A Story from Kansas: Pandora's box has been opened

Here’s a story to tell from what has been a busy two days in Kansas. I intend to add more from Kansas as time allows, but this was a very interesting experience that I’d like to share.

The most common question that I’ve been asked by reporters is what are the practical consequences of the Kansas state Board’s adoption of these standards. Part of my answer has been that the most significant immediate consequence is that in districts all over Kansas, all it will take is one Board member, parent, student or teacher to bring creationists claims to the classroom, pointing to the state standards as a rationale and justification for having those claims discussed. This opens up a Pandora’s box through which anyone with creationist leanings can expect some amount of equal classroom time.

This morning I got an unusual opportunity to make this point. Radio station WBUR, an NPR station in Boston with national listenship, invited me on their show “Hear & Now” to respond to comments made by a high school biology teacher in Topeka, Kansas. This teacher, Donnie Palmer, favors the new standards, and is an example of exactly the danger I have been referring to

Instead of being live, WBUR interviews people offline and then edits the discussion more or less immediately for their show. Therefore, I was able to listen to Mr. Palmer’s interview first, and then comment on them in my part of the show. I was very impressed with all the people involved in this short project, especially the woman Robin who interviewed me.

You can listen to the show (it’s about 15 minutes long) by going here.

I invite and encourage you to listen, and then comment here.