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¡Viva la Evolución!

By Zac Losey
Staff Writer


Source: google.com.

The Next Generation Science Standards, which were developed by a coalition of twenty-six states, are a controversial revision of science education for the state of Kentucky that recently went to committee to be accepted or rejected. Amongst other things, these standards will update teachings on the subjects of evolution and climate change — so naturally, the state’s subcommittee revoked the changes in a 5-1 vote. What’s that? Teach science you say? No way! I weren’t evolved from no apes – if I was, why is there still monkeys around then? CHECKMATE EVILUTIONISTS!

Thanks to overzealous, birdbrained conservative groups and doltish politicians, Kentucky once again appears to be living into the “ignorant and inbred” stereotype that plagues our state. Members of the panel who voted to reject the new guidelines justified their vote in a variety of different ways, with some members of the subcommittee claiming our current standards are better and that rejection of these new standards reflects the will of the people. Sen. Joe Bowen told the Courier-Journal, “From one end of the state to the other, the people of this commonwealth are not ready to embrace these standards for a variety of reasons.”

While he failed to explain what exactly these reasons were, one can imagine to what he might be referring. Perhaps it’s the mountain of evidence that has pretty much proven that global warming and climate change have absolutely nothing to do with human activity (just kidding, we all know they’re not real at all, DUH!). Or the overwhelming scientific consensus that the universe is definitely less than 10,000 years old and a massive worldwide flood accounts for the fossil record and various geological phenomena. He’s also probably referring to the fact that evolution has been pretty much refuted by the scientific community, and that ancient, obviously infallible documents confirm that living organisms have existed pretty much unchanged forever. Wait a second…

Yeah, seriously though, thank Darwin that Gov. Beshear has an inkling of sense left in him and has announced he will implement the new standards despite the committee’s vote. Through his executive powers, Beshear will ensure the new standards become a reality in Kentucky, despite the subcommittee’s ignorance. Naturally, a lot of Kentuckians are upset about this. Many have expressed feelings similar to those from Bowen that I’ve quoted above— that because the people don’t like these guidelines we shouldn’t use them. Because that’s how the world works— if people don’t like facts, we can just pretend they are…well, not facts anymore.

Situations like these frustrate me, just a tad. As a student of science, it makes me want to run my head into a wall when I see comments like Sen. Bowen’s. For some reason he, and a concerning number of others, are under the impression that their personal opinions of data and experimental evidence matter. These people appear to be under the impression that because they personally disagree with things that are as close to fact as we can get, those things shouldn’t be taught in schools. Theories like evolution and climate change make Kentuckians uncomfortable, for various reasons, but that really doesn’t and shouldn’t matter. As the esteemed microbiologist Nathan Wolfe stated, “[T]he objective of science is not to uncover the things that make us comfortable but rather the things as they are.”

Politicians and citizens need to pull their head out of the sand and start taking a real, honest look at these scientific ideas to which they are so adamantly opposed. Instead of simply adhering to the conservative status quo, maybe those opposed to ideas like evolution should actively engage the evidence when making their decisions. If these conservatives don’t want essential, comprehensive and universally accepted scientific concepts taught in Kentucky’s schools, they need to come up with better reasons than the fact that a lot of other ignoramuses that inhabit our state don’t like them either. ¡Viva la Evolución!