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Kansas science committee denounces changes


The committee originally charged with revising Kansas's state science standards has resoundingly denounced the changes imposed by the antievolutionist majority on the state board of education. On August 2, 2005, the committee voted 16-3 to submit a lengthy critique of the board's revisions to the draft standards, which closely followed those proposed by a local "intelligent design" organization. Steve Case, the co-chairman of the committee, acknowledged that the board, apparently determined to compromise the place of evolution in the standards, was unlikely to heed the committee's rejection of the changes. But, he told the Wichita Eagle, "[w]e owe them our best expert advice, and this response includes our best expert advice." Most of the members of the committee requested that their names be deleted from the latest draft. When the board next meets, on August 8 and 9, it is expected to vote to send the latest draft for external review; a final decision on the standards is then anticipated in September or October.

In its critique of the board's changes to the draft standards, posted on a discussion board [Link broken] at the website of Kansas Citizens for Science, the committee noted that the board was not following the established process for developing state educational standards, that the changes to the standards were previously considered and rejected by the committee, and that the strategy of selectively calling for "critical analysis" of evolution is not only "confusing and inappropriate" but also clearly intended to provide a pretext for "'alternative' theories to evolution" to be introduced in the science classroom." The Intelligent Design Network's John Calvert was quoted by the Eagle as responding, "We have from inception sought only a level scientific playing field." But Jack Krebs, the vice president of Kansas Citizens for Science, replied that criticisms of evolution "need to make an impact in the world of science" before they appear in the state's science standards.