Evolution Backers in Kansas Set to Win Majority

August 1, 2006

Source: The New York Times


On August 1, 2006 The New York Times reported, "God and Charles Darwin are not on the primary ballot in Kansas on Tuesday, but once again a contentious schools election has religion and science at odds in a state that has restaged a three-quarter-century battle over the teaching of evolution.

Less than a year after a conservative Republican majority on the State Board of Education adopted rules for teaching science containing one of the broadest challenges in the nation to Darwin’s theory of evolution, moderate Republicans and Democrats are mounting a fierce counterattack. They want to retake power and switch the standards back to what they call conventional science.

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.

The curriculum standards adopted by the education board do not specifically mention intelligent design, but advocates of the belief lobbied for the changes, and students are urged to seek 'more adequate explanations of natural phenomena.'"