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Eighty years after the infamous Scopes "Monkey Trial," Kansas has reopened a national debate over school science standards. Hearings were convened on May 5 by the state board of education to determine whether current criticisms of evolutionary theory may be taught in public schools.

Proponents of Intelligent Design (ID) had the stage to themselves.

A pro-evolution group, Kansas Citizens for Science, boycotted the meetings, saying that Intelligent Design advocates "have created a straw man. They are trying to make science stand for atheism so they can fight atheism."

The theory of evolution holds that all life developed via natural selection to its present diversity over billions of years. Intelligent Design holds that natural selection cannot account for the complexity of life.

"An intelligent design by definition requires a designer," Irigonegaray told CT. "I just disagree that science should involve a supernatural answer. I think it is essential that science remain neutral."

Board chair Steve Abrams told CT that while the subject has obvious religious implications, "the objective is to minimize the religion and politics and focus, as much as possible, on the science education." This summer the board is expected to approve teaching critical of evolution.

At least 13 states are looking at legislation requiring a more critical stance toward evolution in the classroom, or allowing alternative theories to be taught.

Jonathan Wells, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, a Seattle think tank that advocates Intelligent Design, told CT that he does not favor teaching students about ID because the theory is not fully developed yet.

The Discovery Institute notes that the No Child Left Behind Act requires every state to implement statewide ...

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July 2005

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