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Evolution May Be Taught in Kansas,
Along With Other Ideas

© Linda Holloway
Special to The Kansas City Star, 12/17/99 

volution banned in Kansas” screamed headlines around the world after the Kansas State Board of Education adopted new science standards. One problem with the headline: It was totally wrong!

Very little ink has been used to focus on the drafts presented to the board by the writing committee. Perhaps some readers would be interested in truth instead of merely noise.

The writing committee’s proposal elevated evolution to one of the five unifying concepts of science. This was the only theory given such status. Thus, it indicated that evolution was above investigation or question.

A statement in the documents said that students should “... use critical and logical thinking and consider alternative explanations.” But students would not be able to apply these directions to evolution because evolution was presented in a very narrow, pristine manner.

There was no indication that the theory had weaknesses, i.e. lack of uncontested transition species, lack of evidence that chemicals can give rise to life. No other theories of origins were mentioned. Frauds such as Piltdown Man and Haeckel’s embryo drawings that have been used as evidence for evolution were not discussed. The leadership of the committee resisted any suggestion to include evidence or lack of evidence that indicated problems with the theory.

The board adopted standards that include microevolution (variation within species) for which there is lots of evidence. Macroevolution (species changing to another species), for which uncontested evidence is lacking, is left to local districts to address as they wish. No mandate to exclude the teaching of evolution from science curriculum was issued.

The writing committee’s proposal was based on Darwinian philosophy. The board’s decision broadened academic freedom and free inquiry that was restricted by the committee to one view and one conclusion, regardless of evidence.

The U.S. Supreme Court stated in the Edwards vs. Aguillard case, “If the Louisiana legislature’s purpose was solely to maximize the comprehensiveness and effectiveness of science instruction, it would have encouraged the teaching of all scientific theories about the origins of humankind.”

Our children in Kansas deserve no less!

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