volution banned in Kansas” screamed headlines around the world after the
Kansas State Board of Education adopted new science standards. One problem
with the headline: It was totally wrong!
Very little ink has been used to focus on the drafts presented to the
board by the writing committee. Perhaps some readers would be interested
in truth instead of merely noise.
The writing committee’s proposal elevated evolution to one of the five
unifying concepts of science. This was the only theory given such status.
Thus, it indicated that evolution was above investigation or question.
A statement in the documents said that students should “... use critical
and logical thinking and consider alternative explanations.” But students
would not be able to apply these directions to evolution because evolution
was presented in a very narrow, pristine manner.
There was no indication that the theory had weaknesses, i.e. lack of
uncontested transition species, lack of evidence that chemicals can give
rise to life. No other theories of origins were mentioned. Frauds such as
Piltdown Man and Haeckel’s embryo drawings that have been used as evidence
for evolution were not discussed. The leadership of the committee resisted
any suggestion to include evidence or lack of evidence that indicated
problems with the theory.
The board adopted standards that include microevolution (variation within
species) for which there is lots of evidence. Macroevolution (species
changing to another species), for which uncontested evidence is lacking, is
left to local districts to address as they wish. No mandate to exclude the
teaching of evolution from science curriculum was issued.
The writing committee’s proposal was based on Darwinian philosophy. The
board’s decision broadened academic freedom and free inquiry that was
restricted by the committee to one view and one conclusion, regardless of
The U.S. Supreme Court stated in the Edwards vs. Aguillard case, “If the
Louisiana legislature’s purpose was solely to maximize the
comprehensiveness and effectiveness of science instruction, it would have
encouraged the teaching of all scientific theories about the origins of
Our children in Kansas deserve no less!
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