Anti-evolutionists try to block science standards in schools on First Amendment grounds
THIS is almost funny — but perhaps not, if you’re a Republican or have only a high school education or less:
An anti-evolution group filed a federal lawsuit Thursday to block Kansas from using new, multistate science standards in its public schools, arguing the guidelines promote atheism and violate students’ and parents’ religious freedom.
The group, Citizens for Objective Public Education, had criticized the standards developed by Kansas, 25 other states and the National Research Council for treating both evolution and climate change as key scientific concepts to be taught from kindergarten through 12th grade. The Kansas State Board of Education adopted them in June to replace evolution-friendly standards that had been in place since 2007.
The new standards, like the ones they replaced, reflect the mainstream scientific view that evolution is well-established. Most board members believed the guidelines will improve science education by shifting the emphasis in science classes to doing hands-on projects and experiments.
The nonprofit organization based in the small community of Peck, south of Wichita, was joined in its lawsuit by 15 parents from across the state with a total of 18 children — most of them in public schools — and two taxpayers from the Kansas City-area community of Lake Quivira. The parents say they’re Christians who want to instill a belief in their children that “life is a creation made for a purpose.”
“The state’s job is simply to say to students, ‘How life arises continues to be a scientific mystery and there are competing ideas about it,’” said John Calvert, a Lake Quivira attorney involved in the lawsuit.
Note: A Gallup poll shows that Republicans and people with less than a high school education are more likely than other Americans to believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years.