Evolution Prevails in Kansas

Remember what happened in August of 1999 in the state of Kansas? The state school board voted six to four to allow individual school districts to decide what they will teach about evolution. They could even decide not to mention evolution at all, and presumably teach Christian creationism in place of it. With all due respect, I wasn't entirely surprised that this happened in Kansas. I'm only saddened by the ignorance of the people who insist on teaching their religion to everyone.

Here's a promising update: On Aug 2, 2000, two creationist state school board members bent on doing away with teaching evolution were voted out. Mary Douglass Brown and Linda Holloway were ousted, and in my opinion, with good reason. Not because they're Christian, and not because they're creationists, but because they insist on teaching their proven "science" in favour of an "unproven theory pressed by liberals." The evolution-creation debate is not my department, but I want to emphasize that Christian creationism is not a science. It is a myth with no evidence to back it up as truth. It is, in fact, an insult to religion and mythology to call it a science. Does it belong anywhere else besides churches, homes, and private schools? Please do not forget about the separation of church and state.

Most religions have creation myths. It doesn't seem very fair to me that the Christian myth be singled out as the only explanation of the origins of man. Christians may be the majority in the Midwest, but teaching Christian creationism blatantly discriminates against the minority of children who are members of another religion or have no religion at all. Many Christians are perpetually playing the missionary part, and these school board members are no different as they use their power to convert those of a different faith or the faithless, and prevent Christian children from learning another theory, if not the truth.

Mary Brown, a former English teacher and now a former school board member, might be a very nice person and a good English teacher. But it's clear that she had no business on a school board, meddling with peoples' religious beliefs by trying to eradicate evolution from the curriculum. Brown complained about her opponents: "They've been vicious", she said. "I was fighting the Governor, the NEA, the most powerful union in the world, when all I thought I was fighting was the...dumbing down of our kids." I don't believe that for a second. Brown thinks she's fighting the "dumbing down of our kids", but what dumbs kids down more than teaching them one faith-based theory and expecting them to believe it, rather than teaching them one theory based on scientific facts? Would it perhaps challenge childrens' minds more to present them with several different creation myths and evolution? No, not to Christian zealots, to whom it seems like they must have it their way or no way at all. Brown stated that "There is a lot invested in evolution, and we put a little crack in that." Based on what? Creationists like Brown prefer to believe that they're fighting some sort of holy war, and anyone who believes differently is a liberal out to get them. They are - for what reasons I don't know - completely blind to all evidence of evolution. They don't realize that their religion can be completely compatible with evolution, something that even the pope admitted.

I don't want to stray from the point I'm trying to make. Don't misunderstand me; People with all sorts of strange beliefs have every right in this free country to serve on boards and hold offices. What people don't have the right to do is impose their beliefs on others. The Christian creationists would not welcome Native American creationism in their classrooms as an explanation for the origins of man, and so they should not expect their version to be accepted. But don't think that teaching evolution is part of trying to impose certain beliefs on others. Evolution is not a belief and it's not a religion, it's part of science, which is always changing.

There is an agenda behind the Christian creationists insisting that their myth be taught in a science class. If they continue to feel like they have to meddle in childrens' religious beliefs, they have absolutely no business being on a public school board. It was right for them to be removed from the state school board, and I suggest they find a private school board to serve on, where there beliefs will not be disputed.

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