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Anticipating the Kansas state board of education's expected decision to adopt a set of science standards in which the scientific status of evolution is systematically deprecated, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Teachers Association have rejected the state department of education's request to use material from the NAS's National Science Education Standards and the NSTA's Pathways to Science Standards in the Kansas Science Education Standards.
On October 21, the American Enterprise Institute sponsored a forum titled "Science Wars" that focused on the intelligent design/evolution controversy. Among the participants in the forum were the Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, Richard Thompson, and Mark Ryland, Director of the Discovery Institute's Washington office. During the course of the discussion, Ryland claimed that the Discovery Institute had "never set out to have school boards" teach intelligent design.
Just as the first challenge to the constitutionality of teaching "intelligent design" in the public school science classroom is underway in the trial of Kitzmiller v. Dover, Matthew J. Brauer, Barbara Forrest, and Steven G. Gey offer a definitive assessment of the legal issues involved in their new law review article "Is it science yet? Intelligent design creationism and the Constitution," published in Washington University Law Quarterly (2005; vol. 83, no. 1).
The external review of the latest draft of the Kansas science standards is complete, and there's no comfort in it for the antievolutionist majority on the state board of education. The external reviewer, Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), restricted its comments to the educational usefulness of the standards and did not evaluate their scientific accuracy. Even so, the antievolution material inserted by the board at the behest of local "intelligent design" enthusiasts came under fire.
L.A. Theatre Works's drama The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial, based on the original trial transcripts from the Scopes trial, is now on a twenty-three city tour, playing at major universities, colleges, and civic performing arts centers across the country. With a script by Peter Goodchild, the play was originally broadcast by LATW in 1992; the current production, directed by Gordon Hunt, commemorates the eightieth anniversary of the Scopes trial.
In the Kansas City Star (October 9, 2005), Jason Gertzen and Diane Stafford report that Kansas's reputation as a state officially hostile to evolution education is having discernible effects on recruitment efforts at universities and in the burgeoning biotechnology industry. "Some business leaders and economic development recruiters in the region say ...
"Two groups examining the same evidence. Traveling nearly identical itineraries, snoozing under the same stars and bathing in the same chocolate-colored river. Yet, standing at opposite ends of the growing creation-evolution debate, they seemed to speak in different tongues." Thus Jodi Wilgoren's story "Seeing creation and evolution in Grand Canyon," published above the fold on the front page of the October 6, 2005, issue of The New York Times.
In a statement issued on October 4, 2005, the president of the University of Idaho, Timothy P. White, articulated the University's position on evolution. "As an academic scientific community and a research extensive land-grant institution," he wrote, "we affirm scientific principles that are testable and anchored in evidence." Hence only evolution, and not supposed "alternatives" to it, are taught in the university's science classes, he explained.
NCSE's executive director Eugenie C. Scott is to be presented with NABT's Honorary Member Award, given to those who have attained "distinction in teaching, research, or service in the biological sciences," at the National Association of Biology Teachers convention held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from October 5 to October 8, 2005. Also receiving the award will be NCSE member Randy Moore, a professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and until recently the editor of The American Biology Teacher.