Monday, February 07, 2005

Entering the Dark Ages

The attack on science from the right is very worrisome. The Guardian reports on what's happening in Kansas in "Religious right fights science for the heart of America" by Suzanne Goldenberg.

When conservative Republicans took control of the Kansas state school board last November, the creationists seized their chance, installing supporters on the committee reviewing the high school science curriculum.

The suggested changes under consideration seem innocuous at first. "A minor addition makes it clear that evolution is a theory and not a fact," says the proposed revision to the 8th grade science standard. However, Jack Krebs, a high school maths teacher on the committee drafting the new standards, argues that the campaign against evolution amounts to a stealth assault on the entire body of scientific thought.
"There are two planes where they are attacking. One is evolution, and one is science itself," he said. "They believe that the naturalistic bias of science is in fact atheistic, and that if we don't change science, we can't believe in God. And so this is really an attack on all of science. Evolution is just the weak link."

I'm starting to expect book burnings next. Keeping the torch of learning alight is going to be a critical and difficult task in the years ahead. I guess I just want to say to everybody, keep reading! Keep reading! Don't let your brain be anesthetized. Whatever you do, don't drink the kool-aid.


  1. Anonymous6:28 PM

    The presence of this as even being an issue just astounds me. I grew up on a farm in northwest Oklahoma, and the town I went to school in had a population of approximately 200. This was not a hot-bed of liberalism by any stretch of the imagination, and yet I learned about evolution in both geology class and biology class. It scares me to think today’s children are being given such a slanted education. Doesn’t separation of church and state include separation of church and public school? Carolyn L.

  2. Anonymous9:29 PM

    Ellie, I just did a couple of Google searches using the search words "Bill Clinton evolution" and "George Bush evolution". Very interesting returns. On the former, not ONE of the returns related to biological, or organic, evolution as taught in science classes .... they related to "evolution of policy" or some other aspect of political or philosophical evolution. On the latter, 6 out of the 10 first page returns related to the Darwinian organic evolution conflict.

    I taught high school biology from 1963-1967 and from 1973-1978. I taught Darwin, evolution through natural selection. As I recall, in all those years, I had only one student who ever made a statement challenging what I taught about evolution. He was a student at Richland High School in Stoddard County, Missouri. Richland is a consolidated school made up of the small combined communities of Essex and Gray Ridge, Missouri.

    He came up to me two weeks after the "evolution unit" was over and said, "My mom thinks you're a kook!" I replied to him that his mother was in good company ... so did my own mother and my wife. Interesting that he said nothing while the unit was being taught.

    However, I did discover that a teacher in the social studies department, who was also a local Church of Christ preacher, Rev. Duncan, had learned of the corruption I was imparting on the local youth. About a month after I finished my unit on evolution, he held a week-long youth revival at his church addressing the evils of evolution. Later, one of the Church of Christ students mentioned casually in a conversation that Rev. Duncan had been to a conference in Arkansas where it was announced that Darwinism had been conclusively declared to be a "failed theory". That was in the late spring of 1966.

    Starting the fall semester 1966, Rev. Duncan started his class with a questionnaire to help him get to know his students better. One of the questions was whether the student "believed" in evolution. (One of my students in his class related this to me. "Why would he ask that, Mr. Hicks?", he asked.)

    (I am not exaggerating this story .... the Rev. Duncan was forced to leave the community in the early spring of 1967 after an alleged affair with a freshman student who was the daughter of another high school faculty member (who happened to be my friend and a fellow "free-thinker".)

    The ID movement is a deceptive, mind-robbing, effort to convert America into a theocracy. The right-wing theocrats are attacking on several fronts .. marriage (homosexual unions), abortion (reproductive choices including birth control), and evolution in education.

    The whole creationist movement, of which the ID movement is a front, seeks to make followers into non-critical followers of fundamentalist doctrines. (Note: all their efforts are directed toward public education, k-12. There is little push for their agenda at the level of higher education, except in some symapathetic sectarian institutions.)

    I was reading the Feb 2005 issue of "Church and State" published by AU. Several articles address the emergence of right-wing theological forces such as James Dobson and others to change America into a theocratic "democracy" or a theocracy. Ellie, we do live in scary times ... maybe we are "entering the dark ages", as you aptly labeled it. Lar


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