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The controversy about the publication of "intelligent design" advocate Stephen C. Meyer's article "The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories" in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington is now attracting attention in the press.
With the results of the August 3, 2004, primary election, the balance of power on the Kansas Board of Education is likely to tilt in favor of anti-evolutionists, for the first time since 1999, when the board voted to de-emphasize evolution in the state's science standards. The board is presently split 5-5 between supporters and opponents of evolution education.
On July 5, 2004, the school board in Darby, Montana voted 3-2 not to adopt a proposed "objective origins policy" on its second reading. The policy had been tentatively approved on February 2 at its first reading, but is now rejected. The proposal sparked intense local controversy and national media attention earlier this year. The fate of the policy became the central issue in the May school board election, where two policy supporters were decisively defeated by opponents, resulting in the change in board majority from "pro" to "anti".
On its last working day, the Minnesota legislature adopted new science standards for the state. In one of their last acts before adjourning on May 16, both houses voted for the standards as forwarded to them by the Department of Education in December, 2003. They thus approved the standards as written and submitted by a committee of educators and citizens.
When the Minnesota legislature adjourned on May 16 two bills based on the "Santorum amendment" to the federal No Child Left Behind education act finally died. House File 2003 and Senate File 1714 were companion bills, identical in language, introduced early in the year. Each was referred to the appropriate education committee, but neither made any further progress through the legislature during the remainder of the 2004 session.
May 14 was the last day of the current session of the Missouri House of Representatives. The session ended without any action being taken on House Bill 911 or House Bill 1722, two versions of an attempt to mandate "equal treatment" for intelligent design and evolution in science instruction. The bills are therefore dead for this year.
by Nick Matzke
On May 17, the final day of the 2004 legislative session, the Alabama state House adjourned without voting on SB336, a bill that would have allowed Alabama's teachers to present "alternative theories" of "biological or physical origins." Although SB336 was on the agenda for the final day, negotiations on the annual budget lasted into the evening, and the legislature adjourned at 10 p.m. without considering several controversial bills.
After the May 4, 2004, school board election in Darby, Montana, the proposed "objective origins" policy is likely to be dead in the water.
by Nick Matzke