Science and Religion in Funky Winkerbean

On August 30, 2004 papers nationwide (including the Omaha World-Herald) started a series in Tom Batiuk's "Funky Winkerbean" strip that appears to have been inspired by recent events in Mr. Batiuk's home state of Ohio.  (For more information about recent actions taken by Ohio's state Board of Education, see Ohio Citizens for Science.)  

August 30 Funky Winkerbean

August 31 Funky Winkerbean
Note: Johnny Hart (referred to in the August 31 strip) is the creator of another popular comic strip, "B.C.", in which Mr. Hart has occasionally expressed his Christian faith.  One of the student characters in the Aug. 31 Funky Winkerbean strip wonders if, by entering the fray, he and his friend might be labeled "the anti-Johnny Hart."  I think that's a play on "the anti-Christ."  Occasionally defenders of the teaching of evolution are so labeled (for example, see the web site of the Northwest Creation Network)
September 1Funky Winkerbean


Science and Religion in Party Platforms

Evolution has been a political and religious issue for 150 years, and it continues to be an issue in the U.S. and elsewhere in 2004.  For example, though not in the 2004 national GOP platform approved at the Republican Party convention in New York City, evolution is an issue in several state GOP party platforms.

For example, in the section entitled "Educating our Children," the  2000 Texas Republican Party Platform included the following plank:

Scientific Theories: The Party believes that scientific topics, such as the question of universe and life origins and environmental theories, should not be constrained to one opinion or viewpoint. We support the teaching equally of scientific strengths and weaknesses of all scientific theories--as Texas now requires (but has yet to enforce) in public school science course standards. We urge revising all environmental education standards to require this also.  We support individual teachers' right to teach creation science in Texas public schools.

In 2004 the plank was updated a bit in the Texas GOP platform:
Scientific Theories: The Party supports the objective teaching and equal treatment of scientific strengths and weaknesses of all scientific theories, including Intelligent Design, as Texas law now requires but has yet to enforce.  The Party believes theories of life origins and environmental theories should be taught only as theories not fact; that social studies and other curriculum should not be based on any one theory.

Iowa's 2004 GOP platform plank # 3.4 reads:

We believe that the local choice to teach creation science, or intelligent design science, should be allowed in government schools rather than exclusively teaching evolution as the only viable theory. We also believe that tax funded libraries should include creation science materials on the shelves.

Oklahoma's 2004 GOP platform Oklahoma plank # 23 reads:

We believe that in public schools where evolution is taught, creationism should be taught as well. We support disclaimers on any state-funded science textbook that treats evolution as fact rather than theory.

Nebraska's 2004 GOP platform makes no mention of evolution or its "alternatives."

Of course, not only in Nebraska but also in Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma and elsewhere, many Republicans support the teaching of evolution in public school science classes,  and do not want the valid religious doctrine of creation confused with scientific explanations of origins.