Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger
In late July in Frankfort, Kentucky, supporters and critics of the Next Generation Science Standards clashed during a hearing over proposed changes that could be made to the science curriculum of the state’s public schools. The new science standards were developed with input from officials in Kentucky and twenty-five other states with the hope of making science curricula “more uniform across the country.”
Those who spoke in support of the new education standards said they are “vital if Kentucky is to keep pace with other states and allow students to prepare for college and careers.” Supporters feel the new standards “will help beat back scientific ignorance.” Critics—on the other hand—claimed that the new standards were “fascistic” and “atheistic” and promoted thinking that could lead to “genocide” and “murder.”
According to the Courier-Journal, nearly two dozen parents, teachers, scientists, and advocacy groups commented during the Kentucky Department of Education hearing on the Next Generation Science Standards—which are a broad set of guidelines that were developed in order to revise K-12 science content that would meet the requirements of a 2009 law, which called for educational improvement.
Blaine Ferrell, a representative from the Kentucky Academy of Sciences, said, “Students in the commonwealth both need and deserve 21st-century science education grounded in inquiry, rich in content and internationally benchmarked.” Dave Robinson, who is a biology professor at Bellarmine University, said that neighboring states had been more successful in recruiting biotechnology companies. He added that Kentucky “could get left behind in industrial development if students fail to learn the latest scientific concepts.”
But the majority of comments reportedly came from opponents of adopting the new science standards. The critics “questioned the validity of evolution and climate change and railed against the standards as a threat to religious liberty, at times drawing comparisons to Soviet-style communism.”
Mike Wynn (Courier-Journal):
Matt Singleton, a Baptist minister in Louisville who runs an Internet talk-radio program, called teachings on evolution a lie that has led to drug abuse, suicide and other social afflictions.
“Outsiders are telling public school families that we must follow the rich man’s elitist religion of evolution, that we no longer have what the Kentucky Constitution says is the right to worship almighty God,” Singleton said. “Instead, this fascist method teaches that our children are the property of the state.”
Another critic of the new standards claimed that they would “marginalize students with religious beliefs.” She said they could lead to the ridicule and physiological harm of such students in the classroom and that they could also “create difficulties for students with learning disabilities. The way socialism works is it takes anybody that doesn’t fit the mold and discards them.” She added, “We are even talking genocide and murder here, folks.”
An environmental geologist who spoke in support of adopting the New Generation Science Standards said that he was “offended by comments suggesting that evolution leads to immorality and ‘death camps,’ calling it a horrible misrepresentation of scientists. He said that he—unlike many of the critics who had commented at the hearing—had actually read the standards. “Everything is actually based on evidence — arguments from evidence are actually given priority in the Next Generation Science Standards.”
According to Kevin Brown, Kentucky’s associate education commissioner and general counsel, comments made at the standards hearing “will be reviewed by department staff and summarized into a statement of consideration with formal responses. Board members will then consider the comments and responses in August and decide whether to make changes or advance the standards to legislative committees for approval.”
Robert Bevins, the president of Kentuckians for Science Education, said he expects that the board will send the standards forward without changes. Let’s hope that Bevins is right.
SOURCES & FURTHER READING
School science is hotly debated in Kentucky: New standards are called ‘atheistic,’ ‘fascist’ by some (Courier-Journal)
Next Generation Science Standards In Kentucky Draw Hostility From Religious Groups (Huffington Post)
Kentucky: Next Generation Science Standards (Kentucky Department of Education)
Next Generation Science Standards for Kentucky (National Center for Science Education)
Kentucky’s new science standards draw heated debate (The Spectrum)
Will A Denier Scrub Curriculum That Teaches Climate Science To Kentucky Schoolchildren? (ThinkProgress)
Sen. Mike Wilson | Science standards include troubling assumptions (Courier-Journal)
Science Standards Draw Fire From Ed. Leader in Kentucky Senate (Education Week)
Next Generation Science Standards In Kentucky Draw Hostility From Religious Groups (Cafe Mom)
131 thoughts on “Stateside Kentucky: Critics of the New Generation Science Standards Claim They Are Atheistic, Fascistic, and Could Lead to Genocide”
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The Big Bang Theory – Evolution versus Creationism
Bill Nye Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children
Pa. lawmaker’s education bill reignites creationism debate
By Angela Couloumbis and Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
Posted: August 04, 2013
HARRISBURG – A Republican state representative calls it a matter of academic freedom.
Science-education advocates claim it’s nothing but a backdoor attempt to allow public schools to discuss Bible-based creationism.
Rep. Stephen Bloom (R., Cumberland) circulated a memo to his colleagues Thursday seeking cosponsors for planned legislation to allow students in public elementary and secondary schools to question or critique “the scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories.”
In an interview, Bloom said the purpose of his bill was not to supplant what is now taught in classrooms – including, he said, evolution and global warming – but to foster an atmosphere that allows for a free exchange of ideas if a student were to question or disagree with the teaching.
“In the real world, outside of academia, scientific theory is up for all kinds of argument,” Bloom said. “I don’t think it’s right to exclude any particular kind of argument prima facie. If a student wants to discuss a criticism, he or she should be able to.”
Bloom rebuffed any suggestion his measure was an attempt to introduce religious teachings in public-school science classes. And he said he did not believe his idea would butt up against the landmark 2005 decision on intelligent design by a federal judge in Pennsylvania. In that case, Kitzmiller v. Dover, Judge John E. Jones III wrote that the teaching of intelligent design was a “relabeling” of creationism, and therefore violated the constitutional separation of church and state.
Bloom said he was not advocating changing curriculum or mandating that anything specific be taught.
“This is not prescribing any religious teaching in the school,” he said. “There is no prescription that any religious-based theory be taught.”
Steve Miskin, a spokesman for the House Republican caucus, said he was not aware of Bloom’s memo and noted that it was not yet in bill form. “It is only a concept,” Miskin said, adding that members of his caucus had not discussed the matter and did not yet have a position.
Since 2004, there have been 50 so-called academic freedom bills introduced nationwide. Louisiana and, more recently, Tennessee have adopted them into law.
Bloom’s measure would likely be opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, legislative director Andy Hoover said.
“The cosponsorship memo suggests this is the code people use when they want to inject religion into public-school science classrooms,” Hoover said. “Let’s leave science education to educators, and not pastors and legislators.”
Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education in California, which advocates to protect the teaching of evolution science in schools, called academic freedom efforts the latest repackaging of creationism.
“People who promote these bills are clearly going after evolution,” Scott said. “Because of the various court decisions, they can’t overtly promote creationism, so they’ve found a backdoor way of promoting creationism.”
What is and isn’t a scientific debate
The media need to understand the difference between a genuine scientific debate, and the fact that a very vocal minority can disagree with an overwhelming consensus of evidence
Creation story isn’t science but reveals God’s love, pope says
By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The biblical account of creation isn’t a textbook for science, Pope Benedict XVI said.
Instead, the first chapter of Genesis reveals the fundamental truth about reality: that the world is not the result of chaos, but is born of and continually supported by God’s love, the pope said Feb. 6 at his weekly general audience.
In a series of Year of Faith audience talks about the creed, Pope Benedict touched on the description of God as “creator of heaven and earth.”
In an age of science and advanced technology, how are Catholics supposed to understand the Old Testament account of creation that says God created the heavens and earth in six days, and rested on the seventh? the pope asked.
“The Bible isn’t meant to be a manual of natural science,” the pope told the estimated 5,000 visitors and pilgrims gathered for his audience. “Instead it is meant to make understandable the authentic and deep truth of all things,” he said.
My sincerest apologies, david, for making that mistake..
BTW, I looked for the comment that you said wasn’t posted but couldn’t find it in the spam filter this morning.
My questions were asked in sincerity. As I wrote earlier, you really haven’t stated specifically what you believe about the creation/origins of this planet, its age, etc.
I believe that he Earth is many more than 6,000 to 10,000 years old. How old do you think the Earth is?
Do you believe the Earth and all the heavens and all creatures living on it were created in less than a week?
Do you believe that there was an ark that housed two of every kind of animal during a great flood?
Do you believe that humans and dinosaurs co-existed on Earth?
You need only answer the last three questions with a “yes” or “no.”
Do you feel that there is no further need to engage me in discussion because you want to avoid answering direct questions?
I don’t care whether a Democratic or Republican President established the NAS. What has politics got to do with this discussion?
Comments are closed.