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Education Science

Kentucky Lawmakers Shocked To Find Evolution In Biology Tests 1218

Posted by Soulskill
from the other-states-shocked-that-kentucky-has-biology-tests dept.
bbianca127 writes "Kentucky mandated that schools include tests that are based on national standards, and contracted test maker ACT to handle them. Legislators were then shocked that evolution was so prominently featured, even though evolution is well-supported and a central tenet of modern biology. One KY Senator said he wanted creationism taught alongside evolution, even though the Supreme Court has ruled that teaching creationism in science classes is a violation of the establishment clause. Representative Ben Wade stated that evolution is just a theory, and that Darwin made it all up. Legislators want ACT to make a Kentucky-specific ACT test, though the test makers say that would be prohibitively expensive. This is just the latest in a round of states' fight against evolution — Louisiana and Tennessee have recently passed laws directed against teaching evolution."
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Kentucky Lawmakers Shocked To Find Evolution In Biology Tests

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:22PM (#41024779)

    A few wealthy and modern cities surrounded by a huge sea of uneducated religious primitives with guns.

  • by tbonefrog (739501) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:26PM (#41024823)

    Yep it's a challenge to live down here amongst the hillbillies. Tennessee's law actually doesn't mandate teaching creationism, it just prevents a teacher from getting into trouble for teaching alternative theories. As a substitute teacher (between software engineer gigs) I'm amassing age-appropriate clips from as many different religions and prehistoric traditions as I can find, so when the opportunity [resents itself, I'll be ready.

    It's terrible to see the country slide backward down the ladder of technological pre-eminence due to these wackos. Decades of badmouthing government are going to take a toll on us pretty soon.

    Note also that science shouldn't be taught as set in stone, either. There's a lot we don't know and kids enjoy comparing what was known to be true in my teenage years with what we know now.

    Not believing in evolution after you've seen DNA is like sticking to chopsticks after you've seen the fork, no offense intended.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:28PM (#41024881)

    Creationsim does have a place in schools. When I was a senior in high school we had a class called "humanities." It was a class where we covered a bit of art and a bit of sociology. That's where it belongs. Teach the basic ideas behind the major religions and touch on their influence on the world stage.
     
    By doing this you start to open up a middle ground where people learn a bit about each other and their cultures. By closing out this kind of knowledge you're leaving a big gap for the fringe to fill and use against you. The more people we can get involved in this middle ground the smaller the fringe becomes. This will make them less powerful and easier to spot at a distance.
     
    Too many people want to fight tooth and nail instead of finding a common ground to work from. This is a waste of resources.

  • by Nushio (951488) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:29PM (#41024905) Homepage

    I am a Catholic guy, but I wasn't raised in the U.S. view's of creationism vs evolution. I am Mexican, and here, they teach us evolution *with* creationism. At church.

    At school? They leave the God theories to the church. God has no business in the government schools, and teachers aren't nuns to be teaching kids about God anyway.

    The way the Saturday Church classes taught me was that God didn't just create Adam and Eve, but evolved species into Adam and Eve. A simple way to explain it is that God plays Spore on a very big supercomputer with high definition graphics.

    I don't get why Christians / Catholics get so pissy about Darwin being a theory and that a maker must've just spawned everything out of thin air. Both theories aren't mutually exclusive. The initial spores could've spawned out of thin air, then evolved into men and women.

    And don't get me started with the Big Bang / Genesis thing, as the idea of creating the universe in 7 days is just wrong, but if some dude was shown a fast-forwarded video of the big bang and saw (and wrote) about creation taking place in 7 days, well that'd be a misunderstanding, I think.

  • Re::facepalm: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:30PM (#41024919)

    Pay no attention to the troll submitting stories.
    Somewhere in America millions are doing something stupid. A percentage of these people are public figures and a percentage of those are in government. This is nothing. This isn't even news. This is a reporter somewhere with search program trolling the press releases and small-town papers for 'senator' & 'evolution'. Whatever turns up both phrases can be sold to someone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:32PM (#41024935)

    The ignorance infection is growing. We need to cut off the dead tissue as soon as possible.

    I'm afraid that the US has progressed so far towards becoming a Christian theocracy that, first amendment or not, the dead tissue is about to cut you off.

  • by zzsmirkzz (974536) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:33PM (#41024955)

    However, there is a sizable contingent of religious people out there who think that religious "freedom" means the freedom for everyone to be Christian, and anything that interferes with that goal is (or should) violate the First Amendment.

    Not exactly. They think religious "freedom" means that they have the freedom to teach their kids to believe whatever they want (which is true). But further than that they think it means that they are free from anyone else contradicting those beliefs with their own beliefs which is where they are wrong, they have no so such freedom as it, obviously, severely restricts everyone else's freedom to say and believe what they wish.

  • by sandytaru (1158959) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:33PM (#41024957) Journal
    I'd love to have a literature elective in high school called "Creation Stories and Mythology from Around the World." It could begin and end with Genesis, but also touch on everything from Coyote sneezing out mountains to examples of new creation stories from modern literature, as well as some of the more out-there science hypothesis such as multiverses and parallel dimensions, and how they are used in speculative fiction.
  • by vonhammer (992352) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:38PM (#41025013)

    Most Catholics I know have a similar, "moderate", background with respect to evolution. It's the Protestants that tend to be more fundamentalist and deny evolution. I believe the reason is that, historically, Catholicism has relied on church traditions for its belief system. When the Protestants broke away they needed new source material to justify their path to God, so they turned to the Bible. This propelled them on a course that adheres more to the Bible (and its ancient science).

  • by aepervius (535155) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:41PM (#41025071)
    Litteralism and creationism were long abandonned by mainstream catholic, hundred of years ago in europe. If you ask an european catholic he will probably tell you all those stuff including the eve story are jsut that, allegories, and that evolution happened. Both of those phenomenon (litteralism and creationism) are predominentely american phenomenon among christian (rather than protestan/catholic). In fact if I recall correctely they can be traced back to end of 18th start of 19th century in north america.
  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:46PM (#41025151) Homepage Journal

    of course darwin made it up! einstein also completely made up relativity. since they both used the scientific method, it turns out this theory they both proposed is both provable and a very good model for how the world and universe works, respectively. if the kentucky legislature wants to completely make up their own theory they are more than welcome to. if their theory turns out to be a better model than darwin's then by all means let's teach the one that is the most correct...

    THIS! The idea that the lawmaker dismisses evolution as "made up" just because someone at some point thought of it (and didn't have the foresight to put it in the Bible) is un-fucking-believable. He clearly has NO idea what science is, what it's for, or why it's better than believing a 1000-2000 year old text that's been retranslated about twenty times. How do you even begin to reply to that kind of ignorance?

  • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc@noSPAM.carpanet.net> on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:46PM (#41025161) Homepage

    I fully support the RIGHT of these states to teach what they want, and even to ban the teaching of evolution. Its their lives, their children, their right.

    However, I would ask that my states rights be recognized too.... the right to consider high school diplomas from their state worthless and The right to not fund their educational process at all.

    I would be perfectly happy with such an arrangement.

  • by characterZer0 (138196) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:56PM (#41025301)

    The idiocy is not only in the south. I was checking out the local private schools for my daughter in an upstate NY city of over 200,000 people. I asked the new principal at one of the Catholic schools what science curriculum they used. He said, "Well, you know, we teach the idea of evolution, but it is mostly religious based." That was the end of that visit.

  • by readin (838620) on Friday August 17, 2012 @12:56PM (#41025303)

    Please remember that when people talk about a "war" on religion, this is the kind of stuff they're referring to.

    In recent months when people talk about a "war on religion" they're more likely to be talking about the HHS mandate that any Calholic who owns a business must violate the teachings of their religion if the want to be allowed to hire employees. That's the same mandate that says religious observance is ok when practiced inside a church amoung other people of the same religion, but if your religion wants to you to something good for the community like run a soup-kitchen or hospital, you have to violate your relgion.

    There are some practices related to teaching of evolution as well. It is one thing to teach the theory of evolution. It is another to claim that the theory disproves Biblical teachings and to call those teachings "myths" as I've seen some books directed at children do.

    Other unrelated forms of the war on religion, or at least on Christianity, include efforts the effort to remove all mention of Christ from Christmas celebrations. Since the Charlie Brown Christmas special came out maybe 50 years ago, have you seen another Christmas special on network TV that made any mention of the reason for Christmas? When was the last time you were at the mall in December and heard a real Christmas carol mixed in with the secular toons about Santa Claus and snow?

    These aren't a coordinated effort, obviously, but it does seem that much of our culture has adopted two ideas very hostile to religion and Christiantiy. The first is that religion should only be practiced in private. The second is that religious acts are ok so long as you don't really believe it - that we'll respect your right to do purely symbolic rituals but we won't respect your right to believe..

  • by tgibbs (83782) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:07PM (#41025479)

    Local control is overrated. I think that if the religious cranks actually end up running the country, the US is doomed anyway. But our government has stood fast against continuous assault by religious cranks almost since its inception, so I'm not terribly concerned. On the other hand, we have plenty of examples to show us that at the local level, it is not at all hard for a small, organized group of cranks to take over school boards and substitute their dogma for science

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:12PM (#41025561)

    Exactly. I've also heard these people claim that our country is really a Christian nation and that Christianity should be the official religion. They'll usually claim that the founding fathers were Christian and thus they obviously wanted the country run as a Christian theocracy... no reason why they'd want government and religion separate, right?

    Well, except for actual historical reasons such as persecution of those who don't follow the official State religion and government officials being in charge of where/how/when/who you worship. The latter should scare any religious person who previously wanted a religion to be the official state religion. Look at the tax code. Now imagine that, instead of describing how you paid Uncle Sam every year, it described how you worshiped God. Does anyone really think, if church-state separation were abolished, that *PRIESTS* would be making the rules? It would be politicians and bureaucrats. Likely with corporate lobbyist influence. (All hymns need to be registered with the RIAA's "Religious Melodies" department or else the church will be levied a $750 fine.)

    Disclosure: I'm Jewish so making the Official State Religion That Everyone Must Practice any form of Christianity would be bad for me. However, as I said above, I'd also be against the government making Judaism the official religion because *I* want to decide how I worship, not some government official. (So long as my worship doesn't infringe on someone else's rights, of course.)

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:12PM (#41025563)

    Some people WOULD have a problem with that. It is explicitly the agenda of some of these people to prevent children from learning how to think for themselves.

    http://www.politifact.com/texas/statements/2012/aug/11/gail-collins/gail-collins-says-texas-gop-platform-calls-schools/

  • by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Friday August 17, 2012 @01:14PM (#41025603) Homepage

    I'd love to have a literature elective in high school called "Creation Stories and Mythology from Around the World." It could begin and end with Genesis, but also touch on everything from Coyote sneezing out mountains to examples of new creation stories from modern literature, as well as some of the more out-there science hypothesis such as multiverses and parallel dimensions, and how they are used in speculative fiction.

    I went to a Jesuit high school, and that is pretty much what we were taught. There's a reason that the Jesuits are feared by other Christians. Many are prominent scientists.

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