Scopes, part deux

The Kansas State Board of Education has just wrapped up its evolution trial. Proponents of "intelligent design" have pushed the state to present a "more critical" view of evolution in Kansas classrooms and to move away from the definition of science in the state standards as a search for "natural explanations," which they say represents an endorsement of naturalism and atheism. It is this last part that should have scientists especially worried. If not natural explanations, will science be based on supernatural explanations? Biblical? The majority of scientists on the state's curriculum review committee opposes efforts to revise the state's standards, but largely refused to testify on grounds that the hearings were a set-up. The confession of state board member Kathy Martin that she has never actually read the report from Kansas' curriculum committee on science standards, lends credibility to the charge that the fix is in. She explains, "I'm not a word-for-word reader in this kind of technical information." Well, Fordham is a word-for-word reader and we'll be releasing an evaluation of state science standards later this year, so perhaps we'll take that task on for Ms. Martin. Expect a final decision from the Kansas state board during the summer.

"No quick vote foreseen in evolution teaching," by Diane Carroll, Kansas City Star, May 11, 2005

"What matters in Kansas," by William Saletan, Slate, May 11, 2005

"A real monkey trial," by Peter Dizikes, Salon.com, May 13, 2005

"The evolution of creationism," New York Times, May 17, 2005