Kansas: Anti-Evolution Guidelines Repealed
ARTICLE: Kansas: Anti-Evolution Guidelines Repealed
SOURCE: Associated Press
COMMENTARY: Allen MacNeill
First, the news item, followed by a few brief comments:
ASSOCIATED PRESS (Published: February 14, 2007): The State Board of Education repealed science guidelines questioning evolution, putting into effect new ones that reflect mainstream scientific views. The move was a political defeat for advocates of “intelligent design” who had helped write the standards being repealed. The intelligent design concept holds that life is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power. The board removed language suggesting that basic evolutionary concepts were controversial and being challenged by new research. It also approved a new definition of science, limiting it to the search for natural explanations of what is observed in the universe. The state has had five sets of science standards in eight years, each affected by the seesawing fortunes of socially conservative Republicans and a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans.
This was inevitable, given the outcome of last year's state board of education elections, but it's still nice to know that the newly elected board of education candidates followed through on their campaign promises. An interesting sidelight to this story comes from an email I received late last week. The email came from Rob Crowther of the Discovery Institute, home church of the "intelligent design movement" (yes, I'm on their mailing list; it's always good to know what the other side is doing). In the email, Crowther railed against the new Kansas science standards, but the interesting thing is that he railed specifically against the removal of an item about the abuse of science (the rise and fall of eugenics in the 20th century and the Tuskegee syphilis study were the main examples). The email encouraged me to send an email to the board of education protesting the new standards because they included this change. Interestingly, there was no mention at all in the email of the fact that almost all of the proposed changes are to the parts of the old standards dealing with evolution and "intelligent design." Hmm...it appears that deliberate prevarication is part and parcel of the Discovery Institute's modus operandi. Crowther is a master propagandist, and his work in this case would have made Goebbels proud...