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Kansas state board of education urged to restore evolution

On February 13, 2007, the Kansas state board of education is expected to vote on adopting new state science education standards based on the recommendations of the original science standards writing committee. If these standards are adopted, they would replace the standards passed in November 2005 by the previous board, which were rewritten under the guidance of local "intelligent design" activists to impugn the scientific standing of evolution. Those standards were the subject of intense criticism from scientific and educational organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Science Teachers Association. Owing in part to the controversy over the standards, the balance of power shifted in the 2006 elections, and supporters of the integrity of evolution education are now in the majority on the board.

Kansas Citizens for Science, the grassroots organization that defends the teaching of evolution in Kansas's public schools, is encouraging the board to vote to restore evolution to its proper place in the state science standards. In a public letter dated February 7 (and posted the day before on The Panda's Thumb blog), KCFS cited two reasons to do so:

  • First, the Committee's Standards represent the mainstream scientific consensus on the nature of science and on evolution, and the current standards do not.
  • Second, the Committee's Standards were developed according to the proper process, and the current standards were not.
KCFS added, "The previous Board badly abused established procedures. They allowed members of the Intelligent Design movement to subvert both content and process based on their entirely false belief that mainstream science is atheistic. Adopting the Committee's Standards now is simply finishing the proper process -- restoring mainstream science to our standards and credibility to our state."