Thursday, February 24, 2005


Topeka Science Standards Hearing

Red State Rabble attended the final public science standards hearing in the ballroom of the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Topeka last night. By RSR's count, about 160 attended the hearing. Last night, for the first time, those speaking in favor of real science education outnumbered those who support teaching intelligent design or creationism.

Particularly notable was the presence of a strong contingent of KU science faculty members speaking in opposition to the minority proposal.

A Presbyterian theologian seemed to connect most directly with the audience, however. His humorous example -- delivered through a thick Scottish brogue -- of a high school tennis coach insisting that the hugely successful baseball team play by tennis rules put smiles on the faces of almost everyone in the room.

Several high school students and recent graduates recounted the effect the 1999 vote to de-emphasize evolution had on their education and future plans. They pointed out that the practical effect was that evolution simply wasn't taught at their school. One student, a National Merit Finalist, spoke about the danger of bright students leaving Kansas because of the anti-science atmosphere in the state.

Supporters of the intelligent design proposal put forward by William Harris and John Calvert seemed to have received some coaching. There were fewer of the heartfelt appeals to teach God's word, that have so embarrassed Calvert and Harris, who protest that they aren't calling for the teaching of creationism, or even intelligent design, but for teaching "the controversy."

This largely legal tack has fooled no one in the science camp, but it may have disarmed the simple folk who see no reason why their particular brand of religion shouldn't be taught in the public schools.


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