Vol. 3, Issue 13, May 31, 2005
Kansas Board of Ed Bans All Theories From Classroom
The Kansas Board of Education has determined that every element of the school curriculum based on anything called a theory should be re-evaluated and that alternative views should be presented.
"Our recent inquiries into the biology curriculum and the role of the so-called theory of evolution have made it abundantly clear that "science" is full of theories," said board member Kathy Martin. "We've heard compelling evidence to suggest that evolution does not deserve a place in our classrooms, and I think we owe it to the children of Kansas to make sure that other questionable theories don't slide in under the radar."
The Board's four-day hearings on the teaching of evolution, held in early May, ended in acrimony as mainstream scientists accused the Board of attempting to sneak creationist views into the science curriculum under the guise of "intelligent design." Scientists say this is a form of creationism veiled in pseudoscientific jargon to appear more palatable as an alternative to the widely accepted theory of evolution.
While many observers anticipated that the Kansas hearings would end favorably for intelligent design proponents - since several members of the Kansas Board of Education stated prior to the hearings that they did not accept the theory of evolution - many were surprised at the sweeping scope of their recommendations.
"One does wonder what exactly they expect Kansas schoolchildren to study," said Martin Freeman, professor of geology at the University of Kansas. "If the Board's intention was to send a message to the world, they've succeeded. The message is: "Stay Away From Kansas.""
In common usage a theory is often viewed as little more than a guess or a hypothesis. But in science and generally in academic usage, a theory is much more than that. A theory is an established paradigm that explains all or much of the data available.
"By definition, a theory can never be proven true, because we can never assume we know all there is to know," explained Freeman.
"Aha!" shouted Martin. "See? They admit they can't prove any of it! On the other hand, the truth of the Bible is absolute. This can be easily proven, because the Bible says so. Q.E.D., mister scientist. Q.E.D."
Among the theories besides evolution that would be eliminated from the curriculum by the Kansas Board of Education's ruling are the theories of gravity, special and general relativity, quantum mechanics, acoustic theory, plate tectonics, algorithmic information theory, computation theory, graph theory, number theory, and probability theory. Critical theory and literary theory would also be banished, effectively removing virtually all books from the curriculum as well.
"Well, that's not really a loss," said Martin. "You see, we figure that if the books agree with the Bible, they are superfluous; if they contradict it, they are dangerous. We are really just doing our job to make schools safe for our children."
"This is obviously some strange use of the word "safe" that I wasn't previously aware of," said Freeman. "Anyone leaving Kansas now? Can I get a lift?"