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Kansas school board's evolution ruling angers science community

school boat vote
The Kansas State School Board voted Wednesday to remove the teaching of evolution from the state's science curriculum
CNN's Brian Cabell looks at the dispute over teaching evolution
Windows Media 28K 80K

Defending Darwin


August 12, 1999
Web posted at: 10:08 p.m. EDT (0208 GMT)

From Correspondent Brian Cabell

TOPEKA, Kansas (CNN) -- A decision this week by the Kansas Board of Education to delete the teaching of evolution from the state's science curriculum has angered the mainstream science community in the United States.

"This act ... took us back 100 years in science teaching and education," says Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "I hope the courts will be the one to find time to correct the decision."

The board's decision doesn't require the teaching of creationism, nor does it forbid the teaching of evolution. The specific curriculum is left to the local school boards -- and to the teachers who now find themselves with questions.

"Do we touch on those areas? What about students who do not want to hear this viewpoint?" says Tammy Stauber, an eighth-grade science teacher. "Should they be allowed to leave the classroom, or is it mandatory that they have to listen to the teacher?"

The board's decision means students will no longer face questions on state tests about evolution  

Other states, including Texas, California, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Nebraska and New Hampshire, have witnessed battles between evolutionists and creationists in the last several years.

But the Kansas decision seems to be a major victory for those who believe that the Bible's book of Genesis, not the theory of evolution, explains the origin of man.

"You can't apply the scientific method to evolution," says Gary Demar of the group American Vision. "It's never been observed. You can't repeat the experiment. And so what's being sold as science, in terms of evolution, really isn't science in terms of the way they define it."

If the decision stands, some Kansas students will continue to learn about evolution, while others may learn about creationism. But the courts could intervene and rule that the school board's decision violates the separation of church and state.

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Kansas State Department of Education
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  • Kansas Science Education Standards
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