Diseases Laud Kansas Decision

The following satire is circulating in the evolutionary biology community. It refers to the decision this August by the Kansas State Board of Education to strike the theory of evolution from the state standards, apparently because it conflicts with a literal interpretation of the Bible.

The Ebola Virus, speaking from its headquarters somewhere in Africa, today thanked the Kansas Board of Education for its recent decision to remove evolution from the state’s science curriculum. The virus pointed out that the resulting eventual loss of evolutionary biologists would make life easier for it and many other emerging diseases, as health workers would not be able to distinguish between lethal and nonlethal strains that had evolved from one to the other.

In its two recent visits to the United States, the Ebola strains involved were those that had evolved from deadly human strains into strains that kill monkeys, not people. “If they hadn’t known, we could really have inspired hysteria,” commented Ebola. “More fun next time.”

Meanwhile, Hantavirus, Cholera, AIDS, and Influenza announced that they had no intention of stopping their own evolution and looked forward to even more successful world tours in the future. Although none of them expressed much interest in visiting Kansas, they denied they had plans to boycott the state.

Finally, stock futures for a variety of “old-fashioned” diseases (such as diphtheria, streptococcus, malaria, and tuberculosis) went up, as it appears that humans now are increasingly prepared to ignore the evolution of antibiotic resistance for diseases that have long been held in check by modern medicines.

Diphtheria, speaking from its exile in poorer parts of the former U.S.S.R. commented, “The lack of new antibiotics seems to reflect a human arrogance that assumes we can’t evolve and come back.” It pointed out that malaria and TB had already evolved forms that were immune to all known antibiotics. “Without understanding how we evolve, humans are turning themselves into fodder.”

Asked to comment on the Kansas decision, Diphtheria smiled and said, “Thanks, Kansas, we’ll be seeing you.”