LETTERS

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN
Willis contributed a lot to Hillsboro bands

As many know Connee Willis has retired from her service in the Hillsboro Senior Center. She and husband Harold, as I understand, are moving to Wichita.

Before they do I would like to take a moment to make a tribute to Harold. Mr. Willis ended his long and distinguished career as a band director here in Hillsboro in 1995. He came to Hillsboro in 1985 from Pierce, Neb. His teaching career started in 1958.

We in the Hillsboro band would like to recognize the achievements he made while he was here. Not only did the band receive the top rating at state band contest most of the years he was here, it was selected to play for the state music convention in Wichita in 1988.

Also during his tenure, Mr. Willis was involved in the building of the new band room and entire fine arts facility. He also oversaw the purchase of much of the standard band literature that we have.

After many years we feel we are just beginning to approach some of what was accomplished during his time here. On behalf of the Hillsboro band and many in the community who sat under Mr. Willis, we want to say “thank you” for the impact you have made on our band and our community.

Gregg Walker

USD 410 director of bands

Hillsboro

God and evolution are not incompatible

As a Kansas biology teacher, I frequently encounter religiously-motivated objections to evolution. With the current state science standards featuring intelligently designed “criticisms” of evolution, I think it is reasonable to expect the volume of these objections to increase.

Back in February 2005, I spoke at one of the public comment sessions about the new science standards. My concern was that the proposed changes went beyond the scientific evidence by describing evolutionary theory as an “unguided” process.

It was my opinion that the proposed standards unnecessarily mixed philosophical assumptions with scientific explanations.

As the students in my biology classes learn, scientific explanations can only refer to causes that we can detect with our senses (or with the help of instruments) and for which there is usually widespread agreement.

Because “supernatural” beings like God are, by definition, above the laws of nature that restrict our sensing abilities, scientists cannot reliably detect or measure them. Therefore, science must remain silent on the question of the existence or potential influence of God.

Kansas State University geologist Keith Miller recently wrote an open letter the Kansas State Board of Education (KSBE) that addressed this very issue. Miller, an evangelical Christian, was responding to the supporters of the new science standards who have been traveling around the state, relentlessly declaring that evolutionary theory is inherently atheistic.

Here is how Miller’s letter ended:

“As a parent, I do not want my child told in science class that evolution is a meaningless and purposeless process that God has nothing to do with. Ironically, the current board standards ask that teachers do just that.

“In their misguided attempt to make God a part of science, they have instead instructed teachers to teach that evolution is a Godless process. How very sad!”

Like Dr. Miller, I too have noticed that the supporters of the new standards have become masters of unintentional irony. For instance, here is how the supporters’ new Web site refers to people like me:

“However, there are some in Kansas, and around the country, now using their voices to try to undermine Kansas’ science standards and stifle discussion of the scientific evidence they don’t like.”

In my opinion, this statement correctly describes the KSBE majority, not those of us who oppose what they have done. They are the ones who have undermined Kansas’ science standards by subverting the normal procedures and ignoring the recommendations of their own committee of experts.

They are the ones who are trying to stifle discussion of the scientific evidence by promoting “criticisms” of evolution that have been thoroughly rejected by the scientific community.

They are the ones who have made it known to the public that they don’t like evolution by calling it an “age-old fairy tale” (Connie Morris) and asserting that “if you compare evolution and the Bible, you have to decide which one you believe” (Steve Abrams).

It seems to me quite unusual that some Christians feel comfortable restricting the dimensions of God’s toolbox. In reality, no one is forced to accept blind chance. Scientific investigation has established that certain natural processes are apparently unpredictable. In other words, they appear to occur randomly as far as we can tell with our limited and fallible senses.

Even so, a truly omnipotent God could still be imminent in all things, deftly using an apparently “unguided” process to create this intricate masterpiece we call life.

As a Christian who accepts evolution, I have a plea for my fellow believers:

Regardless of what we personally believe, we must stop insisting that evolution and belief in God are incompatible. This claim constructs an obstacle that can potentially cause other believers to stumble. When adherents to this viewpoint are persuaded by the scientific evidence of evolution, they often feel forced to abandon their belief in God.

Why do some believers insist on setting up this unnecessary crisis of faith for their fellow travelers?

In my view, religious faith that looks to science for confirmation is not really faith at all. I personally believe that modern science describes the universe as God intends it to be. However, unlike the current KSBE majority, I do not desire for my personal beliefs to be unfairly elevated above those of my fellow citizens across the state.

On Aug. 1, please join me in voting for a KSBE candidate who will reject these flawed science standards in favor of standards that are objectively neutral on the question of God’s existence.

Jeremy Mohn

Olathe

Editor’s note: The writer is a 1995 graduate of Hillsboro High School. He currently teaches at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park.

Two GOP candidates know about Hillsboro

I know the primary election is not the most exciting thing in the world, but we have a chance to vote for a couple of people who actually know the location of HIllsboro and have been here.

One, of course, is our senator, Jim Barnett, who is running for governor, and the other is Jana Shaver, who is running for state school board.

Both have been in our town recently and have contacts that feel open to expressing the ideas of what’s best for Hillsboro to them. Everyone is probably aware of Sen. Barnett and his high level of respect in the Senate.

Jana Shaver, from Independence, took the time to visit with our school officials, business people and senior citizens recently.

She is a lifelong Kansan and has worked in Kansas public schools for the past 27 years. She is an advocate of local control, not micro-managing.

As a business owner, I was impressed she is concerned about making sure our schools prepare all students to supply the workforce of the future and give them the skills to attract new business to Kansas because of the quality of the workforce.

Being forward thinking, she wants the state school board to work on important issues such as the teacher shortage and let the local school board determine the best way to implement policies for its district.

Please remember to vote Aug. 1. If you haven’t already decided on a candidate, I would recommend these people to you because I think they will look out for Hillsboro.

Lou Greenhaw

Hillsboro

Canfield the only true conservative

We are only days away for Republicans of Kansas to have a chance to cast their vote in the primary election for a governor candidate to run against Gov. Sebelius.

Have you done your research? Do you know where the candidates stand on the issues?

Ken Canfield, a fourth-generation Kansan, and Kathe Decker have devoted their lives to public service, improving our nation’s public policy and strengthening families. Along the way they have earned respect, recognition, and honors from leaders across the nation.

Why is Ken Canfield electable? Why is he the best candidate to take on Sebelius?

Ken has consulted the past three presidential administrations and is nationally recognized as a consensus-building leader.

He is the only Republican candidate who can bring outside resources and attention to the race to match the incumbent’s star power.

Canfield has no voting record to defend or run away from. Every one of Sebelius’ liabilities is on the table for Ken to take advantage of in the general campaign.

Ken has not changed his positions in an election year for the sake of political expediency. He has not been a gambling lobbyist or taken money from gambling lobbyists for his campaign.

Ken founded and ran a national organization working with investors and entrepreneurs and understands we cannot tax our way to prosperity. He is the only candidate who signed the taxpayer pledge to unequivocally rule out a tax increase. The other leading candidates are on record voting for tax increases in the state legislature.

Canfield has developed unique programming with an emphasis on strengthening families and communities that is preventive instead of remedial. This approach to programming which comprises a significant portion of our state budget will save Kansas considerable dollars to return to taxpayers.

Canfield has inspired hundreds of new volunteers and donors to support his candidacy for governor. He connects with people and his ability to unite and revitalize the party is unmatched by any of his rivals for the nomination.

Ken is the one true conservative in the race, but also the one Republican in the race who has worked for years to strengthen inner city and minority communities.

Ken will build a “Democrats for Canfield” operation that rivals and perhaps overwhelms “Republicans for Sebelius.”

Ken Canfield knows Kansas-the schools, the economy, business and the family. He alone offers the leadership, vision, energy and commitment to make Kansas a beacon of light for the nation, and the No. 1 state in which to live, work and raise a family.

It’s time for Christians to be yoked together with like-minded Christians in politics. It’s time to vote for a principled leader with true vision for Kansas. Please join me on Aug. 1 in voting for Ken Canfield, Republican candidate for governor.

Denice Bina, chair

Marion County Kansans for Life

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