Thursday, September 26, 2013
You may remember Calvert as a lawyer (Oh, Shame!) who was a prominent figure in Kansas "evolution wars" of the 2000s. He was a founder of the Intelligent Design Network that helped, briefly, to make Kansas a laughingstock by removing the word "evolution" from the state standards and by redefining "science" to include supernatural causes.
Now he seems to be behind a lawsuit to prevent Kansas from actually adopting the
An anti-evolution group filed a federal lawsuit Thursday to block Kansas from using new, multistate science standards in its public schools, arguing the guidelines promote atheism and violate students' and parents' religious freedom.Not so, says Calvert!:
The group, Citizens for Objective Public Education, had criticized the standards developed by Kansas, 25 other states and the National Research Council for treating both evolution and climate change as key scientific concepts to be taught from kindergarten through 12th grade. The Kansas State Board of Education adopted them in June to replace evolution-friendly standards that had been in place since 2007.
The new standards, like the ones they replaced, reflect the mainstream scientific view that evolution is well-established. Most board members believed the guidelines will improve science education by shifting the emphasis in science classes to doing hands-on projects and experiments.
"The state's job is simply to say to students, 'How life arises continues to be a scientific mystery and there are competing ideas about it,'" said John Calvert, a Lake Quivira attorney involved in the lawsuit.Huh? I'd be very surprised if the standards say the origin of life is scientifically settled.
Oh, wait a minute, that's a windmill, isn't it? What he really means is that the diversity of life, particularly how humans originated, is not scientifically settled.
Of course, it is! Common descent is as firmly established scientifically as that the Earth orbits the Sun rather than vice versa.
As Joshua Rosenau, programs and policy director for the National Center for Science Education, said: "[t]hey're trying to say anything that's not promoting their religion is promoting some other religion."
The lawsuit argues that the new standards will cause Kansas public schools to promote a "non-theistic religious worldview" by allowing only "materialistic" or "atheistic" explanations to scientific questions, particularly about the origins of life and the universe. The suit further argues that state would be "indoctrinating" impressionable students in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution's protections for religious freedom.No, by the time you're in middle school, you'll (hopefully) be educated in science.
Calvert said the new standards are particularly troubling because students would start learning evolutionary concepts in kindergarten.
"By the time you get into the third grade, you learn all the essential elements of Darwinian evolution," Calvert said. "By the time you're in middle school, you're a Darwinist."
As Judge Overton stated in McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education, favorably cited by Justice Powell and Justice O'Connor in their concurrence in Edwards v. Aguillard:
[I]t is clearly established in the case law, and perhaps also in common sense, that evolution is not a religion and that teaching evolution does not violate the Establishment Clause (Citations omitted).As Steven Case, director of the University of Kansas' science education center, said, previous court rulings suggest that this lawsuit "won't hold up."
"This is about as frivolous as lawsuits get," Case said.But what fun would it be if
Update: The NCSE has a post on this with more good legal references.
The Next Generation Science Standards are a completely separate project by a different group. And we can't call the NGSS "common core".
including "intelligent design" - that's what's known as "dog whistle" language.
Well, he got that one more or less right. That's why abiogenesis is not in the curriculum. Can somebody tell Calvert that the Evolution Theory is not about how life arises, but about how new species arise? I mean, he being a lawyer, he must certainly be capable of understanding that it's a bad strategy to argue that your client is innocent of murder if he is accused of burglary.
"No, by the time you're in middle school, you'll (hopefully) be educated in science."
You're presenting a false dichotomy. Anyone educated in science should by definition be a Darwinist, ie recognize Darwin's theories are as valid now as they were 150 years ago.
Actually, no. The term "Darwinist" is creationist-speak for more than just acceptance of Darwin's theories. They mean it to include philosophical materialism and atheism, which is not nessary to accept his theories. People can be and are educated in science without becoming materialists or atheists.
I don't see why creationist-speak should set the rules. Since when are creationists the authorities about the meaning of words?
So to me a Darwinist is something else than what they mean (I already wrote what it means to me). I find that a very handy tactic when debating creationists. First they get confused (hey, I was trying to insult MNb, but he takes it as a compliment) and sometimes they arrive at step two: clarifying that they also object materialism and atheism as you describe.
At that point I'm happy to tell them they are producing nonsense once again, exactly because of your last sentence.
I'm glad to hear Mr Calvert is such a staunch defender of the First Amendment and the freedoms it affords. Presumably, he will lend his support to campaigns to remove unconstitutional religious language from the Pledge of Allegiance and our currency.
Whatever floats your boat but I was not creating a false dichotomy, I was responding in my own way to Calvert's use of the word. You're free to devise your own strategy.
Presumably, he will lend his support to campaigns to remove unconstitutional religious language from the Pledge of Allegiance and our currency.
To wingnuts like Calvert, indoctrinating impressionable students is part and parcel of his religious freedom which they have no freedom to avoid.
That's the trouble with an evidence-based approach, it's actually convincing.*
Hence the attempt to prevent the teaching of evidence-based science.
*Not that a science that has moved well past Darwin should be called "Darwinism," either.