Evolution

James W. Perry jperry at UWC.EDU
Thu Aug 12 17:28:30 EST 1999


This article is more thorough than the one that I sent previously...

     August 11, 1999 (16:52)

     Kansas school board drops evolution

     New curriculum guidelines exclude scientific theory

     REUTERS

     TOPEKA, Kan., Aug. 11 The Kansas Board of Education rejected evolution
as a scientific principle Wednesday,
     dealing a victory to religious conservatives who are increasingly
challenging science education in U.S.
     schools. The 10-member board, ignoring pleas by educators and
established scientists, voted six to four to
     embrace new standards for science curricula that eliminate evolution as
an underlying principle of biology and
     other sciences.

     EVOLUTION HAS BEEN removed, board member Janet Waugh, who opposed the
new standard, said in a
     packed conference room near the state capitol. Instead of Kansas
curriculum having more and more
     credibility, it will have less and less. The board voted on a modified
version of curriculum guidelines for grades
     kindergarten through high school that eliminates evolution as a way to
describe the emergence of new
     species for instance the evolution of primates into homo sapiens while
leaving intact references to
     microevolution, or changes that occur within a single species. The
theory of evolution was developed by
     19th-century British scientist Charles Darwin. His discoveries were
famously argued in the 1925 Scopes
     Monkey Trial, in which the state of Tennessee put teacher John Thomas
Scopes on trial for knowingly
     infringing a law banning the teaching of evolution. Defended by
prominent trial attorney Clarence Darrow,
     Scopes was convicted and fined the minimum $100 but the verdict was
reversed on a technicality by the
     state Supreme Court. Prior to Wednesdays vote, the presidents of Kansas
six public universities wrote a letter
     saying the new standards will set Kansas back a century and give
hard-to-find science teachers no choice
     but to pursue other career fields or assignments outside of Kansas. The
argument that teaching evolution will
     destroy a students faith in God is no more true today than it was
during the Scopes trial in 1925, the letter
     said.

     VICTORY FOR RELIGIOUS GROUPS Banning evolution from the classroom gave
conservative forces a victory
     after previous attempts to eliminate evolution in states including
Alabama, Arizona, Georgia and Nebraska.
     Religious groups have argued that evolution cannot be proven, and some
feel that evolution is not in
     accordance with Biblical teachings regarding the origins of life.
Teaching evolution misleads students, said
     Tom Willis, director of the Creation Science Association for
Mid-America, which helped write Kansas curriculum
     proposal. Its deception, Willis said prior to the vote. You cant go
into the laboratory or the field and make the
     first fish. When you tell students that science has determined
(evolution to be true), youre deceiving them.
     Dozens of books have been published in the past two decades challenging
the validity of evolution, bearing
     titles such as The Facts of Life: Shattering the Myths of Darwinism,
and The Neck of the Giraffe: Where
     Darwin Went Wrong.

     GOVERNOR OPPOSED In Kansas, a 27-member state science committee spent a
year writing the new
     curriculum standards for elementary and high school students that were
based on national education
     standards and included evolution. The argument that teaching evolution
will destroy a students faith in God is
     no more true today than it was during the Scopes trial in 1925. LETTER
FROM STATE UNIVERSITY
     PRESIDENTS But this spring, a school board member introduced a
competing proposal to remove evolution
     theories from classrooms. The board deadlocked over the matter in May,
and the issue has since roiled
     political circles and prompted angry debate. Kansas Gov. Bill Graves, a
Republican, warned board members not
     to adopt the anti-evolution curriculum, and has said he would support
an effort to abolish the Board of
     Education. Its frustrating and it makes me angry, said Steve Case, a
member of the state science committee
     and a University of Kansas instructor. There is potentially great
damage that can be done to students in
     Kansas. Prior attempts by religious groups to include creation science,
or Creationism, in school curricula
     included a failed attempt in Arkansas to require that it be taught
alongside evolution. In 1982, an Arkansas
     federal judge overturned the law, ruling it violated the constitutional
clause barring the establishment of
     religion by the state. He said that creation science was not a valid
science, had no secular educational
     purpose, but served only to promote religion. A similar law in
Louisiana was struck down later the same year.

James. W. Perry, CEO/Campus Dean
Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
University of Wisconsin - Fox Valley
1478 Midway Road, P.O. Box 8002
Menasha, Wisconsin 54952-9002
Office: 920.832.2610
FAX: 920.832.2674
jperry at uwc.edu



More information about the Plant-ed mailing list