Toto? Are We Still in Kansas?!
When my daughter was four, she wanted to know where the world came from. Oddly enough, I gave her an answer that - at least on the surface - resembles the Kansas Education Board’s decision yesterday.
I told her about evolution, and I mentioned the (now pretty-much defunct) “Big Bang Theory”. Since I still had her four-year-old attention focused on our conversation, I went on to tell her that some people believe in different creation stories that are more spiritual in nature… and that brought us to a discussion of Genesis.
She chewed on the information for a while, then said, “Mom, the story about Adam and Eve is a really nice story, but evolution makes more sense.”
Obviously, I am aware that her answer might not typify the average four-year-old. However, I presented the information the way I did because she was so very young – and little children need reassurance about the unknown. They generally have neither need, nor desire, to understand science. Their still-developing brains can't process it.
I share this story with you because to me, it is exactly the approach the Kansas state educators are taking to the same question, “Where did we come from?” They’ve apparently decided that the children in Kansas are eternally stuck in a pre-analytical development stage. How sad that Kansas cannot see a difference between reassuring children, and scientific theory and process.
Humans have always feared the unexplained, and as a result, there are many beautiful stories of creation. Some of the Native American tales are exquisite, in fact – and just as reassuring as the Biblical version. None of these are rooted in scientific thought – and therein lies the problem.
Faith is not science. Why is this so hard for folks? Even my four-year-old could see the difference!
I’m very sorry for the children (and parents!) in Kansas, who – if their local school boards choose – will be learning that “science” does not require empiric “testability”. I’m doubly confounded that this human fear of the unknown has caused such a regression in Kansas, which is one of only two states in the country that legislatively protects gifted education. What a contradiction!
At one time, I had considered the possibility of locating my family there, so that my gifted child’s education could be protected in a public school system (such programs are always at risk).
There is absolutely no chance I would do so now. Truly, they’ve become Oz.
Update: CNN's lead-in to the story says:
At the risk of re-igniting the same heated nationwide debate it sparked six years ago, the Kansas Board of Education approved new public school science standards Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.
Now the whole theory is being said to be "in doubt"? They didn't actually say that.... did they?? C'mon....