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Home » Archives » Legislative Issues » National Legislation Issues Archive » Kansas Debates the Teaching of Darwinism

Kansas Debates the Teaching of Darwinism

BY TIMOTHY STANDISH, a research scientist for the Geoscience Research Institute

Controversy is raging in Kansas over teaching Darwinism in public schools. One side questions Darwinism and champions academic freedom; the other seeks to impose neo-Darwinian orthodoxy. Darwin's enforcers have effectively promoted their position in the media while claiming that presenting their case publicly to the Kansas state school board would be somehow unfair. In open public meetings, untruths could be exposed by those questioning Darwinism.

The prominent journal Science printed the claim that, "Evolution is under attack again, as school boards in Kansas and other states consider whether to mandate teaching of 'intelligent design,' a glorified version of creationism."1 Not only is "intelligent design" distinctly different from creationism, but it must be noted that no major player is suggesting that the school board mandate teaching intelligent design. The issue is whether Darwinism should be taught as a state-supported orthodoxy, not whether alternatives to evolution should be "mandated." Of course teachers should be free to present the full range of scientific perspectives on origins, including critiques of Darwinism.

The First Amendment to the Constitution protects students from state-imposed religion. But the debate in Kansas-which is currently brewing in other states-is not a church-and-state issue; it is an issue of truth and error. Nothing in the Bible or the Constitution mandates that nonsense be taught in public schools. As Christians called to let the light of truth shine about us, Adventists can work to liberate our communities from ill-informed media-driven decisions. Most important, we can also work to liberate our neighbors from the soul-destroying delusion that, in the words of George Gaylord Simpson, "Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind."2

1. Leslie, Mitch, "Standing Up for Darwin," Science, April 29, 2005.
2. Simpson, George Gaylord, The Meaning of Evaluation, revised edition (New Haven, Conn., Yale University Press, 1967), p. 345.