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 science standards by the 2005-06 school year. Thus, many states are looking afresh at the issue of origins.
Copyright © 2005 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Intelligent Design the Future is a blog with ID proponents William Dembski, Michael Behe, Guillermo Gonzalez, and others as contributors.
William Dembski's own blog is available at UncommonDescent.com.
ThePanda'sThumb is a blog critique of the ID movement.
News elsewhere about the Kansas science curriculum includes:
Evolution and Intelligent Design in Kansas | Hearings this week in Topeka focused on how the theory of evolution should be taught in Kansas schools. Proponents of intelligent design propose that students and teachers be encouraged to discuss alternate views to the theory of evolution. (Weekend Edition, NPR, May 7, 2005)
Kansas school board concludes hearings on teaching evolution | The State Board of Education's three days of hearings challenging evolution ended Saturday as they began: with testimony from leaders in the national intelligent design movement and a good deal of acrimony against them. (Knight Ridder Newspapers, May. 07, 2005)
Kansas Citizens for Science opposes changes to the curriculum that would teach Intelligent Design.
Weblog commented on a similar debate taking place in York, Pennsylvania.
Other CT articles on Intelligent Design include:
Verdict that Demands Evidence | It is Darwinists, not Christians, who are stonewalling the facts. (March 28, 2005)
Were the Darwinists Wrong? | National Geographic stacks the deck. (Nov. 23, 2004)
The Art of Debating Darwin | How to intelligently design a winning case for God's role in creation. (Sept. 08, 2004)
Unintelligent Debate | It's time to cool the rhetoric in the Intelligent Design dispute. (Sept. 03, 2004)
The Dick Staub Interview: William Dembski's Revolution | The author of Intelligent Design set out to answer the toughest questions about the movement he helped promote. (March 30, 2004)
'A Nuclear Bomb' For Evolution? | Critics of Darwinism say skull's discovery isn't all it's cracked up to be. (Aug. 14, 2002)
Your Darwin Is Too Large | Evolution's significance for theology has been greatly exaggerated. (May 25, 2000)
Other CT articles on teaching Intelligent Design in public schools include:
Weblog: Pennsylvania Students 'Taught' Intelligent Design (Jan. 19, 2005)
Intelligent Design Battle Moves to Ohio | Opponents say the movement is trying to do an end run around science. (Aug. 23, 2002)
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.