Last month Kentucky’s creationist governor, Ernie Fletcher (BS Engineering, MD), responded to a resolution by the Kentucky Academy of Science opposing the teaching of “intelligent design” creationism. A reader has supplied me with the text of the letter.
I won’t spoil the surprise with an analysis. Feel free to do your own. Heck, try to find as many indexed claims as you can.
Look below the fold to find out what a winner they got in Kentucky.
PRESS RELEASE FROM KENTUCKY ACADEMY OF SCIENCE
For IMMEDIATE RELEASE From: Kentucky Academy of Science Contact: Kentucky Academy of Science (859) 227-2837 Date: December 22, 2005
KENTUCKY ACADEMY OF SCIENCE CALLS FOR REJECTION OF ATTEMPTS TO TEACH “INTELLIGENT DESIGN” AS A SCIENTIFIC THEORY
During the recent Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS) Annual Meeting, members voted unanimously to oppose any attempt by legislative bodies to mandate specific content of science courses. The KAS objects to attempts to equate “scientific creationism” or “intelligent design” with evolution as a scientific explanation of events. KAS members believe the content of science courses taught in public schools in Kentucky should be determined by the standards of the scientific community. Science involves a continuing systematic inquiry into the manifold aspects of the biological and physical world. It is based upon testable theories, which may change with new data; it cannot include interpretations based on faith. Teaching faith-based models implies that these views are equivalent alternatives among scientists. These models mislead students as to what is considered the scientific method.
There is a widespread consensus among theologians that biblical accounts of creation are misunderstood if they are treated as literal scientific explanations. The KAS fully respects the religious views of all persons but objects to attempts to require any religious teachings as science in public schools.
There is overwhelming acceptance by scientists of all disciplines that evolution is consistent with the weight of a vast amount of evidence. The understanding of the processes underlying evolution has provided the foundation upon which many of the tremendous advances in agriculture and medicine and theoretical biology have been built.
The KAS joins fifty-three organizations including: the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Center for Science Education, the National Congress of Science Education, the National Association of Biology Teachers, the National Science Teachers Association, and the academies of science in many other states in calling for the rejection of attempts to require the teaching of either “scientific creationism” or “intelligent design” as a scientific theory.
The Kentucky Academy of Science, founded in 1914, is an organization that encompasses all the accepted scientific fields. The 700 member strong organization encourages scientific research, promotes the diffusion of scientific knowledge, and unifies the scientific interests of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The KAS has passed resolutions in favor of evolution in 1981, 1983, 1999, and 2005. For more information visit the Kentucky Academy of Science website at kas.wku.edu/kas .
And now the response.
Ernie Fletcher, Governor Commonwealth of Kentucky Office of the Governor 700 Capitol Avenue Suite 100 Frankfort KY 40601
February 13, 2006
Ms. Jeanne Harris Kentucky Academy of Science 101 UKMC, Annex 5 Lexington, KY 40536
Dear Ms. Harris:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the teaching of “intelligent design.” My educational background provided me with thorough understanding of science and the theory of evolution. Our nation, however, was founded on self-evident truths. Among these truths are inalienable rights “endowed by their Creator.” From my perspective, it is not a matter of faith, or religion, or theory. It is similar to basic self-evident objective truths that are the basis of knowledge. For example, 2 + 2 = 4. It disappoints and astounds me that the so-called intellectual elite are so concerned about accepting self-evident truths that nearly 90% of the population understands. In fact, this acknowledgement led to the intellectual curiosity Einstein spoke of that, in turn, led to the exploration of new knowledge.
To deny this understanding of our nation’s beginning, and prevent it from being taught to American students, is to undermine the foundation of our nation. Schools should be able to approach this subject from a historical prospective, not a religious one, without offending anybody. I have not suggested any new legislation, and none is needed. Since 1970, state law specifically allows public schools to teach “creationism” in conjunction with the theory of evolution. In 1990, under the landmark Kentucky Education Reform Act, control of curriculum now rests with local districts. I urged school districts to utilize this freedom and empower students with all possible considerations regarding the origin of matter and species. It will be up to the teachers and local school officials, however, to make this decision.
Our nation’s founders gave credit for our inalienable rights to a Creator. Among our rights are your liberty to disagree with government officials and my liberty of free speech. Those who laid the foundation for our country knew this would be the greatness of America. Although you my question the intelligence of raising this issue, the computer, which is state-of the-art, and less sophisticated in function than this writer, was built by an intelligent designer.