The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Creationists in Kansas Come Full Circle: They File a Lawsuit Against the Teaching of Evolution

Posted by mattusmaximus on September 28, 2013

Have you ever heard that phrase: truth can be stranger than fiction?  Well, the topic of this blog post seems to fit that statement.  In the history of creationism vs. evolutionary science, there have been all kinds of shenanigans played by creationists in their attempts to promote their religion as science; in the beginning, this often took the form of outright bans against the teaching of evolution.  In fact, it was just such a state ban in Tennessee that led to the now famous Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925.

Well, here we are nearly nine decades after that opening salvo in the creationist/evolution battles, and creationists in Kansas are taking a page from the old (and I mean OLD) playbook… they are filing a lawsuit to stop the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (since the NGSS promotes the teaching of evolution, which they claim “promotes atheism and materialism”).  Read this report from the National Center for Science Education for more details:

Anti-NGSS lawsuit filed in Kansas

Are the Next Generation Science Standards unconstitutional? A complaint filed in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas on September 26, 2013, alleges so. The complaint inCOPE et al. v. Kansas State Board of Education et al.contends (PDF) that the NGSS and the Framework for K-12 Science Education (on which the NGSS are based) “will have the effect of causing Kansas public schools to establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview … in violation of the Establishment, Free Exercise, and Speech Clauses of the First Amendment, and the Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment” (pp. 1-2). The plaintiffs ask for a declaratory judgment in their favor and for an injunction prohibiting the implementation of the NGSS in Kansas or, failing that, an injunction prohibiting the implementation of the sections of the NGSS to which they object.

NCSE’s Joshua Rosenau told the Associated Press (September 26, 2013) that it was a familiar argument, but “no one in the legal community has put much stock in it.” He added, “They’re trying to say anything that’s not promoting their religion is promoting some other religion,” and dismissed the argument as “silly.” Steven Case, director of the University of Kansas’s Center for Science Education, concurred, citing previous court rulings as evidence that the new lawsuit “won’t hold up.” “This is about as frivolous as lawsuits get,” Case told the Associated Press. The Kansas state board of education voted 8-2 to accept the Next Generation Science Standards on June 11, 2013, as NCSE previously reported, and the lawsuit is evidently attempting to undo the decision. … [emphasis added]

I would like to speak to Josh Rosneau’s comment that I put in bold above; this really is the kind of thinking employed by creationists.  They believe that you’re either with them or against them, and there’s no such thing as a grey area within their black and white thinking.  Therefore, if you are not actively promoting their religious beliefs, then you are by default promoting the opposite of their religious beliefs which is atheism.  Never mind that one can hold religious beliefs, even adhere to Christianity, and still accept evolutionary science; these creationists think that there can be no room at all for modern science within their belief system.  So, if they view science as the enemy – as arch-creationist Ken Ham and his followers appear to believe – then science must be fought at every turn.  Hence stupidity like this lawsuit…


Of course, I have no doubt that this lawsuit will go down in flames, as it should.  And I have no doubt that it will prove to be yet another embarrassing blow to the creationist movement, maybe becoming as famous as the Dover vs. Kitzmiller trial a few years ago.  But I also have no doubt that these creationists will not stop there; they will attempt to thwart every effort to teach good science in our public schools.  And because of that fact, we must be ever vigilant.

2 Responses to “Creationists in Kansas Come Full Circle: They File a Lawsuit Against the Teaching of Evolution”

  1. Alan Wade said

    I would like to remind anyone who reads this of just what is at stake here:
    It is a basic human right and probably the most valuable of all human rights as it gave birth to all other human rights.
    It is the right to think for yourself.

    The creationists have a belief system that tells us we will endure hell-fires of if we don’t give-up our own (evil) thoughts and submit to theirs. They reinforce this with the assurance that these ideas are not their own but Gods, although they don’t have a shred of evidence that this is true. They point to a Bible that was edited by the highest authority of the known world at the time, as proof of authenticity.
    Religion is based upon fear.

    Education is entirely dominated by academic science and science is backed in its educational endeavours by government.
    Science would like us all to believe that Neo Darwinism is the truth.
    If we believe Neo Darwinism, we are likely to believe everything else.
    Education tells us that we will not get a job if we don’t get an education and Darwinism is likely to be part of that education. Darwinism and many other areas of science make-up a belief system that has not been proven.
    I spent countless hours writing on the Talk Origins forum, if for nothing else than to convince myself that Neo Darwinism is a manufactured myth.

    All belief systems are based upon fear.
    In the case of the Skeptical Teacher, the fear is derived from the binary: Science or Creationism when there are several other options.
    Binary thinking appeals to the lowest common denominator of those who don’t think for themselves and has caused wars to be fought.

    Scepticism is not a science it is an emotion disguised as a science.
    The sceptics have their own destructive belief system that thy wish to impose on the rest of us.

    Question everything.
    Make-up your own mind.
    Don’t take on-board anyone else’s truth.
    Think for yourself.
    Don’t be afraid.
    You are not unworthy.
    You are not a sinner.
    You are not going to hell.
    You have a right to think your own thoughts.
    If you have a God, then it is he who gave you the ability to think for yourself.

  2. […] Creationists in Kansas Come Full Circle: They File a Lawsuit Against the Teaching of Evolution ( […]

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