On evolution

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Sedalia (Mo.) Democrat

The Kansas State Board of Education has taken another whack at science with its revision of the state science curriculum standards. The new standards cast doubt on the validity of scientific explanations for the origin of life on Earth and the theory of evolution. Students should be taught that these scientific ex-planations are "controversial," the standards say.

And controversial they are, but not within the international scientific community. That's the main point here. This is a religious-political controversy..

... As a practical matter, the Kansas board's actions probably won't have much effect in the classroom. Individual schools and teachers are not bound by the curriculum. The classroom experience probably is not much different than in Missouri, where teachers and administrators tiptoe around the E-word for fear of upsetting those who prefer supernatural explanations.

It's easy to cluck one's tongue editorially and ask what's the matter with Kansas, but the same dynamics are at work in Missouri, now most notably outside the classroom. Fortunately, Gov. Matt Blunt has stepped up to oppose Sen. Matt Bartle, the Lee's Summit Republican, and others whose efforts to outlaw stem-cell research imperils the state's growing life sciences industry.

There's plenty of room for religion and science so long as the two are not conflated.

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