe.
Oh, but look! A conservative Republican isn’t happy! What a shock.
State Board of Education member Ken Willard has called the draft science standards “very problematic” because — get ready for it — there isn’t enough God in them.
Everyone knows God needs to be in everything all the time! (Unless you’re a brown person, then no thank you.)
According to the Topeka Capitol-Journal, Willard has supported science standards in Kansas that question evolution. Furthermore, Willard believes that the draft science standards supports naturalism and secular humanism, which means that schools wouldn’t be able to consider the roll a deity plays in how the universe works.
Correct. That is how science works. It looks for plausible explanations to how the world works. Supernatural forces don’t really factor into it. That’s why it’s called “science” and not “religion.”
But wait! Don’t smash your head into the wall just yet. You’ll miss my favorite quote:
“They are preferring one religious position over another.”
He said that! Out loud! In front of people! Evidently, this guy thinks that naturalism and secular humanism are religions. I can only think that this is because he cannot conceive of a person who has the ability to answer big questions about the origin of life and the beginnings of the universe using observable phenomena and not on blind faith. That is the only way it makes sense for someone to say that naturalism and secular humanism are “religious position[s].”
It seems like a no-brainer to me that school science standards should include actual science. If the scientific method comes to an incorrect conclusion, it corrects itself. Over centuries we have come to understand the world in ways previously unimaginable — or worse — blasphemous, and we are undeniably better off because of it. To deny valid science because it isn’t consistent with your religious beliefs (which, by the way, are not subject to peer review) is a foolish step backward.
Luckily, not everyone on the Kansas Board of Education has lost their marbles. Sally Cauble, a moderate Republican on the board who ousted an evolution denier in 2006, says that she is comfortable with the draft standards. She wants to defer to scientists, science educators and business leaders. Cauble says, “If we don’t listen to them, then we’re not doing our job.”
I wish I could give this lady a high five. Hopefully, reason will defeat faith when it comes to K-12 science education.
Image credit: author