FWD:Ky censors evolution (no big bang for THEIR bu

Gary Goodman (sap@TANK.RGS.UKY.EDU)
Wed, 28 Aug 1996 18:43:46 EDT

John Cole. <jrc@TEI.UMASS.EDU> wrote:

JR>No Big Bang for KY tax bucks! Sort of on topic, I hope. In Iowa I once fough
JR>a "big bang ban" because a State Senator thought it referred to sex!!

Out in Colorado a school has pulled a NOVA tape on the Big Bang as being

JR>--John R. Cole
JR>(FWD from NCSE)

JR>Associated Press article from the Lexington Herald-Leader, Sunday, 8/25/96:

JR>Banning the Big Bang

JR>Marshall schools glue together pages of text dealing with scientific theory

JR>DRAFFENVILLE -- A school superintendent didn't want elementary students read
JR>one textbook explanation for the creation of the universe without also heari
JR>about the Bible's explanation.

JR>So the superintendent of Marshall County schools in Western Kentucky
JR>confiscated hundreds of the textbooks from fifth- and sixth-graders for
JR>officials to glue together two pages that explained the big-bang theory.

JR>"We're not going to teach one theory and not teach another theory,"
JR>Superintendent Kenneth Shadowen said. "We're in a conservative area and a
JR>conservative county, and we want to maintain the relationship with our local
JR>churches and community. It has nothing to do with censorship or anything li

JR>Shadowen objected to the textbook's making no mention of the biblical accoun
JR>of creation in Genesis.

JR>Some parents said they were appalled by the decision.

JR>"I asked my son how his day went, and he told me, 'They took our science
JR>books,' and I thought it was a joke," said Sandi Hines of Calvert City, a
JR>mother and aspiring high school science teacher.

JR>"The issue is censorship, and a small group of people have decided to censor

JR>Terie Hall of Calvert City, the mother of a sixth-grader, said the episode
JR>reminded her of a "witch-hunt in the 1600s."

JR>"I'm outraged, disappointed and embarrassed," she said. I was so impressed
JR>with this school system. Now I plan to protest it to the fullest. I want m
JR>child to be informed about all theories."

JR>The book, which says that the big bang is only a theory and not a proven fac
JR>had passed through the school system's textbook-screening committee and was
JR>also approved by the state textbook commission.

JR>The action probably is not illegal, state officials said.

JR>"It's unusual," said Lisa Gross, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department o
JR>Education. "But we are not going to send curriculum police down there to
JR>unglue pages."

JR>The big-bang theory holds that all matter in the universe was once concentra
JR>in a tiny, dense ball, and that billions of years ago the ball exploded,
JR>leading to the formation of the universe.

JR>The test in question is available in nearly every state. Titled *Discovery
JR>Works*, it is published by Silver, Burdett & Ginn, a unit of Simon & Schuste

JR>One of the textbook's co-authors, Lowell J. Bethel, a professor of science
JR>education at the University of Texas at Austin, said it was the first time h
JR>had heard this objection about the book.

JR>Shadowen said he made the administrative decision earlier this month after t
JR>principals raised concerns about the book, saying they would feel uncomforta
JR>sending home a "one-sided" view of creation. He declined to identify the

JR>Some of the gluing was done at the schools and some at the central office, h

JR>Shadowen said he had not briefed the school board about his decision. But V
JR>Chairman Mike Wyatt said he thought the board would back the superintendent.

JR>Gluing the pages together "was the only fair way to do it," Wyatt said. "Th
JR>should have been an opportunity that all thoughts be presented."


Let me just say that thus far I haven't found a single fellow Kentuckians
not appalled at this idiotic censorship. Kentucky has been sweating
blood to upgrade the entire school systems (some of our systems and
schools have always been excellent (my first principal was the Ph.D
co-author of the standard college English textbook) -- but most of our
schools were WAY short of money and not enough emphasis on academics),
KERA is now a national standard for educational reform. But along with
the high standards comes greater local autonomy. Freedom included the
freedom for damned fools to be foolish.

DO NOT judge Kentucky by this dead-head please!

Gary D. Goodman
sap@TANK.RGS.UKY.EDU - McDaniels, KY
"The aim of science is to seek the simplest explanation of complex facts.
...Seek simplicity and distrust it."
--A. N. Whitehead, The Concept of Nature