LETTER: ID proponents 'using' Pratt's Board of Ed
I am writing to provide some background on the science curriculum
situation in Pratt. I am a high school educator and Board member of Kansas
Citizens for Science, and I have followed the science curriculum
controversies in Kansas closely.
In a replay of the state science standards scandal, members of the Pratt
school Board have rejected the recommendations of their own science
teachers and worked behind the scenes to produce local science standards
that challenge evolution and open the door to teaching creationism.
This is far more than a local issue. National and state organizations
the "intelligent design" (ID) movement are looking to Pratt as a possible
test case for their goal of challenging the current legal restrictions on
teaching creationism in public schools.
The people of Pratt should be aware that they are seen by these
organizations as a means to an end. "Intelligent design" has made no
progress at establishing itself as science. Therefore, its supporters have
a strategy of using school systems as a vehicle for doing an "end-run"
around the normal ways in which new scientific theories get established.
The Board members supporting these science standards are circumventing
both established ways of developing curriculum and of establishing new
scientific theories. Instead they are using their positions of authority
to further a narrow religious and political agenda at the expense of the
community of Pratt.
Here is some background information. Two Pratt citizens, lawyer Ernie
Richardson and biologist Chris Mammoliti have been working with the
Intelligent Design network in Kansas City. Both of these people were
presenters at a conference on teaching intelligent design in public
schools sponsored by the ID Network this summer. At this conference and
others, the ID network has described how they are working with people in
Pratt to insert ID into the curriculum, and that national attention is
being paid to their efforts.
The ID Network is working closely with a national group, the Discovery
Institute, which believes that science is inherently atheistic because it
limits itself to natural explanations for natural phenomena. The Discovery
Institute's avowed goal is to drive a wedge between those who accept
evolutionary theory, claiming they are atheists (which is false), and
those that believe in God.
Members of the Discovery Institute have written two works which are
basis of the strategy being used in Pratt. One is "Intelligent Design in
Public Science Curricula: A Legal Guidebook," by David DeWolf. (See
arn.org/docs/dewolf/guidebook.htm). Ernie Richardson used this document as
the basis for his presentation this summer on why it would be OK to teach
ID in school.
The other work is the book "Icons of Evolution," by Jonathan Wells,
illustrated by a member of the ID network. The strategy of this book is to
use weaknesses in textbooks as the wedge to attack evolutionary theory
itself, and thus open the door to teaching "intelligent design" as an
"alternative" theory of origins.
All of the outcomes and resource activities added by the Board to the
science standards follow the outline of Wells' book, and the strategy of
trying to insert ID as science (even though it has no scientific content)
comes from DeWolf's legal guidebook.
Past attempts to insert creationism into the public science curriculum
have led to protracted court cases. The current strategy advocated by the
Discovery Institute is to try to pass ID off as science, not religion. It
is likely that the legality of this tactic will eventually have to be
determined by the courts also.
The people of Pratt should be aware of the role they are playing in
larger conflict. The public schools should not be the place where
judgments about new scientific theories are made, and school Board members
should not be the people making those decisions. The strategy being
implemented in Pratt does your children a disservice, using their
education as a tool in a conflict that should be taking place in the adult
scientific and religious communities. If ID eventually gets established as
science, it will show up in textbooks and science teachers will teach it.
Until that time, school Board members should play their proper role and
support mainstream science, as recommended by your science teachers.
Kansas Citizens for Science
"The Pratt Tribune" December 06, 2000
John H. Calvert
LETTER: Naturalism and its siege on Pratt
One thing that Jack Krebs and I agree with is that Pratt can be likened
an outpost under siege in a cultural war.
The outpost is being manned by a few local citizens and a school board.
Surrounding the outpost is an awesome science establishment supported by
the Vice President of the United States, the Governor of Kansas, and the
presidents of all our state universities. The crack unit leading the
charge is the Kansas Citizens for Science. This is an outfit that is
seemingly ruthless in the pursuit of its objectives.
The question becomes: what are these few fighting so valiantly for?
is it that drives such fear into the armies of the science establishment
that they must marshal such great forces to attack so few? The barrage of
eight inch guns has commenced. The shells are falling on Pratt.
My wife and I just returned from a trip to Belgium. We visited Bastogne
where a few brave Americans of the 101st Airborne Division were surrounded
by the German Army during the battle of the bulge. The German attack was
led by a crack SS unit that took no prisoners.
What were we fighting against in Bastogne? We were fighting against
regime that used the philosophy of Naturalism to justify a eugenics
program of terrifying proportions. Naturalism is the belief that all
phenomena result only from the laws of chemistry and physics and that
teleological or design explanations are not valid. Naturalism is not
science. It is a belief system.
In the same manner, the defenders in Pratt are fighting against
Naturalism, although they may not realize it. Rather than fighting against
science, they are actually fighting for science.They are fighting for
science that is driven by logic and critical thinking rather than by a
philosophy that teaches to the exclusion of all other teachings that we
are the products of only chance and necessity. They are fighting for
science that is driven by the scientific method rather than science that
is driven by a philosophy of Naturalism.
The title of Phil Johnson's new book is: "The Wedge of Truth: Cracking
Foundations of Naturalism." The KCFS is not waging war to promote science,
it is waging war to prevent the cracking of the foundation of Naturalism.
The use of Naturalism by the science establishment and the KCFS is
acknowledged by Mr. Krebs in his letter when he says that "....
science...limits itself to NATURAL explanations for natural phenomena."
The science establishment imposes this naturalistic limitation on
scientific explanation of the origin of life by censoring two kinds of
evidence. First, any evidence critical of Darwinian evolutionary theory is
censored, as with the evidence of the Cambrian explosion. But most
importantly, any evidence that living systems may be designed is censored
at all costs.
Why censor the evidence of design? First, design theory is censored
because it is the only hypothesis competitive with the Darwinian
hypothesis. If design is outlawed there will be no serious competitor to
evolution. The monopoly now enjoyed by evolution for origins explanations
will continue. Secondly, design can not be allowed because the philosophy
of Naturalism rules it out as a matter of definition, not as a matter of
evidence or logic. In the process, Naturalism becomes Darwin's Crutch. The
relationship between Naturalism and Darwinism is symbiotic. Naturalism
protects Darwinism from the competition, while Darwinism provides support
for Naturalism. However, if the weight of the failures in Darwinian
explanation become so great, even the Crutch of Naturalism can not support
it. For this reason, criticisms of Darwinism can not be tolerated.
Rather than using logic and good science to support its assault on the
brave contingent in Pratt, the KCFS is using tactics one would expect from
those that besieged Bastogne: scare tactics, misinformation and no
substantive discussion of the real issues. The following are examples from
"Pratt is being used as a test case." [Scare tactic. Pratt is not a
case. Rather, it is being besieged by a terrified science establishment,
egged on by hollow threats from the ACLU.]
"The people of Pratt should be aware of the role they are playing in
larger conflict." [Scare tactic]
"'Intelligent design'" has made no progress at establishing itself as
science." [Misinformation hiding a catch-22 created by the science
establishment. The science establishment's use of Naturalism is designed
specifically to impede the progress of design theory by refusing to give
any objective consideration to a growing mountain of evidence developed by
credentialed and highly respected scientists.]
Design theory is "doing an 'end-run' around the normal ways in which
scientific theories get established." [A manipulative half-truth hiding a
concerted effort by the science establishment to block entrance to the
"normal ways" - more misinformation. Much of the evidence critical of
Darwinism is having to be published in non peer reviewed journals because
peer reviewed journals will not accept design explanations that are
outlawed by naturalistic philosophy of the science establishment. The "end
run" is being made because the "normal way" through the process has been
"The Board is circumventing .... established ways of developing
curriculum.... to further a narrow religious and political agenda."
[Another half-truth and catch 22 - Misinformation. Although I have had no
input with respect to the curriculum developed by the Board or the actions
taken to approve it, it seems to me that the Board is simply trying to do
its job. That job is to establish policy. The issue of Naturalism is not a
scientific issue. It is a philosophical one that has major legal, logical,
cultural and scientific consequences. It is clearly within the function of
the Board, if not its duty, to take actions that have the effect of
removing Naturalism from a science curriculum. This is especially true in
light of the current definition of science that is contained in the Kansas
Science Standards: "Science is the activity of seeking LOGICAL [not
natural] explanations of what we see in the world around us." Rather than
being a movement to foster religion, the action of the Board appears to be
one designed to enhance and promote legitimate scientific inquiry. This
has the effect of removing the philosophy of Naturalism as a censoring
mechanism. This is consistent with Michael Ruse's recent challenge to the
science community to stop making evolution a religion. What makes
evolution a religion is the use by the science establishment of Naturalism
to protect it from all competing theories, criticisms and evidence.]
"The strategy being implemented in Pratt does your children a disservice,
using their education as a tool in a conflict that should be taking place
in the adult scientific and religious communities." [Scare Tactic. How are
your children threatened by a Board direction to teach them to use
critical analytical thinking regarding origins theories? This is also
manipulation. If the adult scientific establishment has a naturalistic
rule against the criticism, how will it ever get to the children?]
"If ID eventually gets established as science, it will show up in
textbooks and science teachers will teach it." [Another catch 22 and
inherently manipulative statement. If Naturalism considers design
explanations invalid as a matter of definition, and that naturalistic
world view continues, as is proposed by the KCFS, ID will never be
accepted, not because of the lack of evidence, but solely because of the
So, we are back looking at Pratt as the bombs fall. The question is
whether the Board and the Community will be supported by the rest of us as
they have had the guts that General McAullife and the other brave
Americans had that cold winter day in Bastogne 54 years ago. McAullife's
reply was very simple when asked to surrender: "Nuts!" McAullife and the
101st were subsequently relieved by elements of Patton's Third Army. In
the same way we all need to rise up and put our hands together for the
Pratt Board and Pratt Citizens that have just characterized the outrageous
censorship by the science establishment as "Nuts!"
John H. Calvert
Intelligent Design Network, Inc.
"The Pratt Tribune" December 06, 2000
LETTER: Schools forbidden to teach the truth
As a member of this community with children who attend USD 382, I felt
was time for me to write about the evolution issue. Lots of people who
live outside of Pratt have written to the newspaper trying to influence
how we think.
Why are the evolutionists so afraid of other theories being taught in
public schools? Have they forgotten in their indoctrination that evolution
has yet to be proven?
The big push in education is to teach our children to be critical
thinkers. Isn't a way to facilitate critical thinking by looking at all
facts, researching data, reviewing other's points of review and drawing
one's own conclusions? So, why not allow the ID theory along with other
theories be taught with the evolution theory. The evolutionists appear to
think that Darwinism is a fact and needs to be the only idea that should
be taught, when there is plenty of evidence in the scientific field to
prove it wrong. Evolution is a theory.
Time and time again evolutionists have used "factual" evidence to support
their theory that has been staged, covered up, to look like fact when in
fact, it was a hoax.
I will assert two examples here. Example one: Many evolutionists have
the peppered moth as an example of natural selection. Supposedly, when
industrial pollution darkened tree trunks, birds could see the lighter
moths against the blackened trunks while darker moths blended in and
increased in numbers. In a recent article in The Scientist, it was
revealed that these moths don't even rest on tree trunks and that photos
were staged. Dead moth were glued onto tree trunks. Yet, schools are
forbidden to teach the truth on this matter and continue to teach lies and
falsehoods. Example two: Included in an illustration in textbooks are
vertebrae embryos of different species lined up side by side supposedly
demonstrating common ancestry. Yet, the American Biology Teacher reports,
biologists have known for years that these drawings were fudged to look
more alike than they are.
Parents, are these examples still in your child's textbooks, used as
fact to support the evolution theory? Have you, as a responsible parent,
researched the other origin theories, checked out the false hoods used by
the evolutionists and been a critical thinker yourself? Or have you just
been content to go along with the lies you were taught in school believing
them as fact?
Why are the Darwinians so willing to suppress data and teach outright
falsehoods? One spokesperson for evolution quoted in a newspaper article,
explained because of its persuasive power, "Its extremely visual." When
students are older, they can look at the work critically." Huh? Now, how
old does a student have to be when we allow him to think critically.?
Thank you Willa Beth Mills and Julie Bohn for helping to get standards
that will allow and help our students to think critically. I have not been
represented by Sam Jones and Bruce Pinkall on this issue. Also, a Thank
you to Ernie Richardson and Chris Mammoliti for standing in the line of
fire to have evolutionists call fact-fact and falsehoods-falsehoods.
Parents, have you done your homework on this issue?
"The Pratt Tribune"
December 06, 2000
Douglas J. Enick
LETTER: Board played its 'proper role'
Yet another letter has been written to the editor taking the Pratt School
Board to task for allegedly overstepping its bounds in suggesting that
alternate views of the origin of life should be discussed in biology
class. Last week Jack Krebs of Kansas Citizens for Science said the School
Board should "play its proper role and support mainstream science, as
recommended by your science teachers." What Mr. Krebs has apparently
forgotten is that members of the School Board are not representatives of
the faculty and/or the administration, nor of the scientific community at
large, but of the tax-payers and voters; and by virtue of being elected to
office, they have been given the authorization to oversee the direction of
the schools in Pratt and to make the kinds of decisions which they have
recently made with respect to the teaching of biology.
Should the members of the Board consult the teachers as they review
curriculum? Certainly. Should they blindly follow whatever the teachers
advise? No. The members of the board are not elected to serve as agents
and representatives of the teachers, but as agents and representatives of
the tax-payers and voters, and more specifically, of the parents; and the
Board's decisions should reflect the will of the parents. Mr. Krebs seems
to think that the members of the Board are not acting with the knowledge
and consent of those who elected them. It so happens that they are doing
what the people have elected them to do. The School Board has indeed
played its "proper role."
Moreover, Mr. Krebs accuses our Board of using its "authority to further
narrow religious and political agenda." Let me get this straight. The
Board has decided to encourage more than one view of origins to be
discussed. Mr. Krebs wants only one to be discussed. And he calls the
Board narrow?! Ironic, isn't it.
The citizens of Pratt ought to be proud of our Board for having the
courage to expand our students‚ educational opportunities, even when they
have been so bitterly opposed by those outside our community. The students
will come out the winners for having had the opportunity of having their
minds exposed to a broader range of knowledge. Take the time to thank the
members of the Board for their hard work and courage.
Douglas J. Enick