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« Why Is This Stupid Woman News? The RantsStay on Cobb County Sticker Removal Denied »

Kansas Creationists Put Themselves on Trial
2005.05.03 (Tue) 20:55

Kansas, as you probably know, is one of the battleground states in which the creationists are trying to force their pseudo-science into the public classroom. The Panda's Thumb has been covering events as they unfold, so check out their posts if you haven't done so already.

The basic premise is that the creationists have managed to setup a Kangaroo Court in which evolution and intelligent design were to be debated by "experts" as part of the process of deciding on the state science curriculum. Of course, good science is not altered by public opinion, by debate, or even by exceptionally loud and obnoxious bible thumping, but that doesn't seem to be stopping the Kansas Board of Education.

A while back, when this interesting forum was announced, the Kansas Citizens for Science called for a boycott of this event by all scientists so that it is abundantly clear that there is no debate among actual scientists. It sounds like that plan is coming together.

Over on Unscrewing the Inscrutable, Brent passed along this development:

Pedro Irigonegaray is an attorney, and had originally agreed to provide witnesses for the Kansas Board of Education's "science hearings". He announced earlier this week that he will not be calling any witnesses.

This means that Mr. Irigonegaray (who supports science) will get the chance to cross-examine the ID proponents, but the ID proponents will not get a chance to cross examine science! Nobody is going to show up to be cross-examined.

Now we're getting somewhere! At least the right people are going to be the subjects of this ridiculous inquiry. Let's see how the creationsists do when they have to actually defend their own "theories." Which don't actually exist. Because it isn't science.

You can also read the position paper supporting good science in Kansas, and sign on indicating your support, if you are so inclined.

Further information, found via UTI, is below.

Press conference

Mr. Irigonegaray will also hold a press conference on May 4 concerning this statement. Supporters of real science in Kansas' public schools are encouraged to attend.

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 at 6:30 pm
Grand Ballroom at the Ramada Inn
420 Southeast 6th Avenue
Topeka, Kansas

Pedro Luis Irigonegaray

Counsel for Mainstream Science
Kansas State Board of Education "Science Hearings"
May 5-7 and May 12-14, 2005

My participation in this process began when I was asked by the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) to represent mainstream science at the so-called "science hearings." I have accepted that duty. My responsibility in this process is to represent Draft 2 of the science standards, as submitted by the science writing committee. Draft 2 is the Majority position of the committee of science education experts chosen by the Kansas State Board of Education (KSBE).

I am joined in my efforts by the coalition for science and its thousands of members in support of Draft 2. We have concluded that these "science hearings" are meant to further a political and theological agenda. These hearings are not a scientific enterprise and are an improper format for the discussion and evaluation of science. I will not be debating evolution science in these hearings.

The KSBE subcommittee has made it clear that they do not support Draft 2 of the standards and that they support the non-scientific opinions of the Intelligent Design (ID) Minority.

It is our opinion that the intended purpose of these hearings is:

  • to provide the controlling Majority of the KSBE a rationale, in essence a fa├žade of credibility, when they eventually change the standards; and

  • to give the Intelligent Design movement a national forum to present their theological and anti-science ideas disguised as "science."

I have joined thousands of scientists worldwide who recognize these hearings to be no more than a showcase for Intelligent Design, and to be rigged against mainstream science. I support their refusal to participate.

These hearings are being paid for by Kansas taxpayers with money meant for the education of Kansas children. The KSBE:

  • has helped to finance the expenses involved in bringing 24 witnesses for the Minority from the world's Intelligent Design movement;

  • has agreed to pay thousands of dollars for court reporting services in order to obtain a complete transcript of the hearings; and

  • is wasting the time of salaried Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) staff and KSDE resources in the planning and conducting of these hearings.

These hearings should not take place. I support the science coalition's call for these hearings to be cancelled.

The KSBE has given the Intelligent Design Minority unprecedented special privileges to advance their views, despite the rejection of those views by the science writing committee. The KSBE has unfairly changed the established process to benefit the Minority. They have:

  • given the Minority special opportunities to present their proposals to the KSBE;

  • given lawyer John Calvert unjustified access and influence over KSBE decisions;

  • ignored the recommendations of the science writing committee Majority in favor of advancing the Minority proposals.

The Intelligent Design movement is theologically based and meant to advance a narrow sectarian view of God over other religious beliefs, including those of most mainstream Christians. The KSBE's involvement in promoting the Intelligent Design movement raises serious legal questions concerning the separation of church and state. The KSBE risks spending tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses if they adopt Minority proposals that would incorporate Intelligent Design theology into our standards — a needless and wasteful expense that Kansas taxpayers should not be forced to pay.

Taken as a whole, the KSBE's actions are an unprecedented political attack on the educational establishment, are damaging to the science education of every Kansas child, and are potentially damaging to the future economic welfare of our state.

However, since it is apparent that these hearings will be conducted over our objections. I am prepared to bring to the public's attention and to place on the public record the real issues involved in this unfortunate situation.

Through cross-examination, statements to the KSBE subcommittee, and the submission of exhibits, I will present details about the educational, theological, cultural, economic, and legal issues connected to the Minority position.

It is my opinion that these hearings represent an abuse of discretionary power by the Kansas State Board of Education. Our children's future is directly related to the quality of their education. Teaching children non-scientific ideas as if they were science is intellectually dishonest and will confuse children at a core level about the difference between, and the limits of, science and other important types of human knowledge.

I ask all concerned Kansans to please join us in our efforts.

Pedro Luis Irigonegaray

Contact information: pli@plilaw.com

— • —
[  Filed under: % Creationism  % Government & Politics  % Religion  ]


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