Christians Sue to Stop Science Standards in Kansas

In case you thought Kansas hadn’t had enough idiocy over science curricula in public schools, a group of fundamentalist Christians has filed a federal lawsuit to prevent the implementation of science standards on the grounds that they will teach things that are “inconsistent with the theistic religious beliefs” of the plaintiffs. The Pacific Justice Institute, which is representing the plaintiffs, said in a press release:

In addition to citing numerous areas of law that the standards violate, the complaint cites that 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.”…

Brad Dacus, President of Pacific Justice Institute noted, “it’s an egregious violation of the rights of Americans to subject students—as young as five—to an authoritative figure such as a teacher who essentially tells them that their faith is wrong.” He continued, “it’s one thing to explore alternatives at an appropriate age, but to teach theory that is devoid of any alternative which aligns with the belief of people of faith is just wrong.”

Exactly! So they should immediately stop teaching that the earth is round because that would subject children of Flat Earth Society members to a “teacher who essentially tells them that their faith is wrong.” And heliocentricity has got to go too, since that will expose the children of geocentrists to a “teacher who essentially tells them that their faith is wrong.” There isn’t a single thing taught in any school that does not conflict with someone’s religious beliefs. That has precisely nothing to do with what ought to be taught in public schools.

By the way, the co-counsel on this is apparently John Calvert, a longtime veteran of the Kansas creationism wars. That should be fun. You can read the full complaint here.

32 comments on this post.
  1. Chiroptera:

    Huh. If someone disagreed with the fact that people can’t flap their arms and fly around and this disagreement was based on religious reasons, then the state schools couldn’t teach kids to not jump off of roofs?

    I mean, this is what these nuts are trying to say. The state shouldn’t be allowed to teach facts that have now, in the 21st century, become rather obvious and incontrovertible just because their religious beliefs contradict reality.

  2. colnago80:

    Why stop with science? Demand that the alternative hypothesis that pi – 3 should be taught because it is implied in the bible.

  3. busterggi:

    The Dark Ages never end.

  4. Alverant:

    “it’s an egregious violation of the rights of Americans to subject students—as young as five—to an authoritative figure such as a teacher who essentially tells them that their faith is wrong”

    But he has no problem with teaching creationism which tells non-christians that THEIR faith is wrong.

  5. eric:

    They’ll fail because they’ve ignored one of the key parts of Lemon: a goverment policy or statement can have a religious effect, as long as it’s primary effect is secular. The primary effect of teaching evolution is, well, teaching evolution.

    ***

    Completely off-topic, but Alan West said such an incredibly stupid thing about the government shut-down, it’s worth sharing. From WashPo:

    Former congressman Allen West (R-Fla.) says in a new e-mail to supporters that voters should unseat every last member of the House and Senate if they cannot avert a shutdown.

    “Congress has a deadline: 11:59 PM EDT tonight,” West writes. “If they fail to meet it and the government shuts down, every single one of the 535 members should be voted out in their next election.”

    Evidently, actually being in Congress didn’t help him remember that 66-67 Senators can’t be voted out in the next election.

  6. raven:

    thereby depriving them of the right to be free from government that favors one religious view over another.”…

    This complaint has been covered by WEIT and PT.

    It’s basically every ancient fundie xian lie and fallacy all strung together. Most of which have already lost in one court or another. They are big on “worldviews”, which is an incoherent concept related to Postmodernism.

    To cite one example. they are claiming that science is both, 1. A religion and 2. equal to atheism. This is a contradiction but fundies, you can’t expect logic or thinking.

    It should just be summarily dismissed by the courts, but these cuckoo days in a cuckoo state like Kansas, who knows?

  7. Gregory in Seattle:

    How appropriate for Blasphemy Day: a group of Talibangelicals suing because reality insults their religious beliefs.

  8. raven:

    FWIW, the complaint is amusing, or it would be if these weren’t drooling, crazed religious kooks intent on destroying public education and heading on back to the Dark Ages.

    Here is one such claim. BTW, they tried this worldview discrimination claim in court in the California Berkeley admissions case. And lost.

    Xpost from PT.

    will have the effect of causing Kansas public schools to establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview.

    This again.

    1. There is no such thing as a worldview. It’s not just Oogedy Boogedy fundie xianity or science.

    There are thousands, millions, or billions of worldviews, depending on where you draw the line. You could easily claim that everyone has their own individual worldview.

    2. Nontheistic religious worldview is an oxymoron. This is just the tired old fundie lie that science is a religion. It’s not.

    3. This is the tired old “worldview discrimination” tactic. They tried this in California in the textbook/private xian school case and lost big time.

    4. Teaching science does not “establish and endorse” anything. You aren’t required to believe anything, free country and all that. What you are required to know is what science has found out about the world. Whether you believe in reality or not is entirely optional.

  9. Abby Normal:

    As a Christian parent I demand that the government provide an inferior education to all children so that my kids don’t ask me questions that make me uncomfortable. So knock it off with this evolution crap and definitely no sex education.

  10. Artor:

    You know, my ancestral religious tradition tells me I should take the heads of my enemies, pickle them in cedar oil, and display them prominently at my doorpost. (Don’t get me started on the lamentations of their wimmenz) Funny thing, my schools never said a thing about that practice, so maybe I should go to Kansas and start my collection?

  11. Doug Little:

    Hope this gets slapped with the label frivolous and a large fine to boot.

  12. democommie:

    @10:

    No shit. Whaddaya s’pose happens when somebody wants to get equal time for the Hindu, Navajo, Mayan, Aztec or any of hundreds of other “creation” stories?

  13. pianoman, Heathen & Torontophile:

    I am not the smartest person in the world, but when I listen to the things these christians say, I feel like a Mensa member.

  14. lofgren:

    It’s not reality’s fault that your belief system contradicts it. This is a good reason to not teach Christianity, not a good reason to not teach reality.

  15. rationalinks:

    A a Kansas resident, I hope this gets slapped down and slapped down hard. I have kids attending public school here, and contrary to public belief, the schools here are excellent, some of the top in the country (at least in my corner of the state the schools are good). Crap like this just pisses me off. I don’t want to have to pull my kids out of an excellent education program simply because some christofacist thinks his christian privilege trumps my kids education.

  16. Modusoperandi:

    After this, maybe they can go after Civics (and Social Studies. And History. And Philosophy). I’m sick and tired of my children being taught this “Democracy” garbage. If the Lord wanted it, He surely would’ve mentioned it.

  17. Cuttlefish:

    I want to take these people, and the “all the best scientists are Christians” people, and lock them in a box together.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/cuttlefish/2013/09/27/wait-i-thought-all-the-best-scientists-were-christians/

  18. F [is for failure to emerge]:

    I want you to do that too, Cuttlefish.

  19. Michael Heath:

    Brad Dacus, President of Pacific Justice Institute noted, “it’s an egregious violation of the rights of Americans to subject students—as young as five—to an authoritative figure such as a teacher who essentially tells them that their faith is wrong.”

    Wow, just wow.

    First off, it’s the parent’s right to abuse their kids and lie to them that Brad Dacus defends here, not a five year’s old faith.

    Mr. Dacus’s also effectively arguing that even if science has falsified the beliefs of the parents of the students; public schools shouldn’t have the power to educate its students on what’s objectively true and what isn’t true if such facts contradict the false beliefs of parents. And Dacus’ the president of this outfit?

  20. Modusoperandi:

    Doesn’t Pacific Justice sound like a west coast cop drama from the 80s? I’m pretty sure Baywatch was a Pacific Justice spin-off.

    And what are they doing in Kansas, anyway?

  21. caseloweraz:

    And what are they doing in Kansas, anyway?

    To fight justice and reason anywhere is to fight them everywhere.

  22. caseloweraz:

    The PJI press release: …the complaint cites that 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.”…

    So because science is just a religious view like Islam, the BaHa’i faith, or any religion, it should not be taught.

    I suggest a demonstration of the truth of this. Let all disputant watch “Hour of the Gun”, an episode of the original Star Trek. Then let them set up an experiment along the same lines. The pro-science educators can have the guns. The PJI lawyers and the plaintiffs can use their faith to prevent the bullets from doing any harm.

    Sounds fair to me, given the premise argued by the PJI. No need to travel to Tombstone, AZ; it could be done quite easily in Dodge City.

  23. timberwoof:

    Watch the defendants call Richard Lewontin as an expert witness … and then watch the plaintiffs try to get him excommunic—I mean disqualified.

  24. Rip Steakface:

    Completely off-topic, but Alan West said such an incredibly stupid thing about the government shut-down, it’s worth sharing. From WashPo:

    Former congressman Allen West (R-Fla.) says in a new e-mail to supporters that voters should unseat every last member of the House and Senate if they cannot avert a shutdown.

    “Congress has a deadline: 11:59 PM EDT tonight,” West writes. “If they fail to meet it and the government shuts down, every single one of the 535 members should be voted out in their next election.”

    Evidently, actually being in Congress didn’t help him remember that 66-67 Senators can’t be voted out in the next election.

    Well, let’s be fair. He didn’t say just “in the next election.” He said, “in their next election.” This would include the junior senators whose elections aren’t for another five years.

  25. cactuswren:

    Oh, but my right to belieeeeeeeve! Belief always trumps reality: witness anti-vaxxers’ right to believe that vaccinations cause autism. Or Hobby Lobby’s attorney, asking that his clients be given (emphasis mine) “a narrow exemption from the law that says they don’t have to provide drugs they believe cause abortions”. As Fred Clark at Slacktivist pointed out, this attorney very carefully used the word “believe”, precisely because “he is aware that the drugs in question do not, in fact, cause abortion. Emergency contraception is just exactly that — contraception. It does not end or interfere with an existing pregnancy.

    “It doesn’t matter if the evangelical gazillionaire owners of Hobby Lobby ‘believe’ that emergency contraception causes abortions. It does not do that.

    “Nor does it matter if this belief is passionately sincere and sincerely passionate. Sincerity and passion won’t make it any less incorrect.”

    But that’s what’s being demanded here: that belief, on the basis of its passionate sincerity and sincere passion, be allowed to trump reality, to override scientific fact.

  26. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!:

    Just how many court slap downs do the creationists need before they finally get it I wonder?

  27. Ex Patriot:

    More asshats trying to dumb down another education system. They are to stupid to ever learn that it usually doesn’t work. I hope this gets tossed out very quick and they are fined for wasting court time.

  28. Randall Gross:

    Ed: some believe that PJI is puppet org funded & managed by reclusive dominionist dirtbag Howard Ahmanson jr, who’s pretty adept at distancing himself from the hate groups and foundations he’s spun up over the years. See Jerry Sloan at MGW here http://mgwnews.angelfire.com/images/MGW101509.pdf page 22

  29. Bob Dowling:

    Just how many court slap downs do the creationists need before they finally get it I wonder?

    They only need to succeed once. Eternal vigilance is required, I’m afraid.

  30. birgerjohansson:

    Can I file a lawsuit claiming that Thulsa Doom has the right to sacrifice humans to giant snakes?

  31. abb3w:

    @28, Randall Gross

    Ed: some believe that PJI is puppet org funded & managed by reclusive dominionist dirtbag Howard Ahmanson jr

    While there does seem some concordance between apparent PJI objectives and those reported for Ahmanson, and a few associates in common, are there any more concrete connections showing such a money trail?

  32. Randall Gross:

    Unfortunately there’s not much out there on the recluse to link to, however I haven’t had a lot of time to do much digging though.

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