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Chopping out the 'E-word?'

Kentucky Education Department science draft draws fire. But what is all the fuss about, really?

(Florence, Kentucky)-- Hot on the heels of the evolution controversy in Kansas, the Kentucky State Education Department is pondering a move to delete the word "evolution" from its science guidelines.

It may surprise some people to learn that as a creationist organization, we oppose this change. The official curriculum document gives guidance on what public school students in Kentucky should know and be tested on. A draft had the word evolution mentioned six times, but at the last minute, this was replaced with the phrase "change over time." AiG opposes this proposed change for 4 reasons:

  1. The replacement of the word evolution with the phrase "change over time" would have nothing to do with any creationist sympathies within the department, but is an attempt to lull Bible-believing Christians into believing that evolution would be downplayed in Kentucky's public schools. That was confirmed by a state education official to a reporter with the Colorado-based news organization Family News in Focus. Our suspicions about the primary motive behind the wording change arose when we noticed that many of the chief opponents to creationism were strangely silent. Although some public school educators who are evolutionists expressed concern, others "in the know" were obviously aware of the real strategy: that is, to stave off pressure from Christian groups that are opposed to the teaching of evolution as a fact.

  2. Even if the motive of some educators in trying to make the word change was to be truly "sensitive" to Christians (i.e., a politically correct move), it only shows that these educators will not face this controversial issue squarely. As creationists, we believe that students should learn and understand evolution. But they should learn it "warts and all," including the evidence from paleontology, chemistry, biology, etc. that expose the grave weaknesses of "frog-to-prince" macro-evolution. We would like to see a situation in which students do not just get the current one-sided indoctrination, but learn of evidence both for and against evolution. In other words, we would like to see evolution be stripped of its de facto immunity from the critical discussion most other theories are subjected to.

  3. The word substitution would also be confusing for some students. You see, creationists also believe in "change over time." The difference, however, is in type of change. Creationists believe that overall, living things, since the Fall (Genesis 3) have been deteriorating from the original perfection--observed mutations, adaptation, natural selection, and even speciation are facts which fit with a Genesis understanding of Creation. But all these processes of change are, overall, information-losing (i.e., "downhill" changes). Frog-to- prince evolution, on the other hand, requires a huge net gain of information.

  4. A mere watering down of terms can actually operate against the cause of Biblical truth by not exposing evolution for what it really is. Students need to understand, for example, that far from being just a matter of "change over time," evolutionary belief is a complete explanation of where everything came from, and thus ultimately what everything is all about -- i.e., it is a philosophical/religious belief system just as much as it is a scientific concept. It involves its own hideous "creation story" of billions of years of death, disease, cruel struggle with pitiless domination of the strong over the weak, pointless suffering, and bloodshed. Note that the subtitle of Darwin's The Origin of Species was: The preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.

Despite the fact that the change would do nothing to prevent the teaching of evolution or even encourage creation to be taught, it has upset some evolutionist teachers and officials. By the way, the proposed changes to the Kentucky science guidelines are different to the Kansas episode last August in two major respects:

  1. The science standards approved by Kansas did not delete the word "evolution" (which is contrary to the claims of almost all the mainstream media, which misreported that the word had been expunged) and

  2. Kentucky's top education official, Commissioner Wilmer Cody, stated (in the Courier-Journal, Louisville, October 6) that the new guidelines would not weaken the teaching of evolution, whereas the intent of some of the Kansas board members was to de-emphasize the teaching of evolution.

Conclusion: For the moment, nothing has really changed in Kentucky. In the November 22 edition of the Kentucky Enquirer, Comm. Cody stated that the document is not yet finalized (contrary to most media reports). Instructors in Kentucky who want to keep on teaching evolution if the word change was adopted would not be affected in the slightest by this "re-definition." The criticism by some evolutionists is an indication of the extreme emotional defensiveness engendered by even the slightest perceived threat to the dominant evolutionary belief system, which underpins the secular humanism of our permissive age. As far as Christian teachers in public schools who believe Genesis are concerned, we don't think the proprosed wording will make it either easier or harder for them. Christian parents should be aware of the fact that public school teaching in our culture is currently slanted heavily in favor of anti-Biblical worldviews about our origins, regardless of whether the "e-word" is mentioned in print or not. Sadly, many Christian schools have, in practice, adopted similar frameworks.

Lastly, if adopted the revised science guidelines would not in any way encourage the teaching of creation. In fact, the opposite seems to be intended in this whole episode: the word change was a thinly veiled attempt to lull creationists into believing that state education authorities are sensitive to them and their supposed discomfort over the "e-word," and thus will not be active in attempting to de-emphasize the teaching of evolution.

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