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Media - 2006 Elections

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 6 months ago

Press Articles on the 2006 Board Elections

This page incorporates some of the press articles about the 2006 primary and general elections. You will find that outside the facts of whom won or lost, there is a pro-evolution bias. Nevertheless, I think it is important to provide a survey of what the press is publishing for the readers of this website.


                  Table of Contents


Evolution Opponents Lose in Kan. Primary


Republicans who approved new classroom standards that call evolution into question lost control of the State Board of Education in Tuesday's primary election.


A victory by pro-evolution Republican candidate Jana Shaver over conservative Republican Brad Patzer, who supported the standards treating evolution as a flawed theory, meant conservatives would at best have five of 10 seats on the board.


Five seats were up for election in the primary, the latest skirmish in a seesawing battle between faith and science that has opened Kansas up to international ridicule.


Conservative Republican John Bacon kept his seat by besting two pro-evolution challengers. But Shaver's win split the makeup of the board between evolution supporters and opponents. She won a seat that was vacant because a conservative Republican evolution opponent was retiring.


Besides Bacon and Shaver's races, the seats of two conservative Republicans who oppose evolution were up for grabs, along with that of a Democrat who favors evolution.


Janet Waugh, a Kansas City Democrat who opposed the new standards, defeated a more conservative Democrat who favored the anti-evolution language with 65 percent of the vote.


One conservative incumbent, Ken Willard, held on to his seat, but another, Connie Morris, was losing to a pro-evolution candidate.


Morris' race in western Kansas was the most closely watched. The former teacher has described evolution as "an age-old fairy tale" and "a nice bedtime story" unsupported by science.


Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education in Oakland, Calif., which supports the teaching of evolution, said conservative victories would generate attempts to adopt Kansas' standards elsewhere.


"There are people around the country who would like to see the Kansas standards in their own states," she said.


Also Tuesday, Kansas Republicans chose a nominee to challenge Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius in November. With 96 percent of the state's precincts reporting, state Sen. Jim Barnett captured his party's nomination with 36 percent of the vote, besting six other candidates.


The school board contest was part of a larger effort by the intelligent design movement to introduce its ideas in public schools.


A suburban Atlanta school district is locked in a legal dispute over its putting stickers in 35,000 biology textbooks declaring evolution "a theory, not a fact."


Last year, in Dover, Pa., voters ousted school board members who had required the biology curriculum to include mention of intelligent design. A federal judge struck down the policy, declaring intelligent design is religion in disguise.


A poll by six news organizations last year suggested about half of Kansans thought evolution should be taught alongside intelligent design.


"I feel like if you give two sides of something, most people are intelligent enough to make up their own minds," said Ryan Cole, a 26-year-old farmer and horse trainer from Smith County, along the Nebraska line.


Control of the school board has slipped into, out of and back into conservative Republicans' hands since 1998, resulting in anti-evolution standards in 1999, evolution-friendly ones in 2001 and anti-evolution ones again last year.


Late-night comedians have been making cracks about Kansas, portraying it as backward and ignorant. Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" broadcast a four-part series titled, "Evolution Schmevolution."


Proponents of Kansas' latest standards contend they encourage open discussion.


"Students need to have an accurate assessment of the state of the facts in regard to Darwin's theory," said John West, a vice president for the Center for Science and Culture at the Seattle-based, anti-evolution Discovery Institute.


The standards say that the evolutionary theory that all life had a common origin has been challenged by fossils and molecular biology. And they say there is controversy over whether changes over time in one species can lead to a new species.



Eyes of nation on today's Kansas school board elections

Instead of looking to Washington, we’ll look at how the rest of the world is viewing us today.


It’s election day in Kansas, after all, which means we’re at the next turn in the state’s evolution debate. And the eyes of the nation are upon us.


The New York Times reports: “God and Charles Darwin are not on the primary ballot in Kansas on Tuesday, but once again a contentious schools election has religion and science at odds in a state that has restaged a three-quarter-century battle over the teaching of evolution. ....


“The Kansas election is being watched closely by both sides in the national debate over the teaching of evolution. In the past several years, pitched battles have been waged between the scientific establishment and proponents of what is called intelligent design, which holds that nature alone cannot explain life’s origin and complexity. ...


“A defeat for the conservative majority in Kansas on Tuesday could be further evidence of the fading fortunes of the intelligent design movement, while a victory would preserve an important stronghold in Kansas. ...


“Last year’s changes in the science standards followed an increasingly bitter seesawing of power on the education board that began in 1998 when conservatives won a majority. They made the first changes to the standards the next year, which in turn were reversed after moderates won back control in 2000. The 2002 elections left the board split 5-5, and in 2004 the conservatives won again, instituting their major standards revisions in November 2005.”


The Washington Post adds: “Evolution's defenders, working to defeat Kansas Board of Education members who oppose modern Darwinian theory, are challenging three incumbent Republican conservatives and the political heir to a fourth in Tuesday's primary.


“A shift of two seats to moderate Republicans -- or to Democrats -- in November almost certainly would lead to a reversal of state science standards celebrated by many religious conservatives and reviled by the scientific establishment.


“With turnout expected to be low, neither side is making confident predictions about the state's latest skirmish at the intersection of science, religion and politics. The board's majority shifted to the moderate side in 2000 only to swing back in 2004.”


The Post article details how non-Kansans on both sides of the issue have tried to influence the election:


“The Discovery Institute, a Seattle think tank best known for backing ‘intelligent design,’ the idea that a creator plays a central role in natural development, is running radio advertisements in support of the standards. ... The editor of Scientific American, John Rennie -- who has described the board's conservatives as ‘six dimwits’ -- posted on a blog to urge Kansas voters to defeat board members ‘who have inflicted embarrassing creationist nonsense on your home's science curriculum standards.’”


Kansas, Undo the Damage

Scientific American prohibits copying of this article and wants money for permission so you will have to go to the link above. It is worth the visit if you want to see how bias this 'scientific' organization is. In my humble opinion, any group that blasts another on basis of emotion and misinformation deserves no credibility, yet here they are spewing non-scientific jargon.


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