KCFS Update – July 17, 2006

KCFS Update – July 17, 2006

Welcome to the KCFS Update, the weekly e-newsletter of Kansas Citizens For Science.

We are living, as they say, in interesting times. The Discovery Institute of Seattle, Washington, home of “intelligent design,” has seen fit to spend a few media dollars out of their $4 million annual budget in our humble little state. They are purchasing radio and newspaper ads and putting up new “astroturf” websites galore — all to tell Kansans what they ought to think about the science standards adopted by the creationist majority on the Board of Education. (Hint: They want us to think they’re good.)

According to the Discovery Institute, all those who severely criticized the standards as being defective, misleading, and just plain wrong — those 38 Nobel Prize winners, all the state and national science organizations, the 11 scientist and educator reviewers, and all those Kansas science teachers and university life science profs, as well as the conservative reviewing organization that gave the standards a grade of “F” — have gotten things the wrong way round. Our ID-friendly standards are JUST FINE, says the DI. The creationists changed the very definition of science in order to allow supernatural explanations? No problem!

Well, KCFS thinks it’s a problem. And so do Kansans who are concerned about maintaining Kansas’ reputation for excellence in K-12 education.

Prior to the August 1 BOE primary, the IDnet’s stalwart local DI operative, John Calvert, is motoring madly around Kansas, undeterred by the heat wave or the high cost of gasoline. He’s headed for the odd-numbered Board of Education districts, where he will be speaking in churches, spreading disinformation about KCFS and the Kansas science standards. And, oh, yes. Science in general, too. In his talks, he customarily asserts that evolutionary science is atheistic. That will come as a shock to life scientists around the world, who embrace every religion under the sun, or none, and still manage to produce useful scientific research based on evolutionary principles. Scientific research from the ID promoters: zero.

Of course, the timing of the DI’s and IDnet’s efforts have nothing to do with the primary, nothing at all, the Discovery Institute says. But then, they say a lot of things. If you want the facts, we’ve got ‘em. Go to http://www.kcfs.org and see.

Liz Craig, Editor

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“What’s the Matter With Kansas’ Science Standards,
And Why Should You Care?”

Jack Krebs, President of Kansas Citizens For Science, will speak on the meaning of the changes made to the Kansas science standards by the creationist majority on the Board of Education. You’re invited to attend the talk at two venues in the Kansas City area. Both are free and open to the public:

Monday, July 24, 7-9 PM, at Johnson County Community Center, Carlsen Center, Room 211, College Blvd. & Quivira, Overland Park, Kansas

Monday, July 31, 7-9 PM at Kansas City, Kansas Community College – Performing Arts Center, 7250 State Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas.

For information, call Jack at 785-840-5113.

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Monday, 7/17 is deadline to register for primary voting
Harris News Service

Invited to the party

Voters don’t have to sit out the Aug. 1 primary if they don’t have a party home.

For the second consecutive year, Kansas Democrats have decided to open up their primaries to independents. That means voters who haven’t declared a party affiliation can cast a Democratic ballot in the election without giving up their unaffiliated status. . . .


What Board of Education District Am I In?

Go here: http://www.ksde.org/commiss/bdmem.html

BOE seats in Districts 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 are up for election this time.

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**Important Dates to Remember**

7/12 – Advanced voting for primary begins
7/17 – Last day to register to vote in the primary
7/31 – Advanced voting ends
8/1 – Primary elections

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Steve Rose Column – Johnson County Sun – July 13, 2006

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION – If you vote for only one candidate, Harry McDonald should be your choice. McDonald, who is running in the mostly Olathe district, will bring sanity back to our Kansas School Board, which is trying to run our schools from Topeka with daily edicts. Voters should send incumbent John Bacon home for a long rest.

Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus

Kansans for Life

Kansas Alliance For Education

More as they become available.

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Evolution and the Kansas primaries
National Center for Science Education – July 14, 2006

As the August 1, 2006, Kansas primary election approaches, evolution is a burning issue. The state board of education is at the center of the furor, of course; in November 2005, the board voted 6-4 to adopt a set of state science standards that were rewritten, under the tutelage of local “intelligent design” activists, to impugn the scientific status of evolution. The standards were denounced by a host of critics, including a group of 38 Nobel laureates (PDF), the National Science Teachers Association, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, the committee that wrote the original standards, the authors of the Fordham Foundation’s report (PDF) on state science standards, and the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science. In addition, the standards have been rejected by at least one local school district. Because the terms of five of the seats on the board expire in 2006, the primary election (as well as the general election in November) afford a chance for supporters of evolution education to change the balance of power on the board, just as they did in 2000. . . .

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Kansas Citizens for Science claim Intelligent Design running a smear campaign
49 ABC News – July 11, 2006

Topeka — The Kansas Board of Education debated evolution and intelligent design again on Tuesday.

During the public forum, Jack Krebs, president of Kansas Citizens for Science, defended his group from [what] Krebs called a “smear campaign.”

Krebs claimed John Calvert, managing director of the Intelligent Design Network, promoted the idea that anyone who believes in evolution is an atheist. Krebs said Calvert is bringing his case
forward now because of the upcoming state board of education elections.

“I know a lot of people that are pretty upset this false accusation is being made both about Kansas Citizens for Science itself, and about Christians and other religious people in general,” Krebs said.

Calvert and the Intelligent Design Network did not return several phone calls or emails sent by 49 News.

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KCFS Responds to accusations of “denigration of theism.”
Posted by Jack Krebs July 16, 2006

This past Tuesday (July 11, 2006) KCFS president Jack Krebs and KCFS Board member Douglas Phenix spoke at the state BOE’s Citizen’s Open Forum, and Phenix also submitted a letter from KCFS Board member Keith Miller. The three were responding to accusations being made by John Calvert and the Intelligent Design network that KCFS has the goal of promoting “a materialist world view that seeks to demean the idea of creation” and of “denigrating theism.”

These accusations are utterly false. Given that Calvert’s accusations are being made in support of the Board’s science standards, we felt that making our objections publicly known in front of the state BOE was reasonable.

Below is a text copy of Krebs’ speech and Miller’s letter. . . .

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Calvert’s Wichita Meeting

John Calvert is making a series of appearances to “defend” the Kansas Board of Education’s ID-friendly standards – the ones that earned a grade of “F” from the reviewing organization. A friend of ours attended his kick-off presentation in Wichita on July 16 and filed a report:

Basically, the meeting went like this. As he claimed that intelligent design is not in the Kansas science standards and he doesn’t think they should be, he talked about how the new science standards allows for intelligent design and why it should be there but can’t be because of “materialism,” the requirement that science only use natural explanations. Read that twice. . . .

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Kansas Ed Board reopens debate over charter schools
Associated Press – July 12, 2006

TOPEKA, Kan. – Although its chairman says he’s not aggressively pursuing the issue, the State Board of Education reopened a contentious debate Wednesday over creating special charter schools for troubled students.

Education Commissioner Bob Corkins supports having more charter schools in Kansas, viewing them as a way to encourage innovation in the classroom. But his critics worry that allowing more such schools is designed to undermine traditional public schools. . . .

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49 News – July 12, 2006

Board of Education experiences almost 21 percent turnover

Some pin blame on Commissioner Bob Corkins

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Schools wait for Supreme Court ruling
Board on hold with budget, but decision could come Friday
Ark City Traveler – July 11, 2006

The Kansas Supreme Court may rule on a state finance plan affecting the budgets of school districts throughout the state on Friday, a local school official told the Arkansas City Board of Education on Monday night.

“The KSDE (Kansas State Department of Education) is hoping for a decision by Friday,” said J.K. Campbell, assistant superintendent for business for USD 470.

The plan to phase in a $541 million increase in aid to public schools over three years had bipartisan support in the State Legislature. It was signed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, but was developed to fulfill a Supreme Court mandate. The court still holds jurisdiction, Campbell said today. . . .

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Failing grade on No Child Left Behind could redirect money

LUWorld – July 15, 2006

The U.S. Department of Education says Kansas gets a failing grade when it comes to meeting No Child Left Behind mandates. And that could cause the Kansas State Department of Education to lose out on a big chunk of federal funding. . . .

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Jack Krebs Responds to ID Smear Campaign
Red State Rabble – July 11, 2006

Jack Krebs, the president of Kansas Citizens for Science, has responded to a smear campaign against supporters of science education launched by John Calvert of the ID Network. Here’s what Krebs had to say at the open forum session of the Kansas State Board of Education meeting in Topeka this morning:

“Last month, the day after I spoke here, I was told that Kathy Martin handed out an article entitled ‘The Truth of Science and of Revelation’ from the Catholic magazine ‘Columbia.’

“I would like to thank Mrs. Martin for distributing this article, because it supports a major point that we at Kansas Citizens for Science believe: that there is not a conflict between accepting the theory of evolution and believing in God. . . .

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Evolution of a Canard – Jeremy Mohn

In the English language, the word “canard” refers to “an unfounded or false, deliberately misleading story.” This website was created to address a particularly disingenuous canard regarding a supposed “memo” by a member of Kansas Citizens for Science. . . .

Also by Jeremy Mohn:


Stand Up For Real Science

A new website that counters the false claims on the IDnet’s “Stand Up For Science” website (and its other “Astroturf” website: “Teach Science Honestly.” Required reading for all who are interested in world-class science education for Kansas students.

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Calvert’s No Sale
Red State Rabble – July 10, 2006

The utter weakness of the intelligent design case here in Kansas was brought home to RSR in a new way recently when we read an article (now archived, they’ll want you to pay) in the Southwest Daily Times by Earl Watt.

Watt reports that intelligent design meddler John Calvert has been driving the lonely roads of western Kansas trying to drum up votes for Connie Morris, in part by attacking Liz Craig, an inoffensive and hard-working volunteer for Kansas Citizens for Science.

That Calvert must think the only way he can sell ID to an unwilling public is by attacking Craig says volumes about the real appeal of intelligent design “theory” and the mean-spirited people who are behind it. . . .

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Some politicians disrepectful of The Sun’s readers
Johnson County Sun – Column by Jack “Miles” Ventimiglia, Editor – July 13, 2006

… After sending out questionnaires at least twice by e-mail to all candidates in contested primaries in Johnson County, Kan., and in Jackson County, Mo., The Sun followed up with phone calls and left voice-mail messages. The Sun’s staff worked hard to reach all candidates in contested races.

Despite these steps to let the public hear from everyone in every local, contested race, a few candidates just did not respond. Candidate John Bacon – a conservative who seeks re-election to the Kansas Board of Education – said he did not answer questionnaires because, essentially, reporters asked dumb questions.

Bacon, for example, said he did not like being asked the question, “Is intelligent design legitimate science?”

The question, Bacon said, is irrelevant because the board did not propose teaching intelligent design. While that is true, also true is that the board’s vote made teaching the idea of intelligent design possible. I told Bacon he could answer any way he chose to let the public know his thoughts. He opted to say nothing.

Bacon’s two opponents, Harry McDonald, whom we have endorsed, and David Oliphant, did answer the questionnaire. I hope the public considers at the polls Aug. 1 who actually communicates with them and who just growls. . . .

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Intelligent design not testable; it can’t be a scientific theory
By Todd Huffman
For The [Eugene, OR] Register-Guard
July 9, 2006

In late December, U.S. District Court Judge John Jones III handed down his decision in a lawsuit filed by 11 parents against the school board of Dover, a sleepy Pennsylvania town near the capital, Harrisburg.

In terms of impact, his sweeping judgment was perhaps the most important in American jurisprudence regarding the education of children as to the origins of life since the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial. . . .

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Red State Rabble

The Panda’s Thumb

Talk Origins
The foremost source for information about evolution, creationism and related topics.

National Center for Science Education

Creationism’s Trojan Horse

The Loom – A blog by Carl Zimmer

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Kansas Citizens for Science is a not-for-profit educational organization that promotes a better understanding of what science is and does, by:

* Advocating for science education
* Educating the public about the nature and value of science
* Serving as an information resource

If you are a supporter of science education, please join KCFS now. Go to http://www.kcfs.org/join for details.

TO UNSUBSCRIBE: Send an e-mail to kcfs (at) kcfs.org with the word “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Do not reply to this e-mail.

http://www.kcfs.org • Kansas Citizens For Science • kcfs at kcfs.org