Friday, June 10, 2005


RSR Eyewitness Report: Kansas Board Sub-committee Votes to Change Definition of Science

A Kansas Board of Education sub-committee, composed of Steve Abrams, Kathy Martin, and Connie Morris, meeting in Topeka last night, voted 3-0 to change the definition of science proposed by the majority of the science curriculum writing committee. Red State Rabble was there and offers this eyewitness report.

Abrams, Martin, and Morris also voted to approve dozens of changes intended to weaken the teaching of evolution and to take the antiscience criticisms of the religious right into science classrooms around the state. They plan to present the revised standards at the next full board meeting scheduled for June 14-15.

As part of the revisions, the three conservative board members adopted a page-long addition to the standards, written by Abrams, that replaces the curriculum committee's definition of science completely with a new section titled "Rationale of the State Board for Adopting these Science Curriculum Standards." It states in part:

Regarding the scientific theory of biological evolution , the curriculum standards call for students to learn about the best evidence for modern evolutionary theory, but also to learn about areas where scientists are raising scientific criticisms of the theory.

During the meeting, Abrams proposed that the language similar to that found on the stickers placed on textbooks in Cobb County, Georgia be added to this section of the standards, "Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered." There was no objection from any of the other board members.

A federal judge has ordered the removal of those stickers. School District officials began removing the stickers from textbooks there in the past few weeks to comply with the order.

Each of the changes in the curriculum is designed to raise questions about the theory of evolution in student's minds, but that was not enough for board member Connie Morris who argued for the addition of many more specific criticisms.

"I've been holding my reins back so much in all this," said Morris in urging more criticism of evolution be added to the standards. "To have [the criticisms] be condensed down to this is disheartening."

I've been getting letters from people, college professors, who believe Darwinian evolution can't be refuted," Morris added.

Stay tuned for more posts -- including the exact language of the revisions, reaction from John Calvert of the ID Network, Harry McDonald, president of Kansas Citizens for Science, and Pedro Irigonegaray, the attorney who is representing the pro-science side in the curriculum battle.


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