Introduction

In the English language, the word "canard" refers to "an unfounded or false, deliberately misleading story."  This website was created to address a particularly disingenuous canard regarding a supposed "memo" by a member of Kansas Citizens for Science.

The story is being passed around by Intelligent Design (ID) proponents who are actively campaigning for "conservative" candidates in the 2006 Kansas Board of Education elections.

Background

On February 8th, 2005, Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline met with the six "conservative" members of the Kansas Board of Education (KBOE) to discuss school finance litigation and to offer his help if the KBOE decided to put "evolution is a theory not a fact" disclaimer stickers on science textbooks in Kansas.  Kline did not meet with the four moderate members of the board.

Because Kline held two meetings with three members each, he was accused of violating the spirit of the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA).  The law requires that meetings involving a quorum of the KBOE (6 of the 10 members) take place in public.

In response to this action by the six "conservative" members of the KBOE, a poster known as "Red State Rabble" wrote the following post on the "Public Discussion" forum hosted by Kansas Citizens for Science.
 

Sticker Shock -- Time for a Counter Punch?

I know some of us are disappointed about the board's actions. I think they've over-reached and the time is ripe for a strong counterpunch. My proposal is this:
1. Publically demand that the board members who participated in the meetings with Phill Kline resign from the board. If we can find a prominent individual or group to join us in this call it would maximize the impact.
2. We should ask,"What are Phill Kline and the board conservatives teaching our children? That it's okay to break/skirt the law?"
By meeting in two groups of three, the board and Kline demonstrated that they were aware of the requirements of KOMA.
They nevertheless went ahead in an "attempt" to skirt the law
As always, they were inept. The law includes serial meetings on the same subject.
Is this what we want our children to learn from the people who run the schools in this state and from the man who is responsible for enforcing the law?

Link: "Red State Rabble's" opening post, February 10, 2005

In response to Red State Rabble's opening post, Liz Craig submitted the following post later that day.
 

Pat,

I admire your attitude. I feel the same way. However, the BOE answers to no one. They have no reason to resign. They are in the cat-bird seat, they have all the power, and they will do what they want to do.

My strategy at this point is the same as it was in 1999: notify the national and local media about what's going on and portray them in the harshest light possible, as political opportunists, evangelical activists, ignoramuses, breakers of rules, unprincipled bullies, etc.

There may no way to head off another science standards debacle, but we can sure make them look like asses as they do what they do.

Our target is the moderates who are not that well educated about the issues, most of whom probably are theistic evolutionists. There is no way to convert the creationists.

The solution is really political. And unfortunately, the creationists on the BOE are making their power grab so early in the game, it's far away from the 2006 elections. Think they didn't plan it that way?

In the meantime, let's shine a light on them and their motives, and let the press and public know what's really going on.

Link: Liz Craig's Original Post on the KCFS Public Discussion Form, February 10, 2005

There are a few important points to make about this post:

  1. The post represented the personal opinion of Ms. Craig and no one else.
  2. The specific focus of the post was clearly identified as the KBOE majority, often called the "conservative majority."
  3. At the time of the post, Liz Craig was listed as "Secretary" and a "Media / PR Contact" on the "KCFS Board of Directors" page of the KCFS website (archived).

Because of continued confusion about the relationship between KCFS and the discussion forum the organization hosts, Jack Krebs, current KCFS President and administrator of the discussion forums, has since posted the following:

Please note the relationship between this discussion forum and KCFS.

This forum is provided to the general public as an opportunity to discuss topics broadly related to science and science education. Beside science itself this can include religion, philosophy, education, politics, social issues, law and so on. However, as with any host, we reserve the right to exclude people from the forum if their behavior warrants.

None of the ideas or comments presented here represent the position of KCFS on any of these subjects. Some posters may be KCFS members, but many are not; and even those that are speak for themselves and not as representatives of KCFS. Exceptions to this (such as this post) will be clearly identified.

In general, the KCFS main website (www.kcfs.org) and KCFS News and Resources (www.kcfs.org/kcfsnews) are the homes of material officially realted to KCFS.

Comments on how to improve or add to this statement are welcome.

Jack Krebs - admin, for KCFS

Link: Jack Krebs, "Relationship of this forum to KCFS," June 19, 2006

Now that you are familiar with the background, it is time to examine the evidence.

Continue to "The Natural History of an ID Canard" >

Click here to send this site to a friend!

Jeremy Mohn, 2006