Several years ago, a group of "elitist" scientists in California (under the direction of the bigoted foe of creation in general and ICR in particular, Dr. Bill Honig—then State Superintendent of Public Instruction) crafted a set of "guidelines" for use in California's science classrooms. This "Science Framework" elevated evolution to a status it did not deserve, insisting that the "truth" of evolution be made the foundational principle under which all science courses be taught. The key concept was that of "naturalism," the idea that only natural processes (like natural selection) have ever occurred, and that they alone have produced the universe, life, and man. "Supernatural" happenings, which while not openly denied, were declared to be outside the realm of science—something other than truth.
ICR has always agreed that the universe operates today by observable natural processes, but it also recognizes that today's natural processes neither create nor evolve anything. Thus, origins events of the past must have been accomplished by supernatural processes which are not now observable. ICR, along with many other citizens of California, pleaded with the school board not to adopt this Framework citing its scientific overstatements and its contempt for those harboring views which included the supernatural.
We were assured that the Framework was just a set of optional guidelines for science teachers and would not be mandated. We knew at the time (and suspect they knew) that this was not their intent at all. And sure enough, the Framework, in an even more offensive and less scientific form, was later adopted for use throughout the state. It has been used as a basis for terminating science teachers and for selecting textbooks.
Even worse, it has been used as a model for other frameworks across the country. Even the prestigious National Academy of Sciences published their National Standards, proclaiming evolution to be a "unifying principle" of science, and that all of science must be interpreted within the secular evolutionary worldview.
Through the aggressive media attention, the creation message came through. Likewise, the arrogance of the elitist scientific organizations was on display. They must have felt threatened with loss of their monopoly on education and reacted emotionally, often with condescension. The Governor of Kansas even threatened to rewrite the state's constitution to take authority over the schools away from the elected school board.
We at ICR predict that the ruling will have a hard time being implemented. Lawsuits and ridicule will follow any who dare question the evolution worldview. Liberal teachers' unions and textbook publishers have too much at stake to allow the will of the people to prevail.
Yet the school board's guidelines are sound. They return good science to the classroom, removing only the harmful philosophy of materialism and its attendant, unsupported history of the evolutionary development of the Kansas school students from lower forms of life.
Kansas taxpayers desire that a higher view of life and reality be taught their children, one which doesn't require the censoring of contrary data. They desire one which does not replace instruction time spent on scientific content with false historical worldviews. We applaud the Kansas School Board for their wise and courageous step.
The schools of Kansas have, for several years, applied those national standards. School children in Kansas have been taught, as if it were proven, that they are the mutated descendants of animals, and that there is no reality other than the here and now. Meanwhile Kansas taxpayers began electing state school board members with perspectives which mirror their own, until a majority desired to remove religious macroevolution from the classroom.
Over several months, the board rewrote the guidelines for their science classes. They neither included creation nor eliminated evolution, but they did remove evolution from its lofty pedestal as a "unifying principle" of science, and instructed that scientific information contrary to evolution no longer be censored from the science classroom. Concepts of "microevolution," including mutation, adaptation, variation, and genetic recombination would continue to be included. Missing would be the philosophical claim that these small observable and undisputed changes have, over time, changed fish into people.
Reaction to the 6-4 favorable vote on August 17 was predictable and vicious. The media totally misrepresented the bill, claiming its intent was to reintroduce Biblical creation and delete evolution. Even though ICR had only peripherally been involved (providing scientific information to individual staff writers upon request), scores of newspapers, radio talk shows, on-air radio and TV debates, etc., wanted ICR's perspective. (I was surprised when CNN scheduled a "debate" between Harvard Professor Steven J. Gould and me, knowing that for over a decade Gould has refused to debate a scientist. Unfortunately, just one hour before recording time, I was replaced with Dr. Jerry Falwell. A further disappointment came a few days later when Dr. Gould and ICR's Dr. Duane Gish were scheduled for a "dialogue" on ABC TV. But shortly before air time, Gish was scratched and Gould was allowed to continue without opposition.)
* Dr. Morris is President of ICR.