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A Texas-sized battle over scrapping a longtime requirement that Lone Star State students be taught weaknesses in the theory of evolution has split politicians, parents, and professors who teach biology at the state's Christian universities.

"I hope to reach others on the weightier matters of the Resurrection, hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven while I work out how evolution does not have to conflict with Christianity," said Daniel Brannan, a biology professor at Abilene Christian University.

Brannan joined hundreds of scientists in signing a 21st Century Science Coalition petition that supports new curriculum standards for the state's 4.7 million public-school students. The petition states that "evolution is an easily observable phenomenon that has been documented beyond any reasonable doubt."

Among other petition signers were science professors from Baylor, Hardin-Simmons, McMurry, and Texas Christian—all Texas universities with Christian ties.

But other Christian biology professors have aligned themselves with the Discovery Institute in signing a petition titled "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism."

"We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged," declared the hundreds of dissenters, including biology professors from Baylor, Lubbock Christian, LeTourneau, and other Christian universities.

The state board of education has given preliminary approval to new standards that remove wording that schools teach evolution's "weaknesses." A final review of the new standards was scheduled for March.

Proponents of focusing on evolution's strengths say their goal is simple: ...

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