Claiming the teaching of evolution promotes atheism, and creates “a hostile learning environment for those of faith,” a group of anti-evolution Christians in Kansas have filed a lawsuit challenging the state's public school science curriculum.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday, Sept. 26, in Federal District Court, challenges the Kansas State Board of Education's adoption of certain science standards, claiming the standards “will have the effect of causing Kansas public schools to establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview” in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The complaint claims the standards cause the state "to promote religious beliefs that are inconsistent with the theistic religious beliefs of plaintiffs, thereby depriving them of the right to be free from government that favors one religious view over another."
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 the state would be "indoctrinating" impressionable students in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution's protections for religious freedom.
Similar science standards are used in at least half the states across the country.
Steven Case, director of the University of Kansas' science education center, said previous court rulings suggest that the new lawsuit "won't hold up."
"This is about as frivolous as lawsuits get," Case said.
The lawsuit demonstrates that If there is a controversy about evolution, it is not scientific. The controversy is not about science, but religion. The fact is, that once the theory of evolution is accepted, a literal, fundamentalist reading of Biblical creation is rendered untenable. Many Christian fundamentalists are simply unable to accept evolution as a scientific reality for this reason.
Evolution is the single, unifying scientific explanation for the diversity of life on earth, and the foundation upon which the biological sciences are built. The scientific theory of evolution is accepted by an overwhelming majority of mainstream scientists around the world as the cornerstone of biology.
A failure to teach children the scientific reality of evolution is a failure to teach children the foundation upon which modern medicine and related biological sciences are built. Indeed, many would argue the failure to teach children such basic scientific concepts as evolution constitutes a form of child abuse.
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