- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 13, 2007

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas school board, long ridiculed for its resistance to teaching evolution, prepared yesterday to repeal rules backed by social conservatives and switch to science guidelines that embrace Charles Darwin’s theories.

The new board, with a 6-4 majority of Democrats and liberal Republicans, was to debate and vote on what would be the fifth set of science standards for public schools in eight years.

The existing standards suggest that Darwinian concepts such as a common origin for all life on earth and changes in one species leading to a new one are challenged by new evidence. Those rules, adopted in 2005, were supported by advocates of “intelligent design,” which holds that life is so complex that it must have been created by a higher authority.

An alternative, drafted by scientists and educators, would treat evolution as well-supported by research. It also would rewrite the definition of science limiting it to the search for natural explanations for what is observed in the universe.

The State Board of Education’s swing back wasn’t likely to settle the issue, given many Kansans’ religious objections and other misgivings about evolution.

“I don’t think this issue is going to go away. I think it’s going to be around forever,” said board Chairman Bill Wagnon, Topeka Democrat. Last year, disputes over how evolution should be taught cropped up in at least seven other states.

“There’s this, I think, political agenda to just ensure that evolution is the driving, underlying notion that has to be accepted in Kansas science standards in order for Kansas to keep its head up in the world, which is just bizarre,” said board member Ken Willard, a Republican.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide