KCFS Update – July 21, 2006

KCFS Update
July 21, 2006

Welcome to the KCFS Update. This issue is short and sweet because it contains only articles related to what’s going on in Kansas. So read, enjoy, and attend any of Jack Krebs’s talks that’s within driving distance. He’s speaking in five different cities on “What’s the Matter with Kansas’ Science Standards, and Why Should You Care?” There is plenty wrong with the standards, and there are plenty of reasons to care.

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Keith Miller Responds to Calvert Smear Campaign
Red State Rabble – July 21, 2006

Keith Miller, an evangelical Christian, a research assistant professor in the Geology Dept. at Kansas State University, and a board member of Kansas Citizens for Science, has written a response to John Calvert’s misrepresentation of KCFS. Here’s an excerpt:

John Calvert of the Intelligent Design Network charges that during the science hearings in May 2005, “KCFS was the primary tool of the opposition and has been used and supported by national organizations to promote a materialist world view that seeks to demean the idea of creation. This effectively promotes non-theistic religions and worldviews over traditional theistic views and causes governmental institutions that employ the strategy to engage in religious discrimination.”

Such a portrayal of KCFS is both false and a personal insult. I am a current and founding Board member of KCFS. I am also an evangelical Christian, a fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation (an association of Christians in the sciences) and an officer in the Affiliation of Christian Geologists. I believe that God is always creatively active in the natural world and that the very existence of physical reality is dependent on God’s continual creative action.

There are also several other Christians on the Board, as well as members with other religious views. Calvert knows this and yet persists in portraying KCFS as advocating a materialist worldview and denigrating faith.

The efforts of KCFS have been to oppose the false portrayal of science and evolutionary theory as atheistic, and to combat the utterly false popular “warfare” view of science and faith.

It is Calvert and the Intelligent Design (ID) proponents, not KCFS or the Kansas scientific or educational communities, that are responsible for promoting and legitimizing an atheistic view of science.

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Evolution debate will air on public television tonight – 7/21

WICHITA – Evolution, a dominant issue for candidates running for the Kansas Board of Education, serves as the topic for this week’s On The Record.

Jack Krebs, president of Kansas Citizens for Science, and John Calvert, managing director of the Kansas Intelligent Design Network, will discuss state science standards, a topic that has fueled
political debate for the past several years.

The program airs at 8 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday on KPTS/ Wichita and at noon Sunday on Smoky Hill Public Television.

[Locally, this is called “Kansas Week in Review” and is seen on Time Warner channel 19 at 8 p.m. Friday.]

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Jack Krebs’ Speaking Schedule

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

Monday, July 24, 7:00 – 9:00 PM, Room 211, Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College, 12345 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kansas

Thursday, July 27, 7:00 – 9:00 PM, Shears Technology Center, Hutchinson Community College & Area Vocational School, 1300 N. Plum, Hutchinson, Kansas

Friday, July 28, 7:00 – 9:00 PM, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 710 N. Main Street, Garden City, Kansas

Saturday, July 29, 1:00 – 3:00 PM, Tomanek Hall, Room 106, Fort Hays State University

Monday, July 31, 7:00 – 9:00 PM, Performing Arts Center, Kansas City Kansas Community College, 7250 State Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas

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You can find Kansas Citizens for Science’s talking points about the science standards at
http://www.kcfs.org/kcfsnews/?p=120 ,

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Road show to promote controversial science standards

TOPEKA – A group defending the state’s new science testing standards for public schools plans a road show next week through Kansas just days before state school board elections.

A leader of the Intelligent Design Network says the speaking tour has nothing to do with efforts to promote re-election of neo-conservative school board members friendly to their cause. . . .

Critics say the campaign, with most of its stops in evangelical churches, is all about using the intelligent design agenda as a wedge to get voters to the polls Aug. 1.

“That seems disingenuous,” said Jeremy Mohn, a biology teacher in the Blue Valley school district. . . .

Calvert’s tour comes shortly after the announcement of a new Web site by the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, which also promotes intelligent design, a theory that certain natural features are so complex they are the product of an intelligent cause rather than random mutation and natural selection. . . .

Crowther said the institute’s Web effort isn’t targeting the elections a few weeks away. . ..

Mohn, the biology teacher, recently posted his own Web site to advocate against the changes. [Ed: See http://www.anevolvingcreation.net/standup]

“In a lot of ways, science as a community isn’t as well organized or as well funded as an organization like the Intelligent Design Network or the Discovery Institute. So, I thought since they have a Web site, mine would be a response to that,” Mohn said.

He and Jack Krebs, a math teacher and leader in Kansas Citizens for Science, say they want to help the public understand the theory of evolution and that it can be compatible with people’s religious beliefs. . . .

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KC Star – July 18, 2006

Three Kansas GOP candidates differ
Local control is a key issue

All three Republican candidates for the 3rd District Kansas Board of Education seat claim local control of schools as a key part of their platform.

But they don’t agree on how local that control should be. . . .

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3 Republicans seek BOE seat
Wichita Eagle – July 20, 2006

The two Republican challengers for the District 7 seat on the State Board of Education say the board should drop science standards that encourage criticism of evolution in Kansas schools.

M.T. Liggett of Mullinville and Donna Viola of McPherson will square off against incumbent Ken Willard of Hutchinson in the August primary.

Willard is one of six conservatives on the board who pushed the new science standards through in 2005. Four of them are up for re-election in November. . . .

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BOE hopefuls voice education opinions at forum
Hutchinson News – July 19, 2006

From science standards to school vouchers, candidates let public hear their thoughts

Three candidates vying for the District 7 Kansas State Board of Education position voiced their opinions on education issues – from school leadership to vouchers – Tuesday night at a public forum.

Incumbent school board member Ken Willard, R-Hutchinson, and his opponent in the Aug. 1 primary election, Donna Viola, R-McPherson, answered questions from about 50 individuals in attendance, consisting primarily of Reno County superintendents, school board members, teachers and community members.

Jack Wempe, D-Lyons, also joined the forum. . . .

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County GOP hosts local statewide candidates

Southwest Daily Times – July 19, 2006

Candidates for state offices delivered some of their viewpoints Tuesday during a meeting of the Seward County Republican Committee. . . . [includes comments by Sally Cauble and Connie Morris, BOE candidate and incumbent, respectively, out West in District 5]

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**Important Dates to Remember**

7/31 – Advanced voting ends
8/1 – Primary elections

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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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Where is My Polling Place?


Kansas primary election: Polling place changes
KC Star – July 15, 2006

Kansas voters who haven’t cast ballots in a few years may be in for a surprise when they go to old polling places for the Aug. 1 primary election.

They may not be there anymore.

To find out where to vote on Election Day, go to www.voteks.org and click on “Voter Registration Information,” or call 1-(800) 262-VOTE (8683).

The Web site for the Johnson County Election Office is www.jocoelection.org

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Exposing the flaws of the Kansas science standards
National Center For Science Education – July 19, 2006

The president of Kansas Citizens for Science, Jack Krebs, is to speak on the flaws of the Kansas science standards at five venues in the state: July 24 in Overland Park, July 27 in Hutchinson, July 28 in Garden City, July 29 in Hays, and July 31 in Kansas City.

Krebs was a member of the committee that wrote the original set of science standards, in which evolution was properly represented. But in November 2005, the creationist majority on the state board of education adopted a set of science standards rewritten, under the guidance of local “intelligent design” activists, to impugn the scientific status of evolution.

The antievolution 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.

Krebs’s presentations are likely to attract not only state but national attention, since the August 1, 2006, Kansas primary election is approaching. Three of the six antievolution members of the board — John Bacon in District 3, Connie Morris in District 5, and Ken Willard in District 7 — are facing challengers in the primary election, while a fourth, Iris Van Meter in District 9, is not seeking re-election [Ed: Her son-in-law, Brad Patzer, is running for her seat.]. Thus the primary election (as well as the general election in November) affords 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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Will the Kansas school board be intelligently redesigned?

Ars Technica – 7/20/2006 – John Timmer

Over the past few years, the state school board in Kansas and science education have had a rocky relationship. Less than a decade ago, the board pulled evolution out of the science standards entirely, only to be removed from office in the following election. At least part of that history seems to have repeated itself in recent years, as a newly elected school board held a mock trial of evolution, and followed it by adopting new science standards. These new guidelines not only included specious criticisms of evolution, but redefined the entire activity of science to allow consideration of non-natural causes. This action led the National Academies of Science to issue a critique of the standards and caused Kansas to be rated as worse than a failure in a survey of science education. . . .

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Chaos reigns at board
Bob Sigman, Opinion Page Editor. JoCo Sun – July 20, 2006

The autocratic, arbitrary conduct of the 6-4 ultraconservative majority on the Kansas Board of Education rolls on, leaving astounded Kansans wondering what is next on the Christian coalition agenda.

“Every month it gets worse and a little more chaotic,” exclaimed Sue Gamble, Shawnee, referring to the meetings of the 10-member group that is elected to oversee K-12 education in Kansas. . . .

. . .Some, not all, Johnson County voters can help turn out the destructive conservative board members. John W. Bacon, Olathe, is a member of the 6-4 conservative majority who should be denied a new term. He is opposed in the 3rd District Republican primary by Harry E. McDonald, Olathe.

A vote for McDonald is a step toward a more rational, well-motivated Board of Education.

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ID promoters push falsehoods
Garden City Telegram – July 18, 2006

The Discovery Institute of Seattle has decided to launch an ad campaign in Kansas just a few weeks before the Aug. 1 primary elections.

These ID leaders claim they’re only trying to teach students more about evolution. The fact is that they’re proposing that students be taught falsehoods about evolution, not about any genuine scientific controversies.

The promoters of ID promise that students will be “taught science that corresponds to the consensus view.” The truth is that the new standards are explicitly rejected by the consensus of scientists and science educators in Kansas and across the United States.

Supporters of the new science standards say that ID is not in the standards. Politicians won’t tell you they’re raising your taxes, either; instead, they call it “revenue enhancement” and hope you won’t look at the details. ID supporters conveniently don’t tell you that ID concepts are indeed tucked into the standards.

The Discovery Institute claims that the new Kansas definition of science is also improved. But one of their own, Dr. Michael Behe, testified in federal court that this new definition classifies astrological horoscopes as scientific.

The Discovery Institute is denying any move to interfere in our looming elections. They must think we Kansans aren’t intelligent enough to see through their designs.

Cheryl Shepherd Adams

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Ignore Patzer at polls
Parsons Sun – July 18, 2006

Forget the headlines around the country from wacko Fred Phelps and his funeral-protesting church group, and the headlines made when the Global Flyer garnered worldwide attention from its base in Salina. Kansas made more ears perk up on the world stage during the past couple of years because of the policy fiascoes from its Board of Education.

Think creationism, intelligent design or anti-evolution. Toss in a hefty dose of the board’s opposition to sex education and no other headlines concerning Kansas brought about a bigger flood of criticism, ridicule and commentary.

Kansans are tired of it, too. With five of the board’s 10 seats up for election, this once little-known position in politics is a hot seat in the Aug. 1 primary. And because four of the five positions are held by social conservatives, voter interest can effect a much-needed change.

Brad Patzer is the social conservative vying for the Southeast Kansas seat. He is also the son-in-law of Iris Van Meter, our board member who rubber-stamped everything that spewed from the mouth of board radical Connie Morris. The fact that Patzer moved to Kansas just a year ago, and his mother-in-law decided to not run for reelection shortly after, is surely more than just coincidence.

So where does he stand on the issues? A written statement on science reads, “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent
absurdity of some of its constructs …”

The phrases “against common sense” and “patent absurdity” are why there are so many people willing to put their names on the ballot in this race. The majority of Kansans do not agree and are up in arms.

Patzer also totally ignores the dramatic progress in bringing down teen pregnancy rates, which are the lowest since records were first kept in the 1940s. Instead of further building on that he wants to take sex education out of the classroom so parents can deal with it. The problem is that
too many parents weren’t dealing with it. And as for teaching abstinence, already 75 percent of Kansas school districts do that.

The Kansas BOE has made enough negative news around the world. The members’ focus should be on education, not religion. It is up to “common sense” Kansans to make sure that happens.

– Ann Charles
Editor and publisher

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The Reason Eyes are Transparent Finally Becomes Clear

LiveScience.com – July 20, 2006

It is the transparent part of the eye, but for scientists, its origin was anything but clear.

Now researchers have pinpointed why the cornea, the thin covering that allows light into the eye, is completely see-through. The discovery could lead to potential cures for eye disease and possibly even cancer. . . .

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[Oops. Sorry. This contains some discoveries “about” ID. No ID discoveries have been discovered.]


Why intelligent design isn’t.
New Yorker – May 30, 2005

. . . Biologists aren’t alarmed by intelligent design’s arrival in Dover and elsewhere because they have all sworn allegiance to atheistic materialism; they’re alarmed because intelligent design is junk science. . . .

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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.

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