Oh, brother, here we go again.

Republican State Board of Education member and potential candidate for the Kansas House Ken Willard expressed concern this week about core science standards being developed for use across the country.

Evolution, according to the developing standards, is recognized as a well-established scientific concept.

Well, it is a well-established concept, to people who separate science from religion, that is.

Willard, who has his own well-established record of trying to effect the teaching of evolution in public schools, said he plans to raise his concerns when the board meets to review the standards next week. His concerns include a fear the science standards promote “naturalism” and “secular humanism” that eliminate God from consideration of how the universe works.

From 1999 to 2007, the Kansas Board of Education adopted five different science standards as conservative Republicans entered and left the board. Eventually, the board evolved to adopt mainstream scientific ideas about evolution.

In the meantime, however, Kansas became the butt of many jokes. Our children and schools were ridiculed, and legitimate questions surfaced about the quality of education in a state that refused to believe in science.

Ken Willard — and others who hold an unreasonable and irrational fear of how evolution is taught — need to resist the urge to blend science and religion. The two, while not mutually exclusive, are not interchangeable. It makes about as much sense to insert religion into science standards as it does to insert evolution into traditional and accepted religious teachings.

Kansas children need to learn the theories and principles that are widely accepted in a given area of study. Imagine how ridiculous this entire issue would seem if the discussion centered on math or spelling, and the board decided to adopt alternate ideas about addition or subtraction, or create its own spelling for common words.

Despite how much Willard and others might not agree with it, evolution is accepted as fact in the scientific world. To teach otherwise is a disservice to Kansas students, a disgrace to our state and a well-worn path we need not walk again.

— The Hutchinson News