New York Times article on Kansas Board of Education election
The Kansas election is being watched closely by both sides in the national debate over the teaching of evolution. In the past several years, pitched battles have been waged between the scientific establishment and proponents of what is called intelligent design, which holds that nature alone cannot explain life’s origin and complexity.
Last February, the Ohio Board of Education reversed its 2002 mandate requiring 10th-grade biology classes to critically analyze evolution. The action followed a federal judge’s ruling that teaching intelligent design in the public schools of Dover, Pa., was unconstitutional.
A defeat for the conservative majority in Kansas on Tuesday could be further evidence of the fading fortunes of the intelligent design movement, while a victory would preserve an important stronghold in Kansas.
Too much importance is attached to these little "defeats" and "victories":
(1) The Dover ruling against ID was by a single activist district-court judge. Also, the Selman v. Cobb County evolution-disclaimer textbook sticker case is still up in the air -- appeals court judges, after indicating that they were leaning towards reversing the district court's ban on the stickers, remanded the case because of missing evidence. Furthermore, the Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish decision banning an evolution-disclaimer policy came close to being reversed.
(2) The election defeat of the pro-ID Dover Area school board members was narrow and was partly attributed to voter concern about the big potential legal bill of the lawsuit.
(3) The Ohio Board of Education dropped the original evolution lesson plan but asked for a rewrite of the science standards, and the new recommended science standards call for critical analysis of evolution.
(4) The Darwinists have been huffing and puffing about how they are going to sue Kansas and Ohio, but if the Darwinists had any case at all they would have sued those states a long time ago.
Unless the supporters of the current Kansas science standards are overwhelmingly defeated in today's election, which is unlikely, the "teach the controversy" movement is going to remain strong.
One of the problems with state education standards is that teachers are likely to just follow the textbooks, and I presume that right now standard biology texts have little or no discussion of the weaknesses of evolution theory. Maybe the public schools could teach the controversy by using expurgated versions of biology texts written for Christian schools
Labels: Kansas controversy