NEWS RELEASE - NEWS RELEASE - NEWS RELEASEFor Immediate Release 12/10/99
Creationists Secretly Authored Kansas Science Standards, Kansas Citizens For Science Members Charge
Members of Kansas Citizens for Science (KCFS) have uncovered evidence that a Genesis-based creationist group led by Tom Willis, president of the Creation Science Association of Mid-America (CSAMA), was the primary author of alterations made to the science standards that were adopted by the Kansas State Board of Education in August.
At the December Board meeting in which KCFS members Jack Krebs and Steve Case presented this evidence, Krebs stated, "Allowing the creationists to alter the standards in this way is a serious violation in spirit of the separation of church and state."
The standards originally had been written over a 13-month period by a statewide 27-member writing committee composed of scientists, educators and curriculum experts. At the August Board meeting, the Board subcommittee of Steve Abrams, Scott Hill, and Harold Voth claimed to have written the changes to the standards themselves, and, despite concerns expressed at the time, claimed that they did not use any outside sources for their work. At the recent SUA forum at KU, Mr. Hill said, "As the primary author of the compromise standards that were passed, I guarantee that it was not input from fundamentalist religious zealots that did the work."
However, drawing on a document found on the website of Celtie Johnson, a primary organizer of the creationist group, Krebs and Case showed the Board that virtually all the additions made to the science standards in August actually came from an alternative draft of the standards written by Tom Willis and his group, the Citizens1 Drafting Committee. This document, entitled Working Draft CDC/A8 and available at http://www.homestead.com/ncese/index.html, contains, verbatim, 40 out of 42 major additions to the standards made by the Abrams-Hill-Voth team. Draft A8 also contains information that shows that the document was revised at least four times on Tom Willis's computer, shipped to Dr. Abrams' computer and then returned to CSAMA.
Neither members of the original 27-member standards writing committee nor the Board as a whole has ever seen this document. However, on their website the creationists take credit for their efforts, writing that their "citizens drafting committee had an unprecedented opportunity to assist the members of the Kansas School Board in the development of new Science Curriculum Standards.... The Citizens Drafting Committee prepared several drafts of the proposed Kansas Science Standards, eventually arriving at the Citizens Draft Committee A8 version."
Earlier in May, BOE member Abrams had presented an alternative draft, Trial 4A, and implied that he was the author. However, WSU professor and creationist Paul Ackerman, in his recent book about the science standards, "Kansas Tornado," states that the draft was written at Tom Willis' house in Missouri, and that Abrams agreed to submit it under his name. Celtie Johnson1s website says of this draft that it "is the early draft of the Kansas Science Curriculum which was assembled by the Citizens Draft Committee"
Jack Krebs also presented information from other articles and public presentations that showed that the real reasons for the creationists' efforts are religious: they believe that evolution contradicts central tenets of their religion, and particularly their belief that Jesus died to redeem humankind from Adam's original sin. Krebs concluded "By eliminating all standards which contradict Genesis and by inserting many examples that bolster a creationist view, the Board has accommodated the religious views of these creationists at the expense of scientific knowledge that is considered essential and accurate worldwide."
On Dec. 7, Board voted 9-1 to send the standards out for independent review. This costly and time-consuming project, says KCFS member Steve Case, a member of the original 27-member writing committee, "merely prolongs the rejection of these standards and allows the board to divert attention from the fact that a religious right group secretly authored them."
It is estimated that the independent review will cost $18,000 to $20,000.
Kansas Citizens For Science is an
organization composed of parents, educators, scientists, students and
others to support the teaching of sound science in Kansas public
schools. For more information, see the KCFS website at: