The revelation has caused a great deal of chattering among some in the education bureaucracy who wonder why he did not divulge this to the Board of Education, which is looking into his background.
Although the views Cheek expressed concerning human origins are in agreement with those of most people in the state, some of the more exotic and excitable species of Kentuckians are wondering whether he is well-adapted enough for the secularist environment of the state's education bureaucracy.
Richard Day, a dominant male in the education community and the one who dug up the old creationist paper, displayed openly aggressive behavior at his blog "Kentucky School News and Commentary" in response to the revelation about what he considers Cheek's checkered past:
What I can't figure is - why didn't Cheek inoculate himself against the sizable vulnerability represented by creationism? Did he bet it wouldn't be discovered? Did it not come up in Missouri where he was also a finalist for their top post?Exactly why Day considers someone's past creationist belief a potentially disqualifying factor for a schools chief in a state which not only still has a creationist statute on the books, but is the home of the hugely successful creation museum is not self-evident. But the discovery clearly caused Day to climb the walls of his cage, and will certainly cause others among the professional education community to raise their tales and lower their heads.
Years of continued observation of the professional education community has made it fairly clear that they are not well-suited to understand the beliefs and values of the communities their schools were built to serve. They are known to become visibly anxious and erratic in their behavior whenever issues such as school prayer, the role Christianity has played in our nation's history, or human origins are raised. And the higher you go in their dominance hierarchy, the more unfriendly behavior they seem to display toward the common cultural beliefs of their students and their families.
Day's revelation followed an editorial in the Louisville Courier-Journal, in which a species related to the professional education bureaucrats knows as "journalists" (a cultural subgroup that is now on the endangered species list) questioned Cheek's past involvement in the Templeton Foundation.
It is a measure of the cultural isolation of the editors at the Courier that they would be scratching their heads at anyone's involvement with Templeton, which the paper inexplicably calls "controversial and polarizing." In fact, it is a relatively mainstream organization one of whose purposes is to try to bring together diverse intellectuals of differing viewpoints to discuss the relation of religion and science.
The only people who find Templeton's innocuous objectives controversial are the more exotic subspecies of scientific atheists like Richard Dawkins, P. Z. Myers, and Jerry Coyne, who are known to inhabit a few isolated university biology departments.
That the Courier would consider the views of these outliers as somehow the norm may be due to the Courier's habit of imitating the radical secularism papers like the New York Times have come to exhibit.
Journalist see, journalist do.
But one wonders if the issue should really matter at all. Cheek, who has been involved with public education for many years, now says he has come to believe that humans really did descend from apes.
And after having observed behavior similar to that he is now encountering in Kentucky, it is easy to see why.