TechNoir (technoir) wrote,

Okay. I love a good arguement as much as the next three guys combined, but you know in science class I want science taught not faith. That should be reserved for the home and church. The wishful thinking psuedoscience of the intelligent design people is just irritating.

Kansas educators clear way for evolution criticism
Tue Nov 8, 2005 5:52 PM ET

By Carey Gillam

TOPEKA, Kansas (Reuters) - Kansas on Tuesday became the latest U.S. state to introduce criticism of evolution into teaching standards, a move that critics charge was driven by religious zealotry.

In a hearing room packed with high school students, teachers and national media, the Kansas State Board of Education on a 6-4 vote approved a new set of science standards that question the veracity of evolution theory.

"This is a great day for education. This is one of the best things that we can do," said board chairman Steve Abrams, who is on record as saying evolutionary theory is incompatible with the Bible's version of God's creation of life on Earth.

The new public school standards include several specific challenges to evolution, including statements that there is a lack of evidence or natural explanation for the genetic code, charges that fossil records are inconsistent with evolutionary theory, and a statement that says certain evolutionary explanations "are not based on direct observations ... and often reflect ... inferences from indirect or circumstantial evidence."

Although the redrawn teaching standards do not mention religion and Abrams denied the changes were religiously motivated, both local and national science groups charged that the new standards are a product of religious zealotry.

Critics said the standards go farther than any other state to date in opening up evolutionary principles to criticism, and said implementation will lead to more aggressive undermining of scientific principles in other states and will ultimately weaken U.S. achievement in scientific arenas.

Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, said the decision would encourage school districts in Kansas and elsewhere to make similar moves, distracting and confusing teachers and students.

"It will be marketed by the religious right ... as a huge victory for their side," she said. "We can expect more efforts to get creationism in."


The Kansas vote is the latest development in a renewed debate over evolution that has simmered in the United States before and since the famed "monkey trial" in Tennessee 80 years ago, when that state's anti-evolution teaching law was challenged.

Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio and Pennsylvania have in the past few years introduced questions about the validity of evolution into their curriculum but Kansas goes farther.

The Kansas vote follows the trial of a Pennsylvania lawsuit brought by parents who sued a local school board after it instructed science teachers to introduce students to a theory called intelligent design. That theory holds that certain features of the universe are best explained by an intelligent cause, such as God.

The trial ended last week and a decision from the judge is expected in December or January.

Intelligent design is not included in the Kansas standards but nonetheless is rapidly becoming a catch-phase in the debate. Intelligent design proponents say nature is so complex that there must have been a higher intelligence involved.

They claim evolution theory, popularized by British scientist Charles Darwin in the 1850s, wrongly uses only natural explanations for the development of life forms without considering the possibility of a designer.

The Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based key backer of intelligent design theory, praised the Kansas effort.

"Students will learn more about evolution, not less as some Darwinists have falsely claimed," said Casey Luskin, a Discovery Institute spokesman in a written statement.

In an effort to fight back against the changes in Kansas and other states, a grass-roots group calling itself Campaign to Defend the Constitution said on Tuesday it was launching a $200,000 online ad campaign "to combat a threat posed by the religious right to American democracy."

"This is a significant attack on science," said Jack Krebs, vice president of Kansas Citizens for Science. "They really are advancing a sectarian religious view. They're treading on constitutional grounds."
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