Kentucky evolution law

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 10 10:03:27 CDT 1999

     I think Susan and Doug both make good points.  But I think it clearly
demonstrates the counterproductive "futility" of debating evolutionary
details with fundamentalist parents.  These kinds of arguments either go
over their heads or fall on deaf ears (and the same was true of 6 out of 10
members of the Kansas BOE).
     I still think it is much more productive to empathize with them, and
convince them that they should be proud that their God could have created
something as complex as the evolutionary process (and that this kind of
creationism is compatible with evolutionary thought).  If you can give them
something like that to grab onto, they are less likely to oppose having
their children learn evolution in school.  This kind of empathy gets you a
lot further than confrontation, or throwing out examples of speciation
(even biologists can't agree on where micro-evolution leaves off and
macro-evolution begins).
     Anyway I hope some of you saw the report on the show CBS Sunday Morning
which aired earlier today.  It clearly showed Kansas students still being
taught evolution, and perhaps the controversy has focused them on the
subject more than they would have been otherwise.   But I am very concerned
about this apparent state law in Kentucky, that if you teach evolution you
can turn biology class into a creationism seminar.  That is much scarier
than all the hoopla over some questions on proficiency exams (and Kansas
biology teachers aren't going to stop teaching evolution just because those
questions might be changed temporarily).
     We in Kansas can't ignore the Board of Education ruling, but I still
think it has been overblown.  Hopefully in the Kentucky case, the debate
will shift from the recent "wording change" to the more important issue of
this unfortunate Kentucky state law.
                     ----------Ken Kinman
>Susan Farmer wrote:
> >To play devils advocate here, some creationists might argue that this
> >is not an example of macro-evolution because the resultant species
> >is still a lizard.  (or a fish, or a tree-fern to use your other
> >examples.)  It is definately an example of speciation; but not
> >the evolution of a new species (aka macro-evolution).  How do you
> >counter that argument?
>It's a straw man (based on redefining macroevolution in a way that is
>patently unacceptable), and thus doesn't require countering. Establishing
>the reality of macroevolution only requires that new species can arise in
>nature; since higher taxa are artificial, arbitrary constructs, they do not
>need to be accounted for. If creationists claim that only the visible and
>sudden origin of a new class, order, or phylum will satisfy them, then they
>are simply redrawing their proverbial line in the sand after it has been
>crossed, like a dimwitted child in a schoolyard whose bluff has been
>Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
>Univ. of California - Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521
>phone: (909) 787-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)

Get Your Private, Free Email at

More information about the Taxacom mailing list