Feb. 14, 2001
Liberals have long realized that, if they can win the battle over
what is taught in schools, they will win elections. While they claim
to believe in free speech, they often have little tolerance for
alternate points of view in the schools.
In 1999, a popularly-elected Kansas Board of Education changed its
science teaching standards to allow students to make factual scientific
criticisms of evolution. This created a national uproar in
intellectual circles and the media and, last November, the
pro-evolution forces elected their allies to the state school board.
The new board is now planning on imposing stricter evolution
requirements at its February meeting.* The board has posted its new
2001 standards alongside the 1999 standards.
The 2001 standards contain provisions to prohibit scientific
evaluation and debate about evolution. This means dumbing down science
in order to promote evolution.
For example, the 1999 standards mandated that "no evidence or
analysis of evidence that contradicts a current science theory should
be censored." The 2001 standards deleted this requirement.
The 2001 standards encourage teachers to evade tough questions
from students about the validity of evolution theories. Instead of
addressing the students' questions, "the teacher should explain why the
question is outside the domain of natural science."
The 2001 standards remove an educational geology experiment and
replace it with "Toilet Paper Earth History." Students are instructed
to "Plot the major events (last ice age, beginning of Paleozoic Era,
etc.) of earth history on a roll of toilet paper. Each sheet of toilet
paper = 100 million years."
It gets worse. The 1999 standards taught the significance of an
important scientific concept called "falsification," which is crucial
to understanding what science is all about. As recognized by the U.S.
Supreme Court in its 1993 Daubert decision, an idea is in the realm of
science if it has the potential of being "falsified" by an experiment.
For example, the idea that sunsets are beautiful is not scientific
unless some procedure is contemplated to determine whether or not
sunsets really are beautiful. On the other hand, a theory that the sun
rises in the east is falsifiable because it could be disproved by the
sun rising once in the west.
Evolution can encounter difficulties with the falsification test.
Much of what is taught as evolution in the schools is not falsifiable
at all and thus cannot truly be called science.
The 1999 Kansas standards stated: "Learn about falsification.
Example: What would we accept as proof that the theory that all cars
are black is wrong? . . . Answer: One car of any color but black and
only one time. . . . No matter how much evidence seems to support a
theory, it only takes one proof that it is false to show it to be
The 2001 Kansas Board eliminates the falsification test and
substitutes the following: "Share interpretations that differ from
currently held explanations on topics such as global warming and
dietary claims. Evaluate the validity of results and accuracy of
Repeated problems with the theory of evolution have required its
advocates to redefine evolution to mean merely "change." One biology
textbook defines evolution as "the totality of all changes that have
occurred in organisms from the beginnings of life on earth to the
Obviously, that definition is so vacuous that it is both
meaningless and incapable of the falsification test. Another textbook
definition of evolution uses fancier language but is similarly empty:
"any genotypic and resulting phenotypic change in organisms from
generation to generation."
Once students accept such hollow definitions of evolution, it
becomes easier to get them to accept more controversial notions. The
hypothesis that all living organisms on earth are descended from one
primordial ooze can become an exam question.
The 2001 standards pretentiously claim that evolution not only
explains all life, it also explains all non-life. It defines
biological evolution as "a scientific theory that accounts for present
day similarity and diversity among living organisms and changes in
non-living entities over time."
If you are baffled as to why the liberals pursue the dogmatic
teaching of evolution, a clue might be found in the recent election.
Of the 13 states that allow dissent over evolution, George W. Bush won
all but one and, of the 10 states that impose the strictest pro-
evolution requirements, Gore won all but three.
States that have been imposing stricter pro-evolution requirements
are quickly moving to the left politically. The traditionally
conservative states of North Carolina, Indiana, Michigan and Missouri,
which have been aggressively pushing evolution, recently elected
The right to scientific dissent is closely related to the right to
political dissent. When states abolish rights of students to criticize
evolution, suppression of political dissent becomes easier.
* On Feb. 15, the Board did what this column predicted.