Sandra Bickley and Kim Hansen Should Not Be Elected to the Fremont School District 79 School Board

When it’s happening in your neck of the woods — about 45 minutes north of Chicago — the “debate” about Creationism takes on a whole new level of seriousness. That’s why I’m paying special attention to the Fremont School District 79 school board elections. Here’s what you need to know:

There are 4 candidates running for 3 seats on the board. 2 of them believe in Creationism. 1 is currently the board president.

That means if the other Creationist gets elected, the science curriculum in Mundelein and surrounding areas will become a wasteland of Christian nonsense.

“I think from a scientific standpoint [Creationism] can be given as a viewpoint,” board President Sandra Bickley said in the interview. “(It’s) another theory to consider.”

Fellow candidate Kim Hansen had a similar take on the controversial topic.

“It should be presented in a very broad type of curriculum or structure,” said Hansen, a first-time candidate.

Bickley called creationism “one set of theory” and thought it should be taught in science classes as part of a unit, although not necessarily promoted.

“It’s something out there,” she said. “I don’t think it’s something that should be ignored.”

Hansen also thought creationism belonged on public-school curriculums.

“There is no right or wrong” when it comes to people’s beliefs, she said.

Hansen suggested the topic be discussed at a community forum. Bickley said she intends to bring the topic to the full board and thought it could be the subject of a survey.
“I think it’s a great topic,” Bickley said.

There’s no need to rehash every argument against Creationism, but we know it’s not science. Scientists know it’s not science. The only people who think it’s science are Christians with an agenda to peddle their faith into public schools.

And there is absolutely a right and wrong when it comes to people’s beliefs on the subject: Anyone who believes in Creationism is wrong. It’s that simple. There’s no evidence for their beliefs. It’s completely Bible-based. Creationism doesn’t belong anywhere where real education is taking place. Evolution is supported by all the available evidence and is the backbone of proper scientific understanding.

Matt Lowry is a science teacher in Illinois and understands why this election is so important:

This is important because one things creationists do is track each others’ success with things like this; if they have even mild success in an area, they will make a concerted push in that area (and others). If you don’t beat them back quickly, they’ll multiply and try to take over the school board; then, the next thing you know, you’ve got another Dover trial on your hands.

I don’t live in the district, so I can’t cast a vote against Bickley or Hansen. But maybe some readers in the area can.

At the very least, maybe this posting can make it atop Google searches for their names in time for the elections…

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  • Why aren’t they pushing to teach astrology as a theory too? It’s just as right as creationism when it comes to science.

  • How about Numerology in math class… ?

  • SeekerLancer

    If they do win the election I can’t imagine they’d win the court battle that will ensue.

  • Stephen P

    @SeekerLancer: perhaps not, but science shouldn’t have to be decided by the courts. If these things keep going to the courts, there is a risk that sooner or later the creationists will manage to find a judge who is as benighted as they are.

    It’s completely Bible-based.

    For the benefit of Christians who haven’t closed their minds completely, it’s probably worth hammering on the fact that it’s completely Old Testament-based. You know, the same Old Testament that prohibits eating pork and prescribes the death penalty for working on Saturdays.

  • Does the NCSE know about this? There’s probably not much they can do or would do at this point in the game, but if the creationists win, they’ll need to keep an eye on the situation.

  • Claudia

    “There is no right or wrong” when it comes to people’s beliefs, she said

    Hansen is in fact a reptilian with a brain the size and shape of a malformed pea who has a well concealed tail, only eats the blood of children and is a closet lesbian scientologist.

    She of course can’t tell me I’m wrong because “There is no right or wrong” when it comes to beliefs, now is there?

    Beyond the mind-numbing base stupidity and ignorance that is on display whenever creationism gets presented as scientific, I worry about the general quality of education. Creationism and it’s twin, Intelligent Design, are so laughably unscientific that even a cursory glance at them with actual scientific understanding will reveal them to be ridiculous. The fact that they are presented as valid means that those presenting them are either deeply dishonest or incredibly ignorant. Not only that, they trust that the electorate is equally ignorant. An electorate that elects a creationist school board member is not an enlightened one. This means that the education of the children of that town is at risk not merely because of a school board member, but because the atmosphere needed to elect him or her is one that does not value science in the slightest.

  • The problem is that they’ve assumed that the scientific theory of evolution = the philosophy of atheistic naturalism. Can someone just buy them all a copy of Francis Collins’ book to point out a) the evidence for evolutionary biology, and b) that the apparent conflict between faith and evolution is due to the false equivocation shown above?

  • tlawren

    This is kind of off topic, but related to your comment, “peddle their faith into public schools.”

    Does anyone know an atheist working in a religious school? I know a lot of religious people (I’m from the Bible Belt) who want the “controversy” taught in public schools, but they never say anything about doing the same in their schools. I’m curious to know whether or not this happens anywhere.

    I taught high school science (physics) for two years until I was laid off due to budget cuts. When I was looking for a new teaching job, the only physics jobs I found were at religious schools. I considered applying to them, but I didn’t know what to do about the statement of faith part of the applications.

  • I don’t get the logic of these creationist. If they want to teach creationism as a theory alongside evolutionary theory then they will have to do what all scientist do: present testable evidence to support the theory.

    I’m not an atheist — I’m a deist — but I have long come to the conclusion that religion is a scourge upon humanity.

  • Admiral Ackbar

    “There is no right or wrong” when it comes to people’s beliefs, she said.

    Unfortunately for Kim Hansen, science isn’t like that. Phlogiston: wrong. Flat Earth: wrong. The ether: wrong. Creationism: wrong.

  • Bob

    I believe there’s a duplicate of Earth in exact opposition to us in orbit. I saw it in a movie, even. Can we teach that in school, now?

    And no matter how ardently you believe gravity is ‘just a theory,’ a hammer will not float when you drop it.

  • Hemant,

    Do you have Mundelein readers of this blog?

    How about Fermi Lab employees? Surely Fermi Lab would not want to see the local area degrade the level of education that is offered to residents and potential staff.

  • Hazor

    “There is no right or wrong” when it comes to people’s beliefs, she said.

    Science isn’t about beliefs. There is a right or wrong when it comes to reality.

  • Dane

    Cant these people just understand that if experts in a specific field don’t give any credence to an idea then it shouldn’t be taught in the study of that field?

    In terms of issues that are relevant to atheists, the idea of teaching creationism in public school drives me crazier than anything.

  • Annie

    There must be some loophole (not that we should have to have one) that would eliminate this potential problem because a science teacher instructing students in “intelligent design” or other creationist views is really teaching out of his or her specialization. I’m a science teacher, and I’ve been asked once if I teach the “alternative theory” of ID. I answered, “Oh, no! I’m a science teacher and surely not trained or qualified to teach theology!”

  • Whew, I’m relieved this isn’t happening in Fremont, California.

    Not that Illinois is any better, but I would be really shocked if something like this were going on in my own backyard. It’s hard enough to believe that it actually happens anywhere outside the Bible Belt.

  • Here’s how creationism would be taught:

    Teacher: Here are a bunch of hunches that people from the Bronze Age made concerning the creation of our universe and planet. Creationism is not a theory. It is merely a set of long-disproved hypotheses. I don’t even know why I bring it up other than your parents insistence on keeping you stupid to initiate a dream sequence upon your demise. I might as well tell you that Jupiter had sex with Venus and nine months later Earth popped out. And the moon is just Earth’s meconium. Any questions?

    Student: Will this be on the final?

    Teacher: (laughs) Goodness, no. Now open the real science textbooks I bought you with my own money.

  • Tracy B

    Funny how evolutionists don’t think their belief in a THEORY isn’t a form of FAITH. And a FAITH based on the theory created by an incestous, mad, and delusional man 150 years ago. And it still can’t be proven and is still only a theory. But evolutionists like those who have clearly shown above like to degrade and call names and make fun of creationists. It’s reassuring at least creationists don’t stoop to that level and are generally much more mature. Call creationists belief a FAITH but so is an evolutionist’s.

  • Annie

    @ Tom is Money- Brilliant!

  • Dezinerau

    @Anna: from a developed country where nobody is even attempting such stupidity, it’s sometimes hard to believe that not only are there individuals that stupid but whole communities voting for it.

    The U.S. really needs compulsory voting to force the disenfranchised and lazy to pick a side.

  • @Tracy B – get hold of Francis Collin’s book ‘The Language of God’, for in it, he, an evangelical Christian and eminent scientist corrects the wrong assumptions that lie behind your complaint that it’s only a ‘theory’ (Gravity is also ‘still only a theory’ btw).

  • Steve

    That people aren’t taught the difference between a hypothesis and a scientific theory is also a failing of the education system. That one isn’t confined to the US though. There should be something about general scientific principles in the curriculum.

    “Scientific fact” also has a different meaning in science. Evolution is fact in that it is widely accepted by pretty much everyone in the field.

  • Mihangel apYrs

    @Tracy B

    which particular creation theory would you want taught?

    Each religion has its own, and mostly differ (apart from the jewish/christain one that was cribbed for the others floating around at the time!)

    Your little rant about Darwin was of course anodyne: Darwin may have published firat but he wasn’t isolated in his thinking. And since then a century of work has beeb done to (dis)prove the fact – no-one has.

  • Claudia

    That people aren’t taught the difference between a hypothesis and a scientific theory is also a failing of the education system. That one isn’t confined to the US though. There should be something about general scientific principles in the curriculum.


    A rigorous teaching of the scientific method and general training in critical thinking should be a basic part of education. Evolutionary theory is beautiful. As a biochemist, I would love everyone to learn the history of life on Earth and a central pillar of the biological sciences. However a higher priority is that people understand what words like “evidence” and “theory” mean in a scientific sense. People like Tracy above would never be able to say “it’s only a theory” or “that’s just another form of faith” if they actually understood what the words meant. Beyond that though, things as different as homeopathy and religion depend on people not understanding the scientific process and concepts such as the burden of proof.

    Critical thinking and the ability and inclination to demand evidence and be able to distinguish what does and does not constitute a good argument should be taught at every level of education. What good is it to give kids the bricks of fact if you don’t give them the tools of thought to build the house of understanding?

  • “Science Nut”

    @ Tracey “…evolutionists don’t think their belief in a THEORY isn’t a form of FAITH.”

    For your statement to be true you’ll need a very flexible definition of ‘faith.’

    Faith is defined as belief in that which can not be proven. The fact of evolution…change of life forms over billions of years…has the evidence to support acceptance of that fact.

    Think about your own faith. Do you have evidence to support your belief?

  • “Science Nut”

    For anyone with a lingering doubt what a pedagogical train wreck this might be, may I direct your attention to a documentary that may be viewed for free…until 3/12.

    It is about 80 mins. long…about the battle in Kansas in 2005…and is a balanced view of both sides’ POV. Excellent!!!

  • @Anna: from a developed country where nobody is even attempting such stupidity, it’s sometimes hard to believe that not only are there individuals that stupid but whole communities voting for it.

    Yes, it’s quite embarrassing. Even though I live here, it’s hard for me to believe it. I guess there really are two different Americas. I didn’t realize there were people who denied evolution until I was in high school, and I was in college before I actually met one of them.