The liberal press is reporting that the seesaw battle for control of the Kansas Board of Education just teetered back to pro-evolutionists for the second time in five years. But to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of the movement to allow criticism of evolution are grossly exaggerated.
In its zeal to portray evolution critics in Kansas as dumb, rural fundamentalists, a New York Times Page 1 story misquoted Steve Abrams (the school board president who had steered Kansas toward allowing criticism of evolution) on a basic principle of science. The newspaper had to correct its error.
The issue in the Kansas controversy was not intelligent design and certainly not creationism. The current Kansas standards state: "To promote good science, good pedagogy and a curriculum that is secular, neutral and non-ideological, school districts are urged to follow the advice provided by the House and Senate Conferees in enacting the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001."
This "advice," which the Kansas standards quote, is: "The Conferees recognize that quality science education should prepare students to distinguish the data and testable theories of science from religious or philosophical claims that are made in the name of science. Where topics are taught that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution), the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society."
The newly elected school board members immediately pledged to work swiftly to restore a science curriculum that does not subject evolution to criticism. They don't want students to learn "the full range of scientific views" or that there is a "controversy" about evolution.
Liberals see the political value to teaching evolution in school, as it makes teachers and children think they are no more special than animals. Childhood joy and ambition can turn into depression as children learn to reject that they were created in the image of God.
The press is claiming that the pro-evolution victory in Kansas - where, incidentally, voter turnout was only 18 percent - was the third strike for evolution critics. In December a federal judge in Dover, Pa., prohibited the school from even mentioning intelligent design, and in February, the Ohio board of education nixed a plan to allow a modicum of critical analysis of evolution. But one strikeout does not a ballgame win. Gallup Polls have repeatedly shown that only about 10 percent of Americans believe the version of evolution commonly taught in public schools and, despite massive public school indoctrination in Darwinism, that number has not changed much in decades.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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