Kansas evolution hearings

Kansas evolution hearings

The Kansas Evolution Hearings were a series of hearings held in Topeka, Kansas May 5 to May 12, 2005 by the Republican-dominated [The Board of Education had a 6-to-4 conservative Republican majority. All six of those who voted for the standards were Republicans. Two Republicans and two Democrats voted against them. [http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/11/08/evolution.debate.ap/ Kansas school board redefines science] , CNN.com ]
Kansas State Board of Education and its State Board Science Hearing Committee to change how evolution and the origin of life would be taught in the state's public high school science classes. The hearings were arranged by the conservative Christian Board of Education with the intent of introducing intelligent design into science classes via the Teach the Controversy method.

The hearings raised the issues of creation and evolution in public education and were attended by all the major participants in the intelligent design movement but were ultimately boycotted by the scientific community over concern of lending credibility to the claim of intelligent design proponents that evolution is purportedly the subject of wide dispute within the scientific and science education communities.

The Discovery Institute, hub of the intelligent design movement, played a central role in starting the hearings by promoting its Critical Analysis of Evolution lesson plan [ [http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=2112&program=CSC%20-%20Science%20and%20Education%20Policy%20-%20School%20District%20Policy%20-%20MainPage CSC - Key Resources for Parents and School Board Members ] ] which the Kansas State Board of Education eventually adopted over objections of the State Board Science Hearing Committee, and campaigning on behalf of conservative Republican candidates for the Board. [ [http://www.6newslawrence.com/news/2006/jul/07/many_question_groups_move_elections_nearing/ 6News Lawrence: Some question group's move with elections nearing ] ]

Local science advocacy group Kansas Citizens for Science organized a boycott of the hearings by mainstream scientists, who accused it of being a kangaroo court and argued that their participation would lend an undeserved air of legitimacy to the hearings. [Wichita Eagle, "Scientists Right to Boycott Evolution Hearings," March 30, 2005; "Evolution Hearings Rejected by Scientists," April 12, 2005.] Board member Kathy Martin declared at the beginning of the hearings "Evolution has been proven false. ID (Intelligent Design) is science-based and strong in facts." At their conclusion she proclaimed that evolution is "an unproven, often disproven" theory.

Proponents of intelligent design believe that certain features of the universe and of living things are too complex to not have been designed by an intelligent, supernatural agent, such as a god(s). This contrasts with the undirected, impersonal evolutionary processes described by natural selection. [ [http://www.discovery.org/csc/topQuestions.php#questionsAboutIntelligentDesign CSC - Top Questions ] ]

"ID has theological implications. ID is not strictly Christian, but it is theistic," asserted Martin. [ [http://www.reason.com/rb/rb052505.shtml Reason Magazine - Unintelligent Design ] ] The scientific community rejects teaching intelligent design as science; a leading example being the United States National Academy of Sciences, which issued a policy statement saying "Creationism, intelligent design, and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life or of species are not science because they are not testable by the methods of science." [ [http://www.nap.edu/books/0309064066/html/25.html] . ]

On February 13, 2007, the Board voted 6 to 4 to reject the amended science standards enacted in 2005. cite news|title=Evolution of Kansas science standards continues as Darwin's theories regain prominence|url=http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/02/13/america/NA-GEN-US-Kansas-Evolution-History.php |work=International Herald-Tribune|date=2007-02-13|accessdate=2007-02-14]


The hearings were one of a number of Discovery Institute intelligent design campaigns that sought to establish new science education standards consonant with conservative Christian beliefs, both in the state and nationwide, and reverse what they saw as a domination in science education by the scientific theory of evolution, which they viewed as in direct conflict to their religious beliefs and atheistic.

Kansas Board of Education elections in 2004 gave religious conservatives a 6-4 majority. In 2005, prompted by the Kansas Intelligent Design Network [ [http://www.intelligentdesignetwork.org] intelligentdesignetwork.org, also known as IDnet] and the Discovery Institute, the board sought new high school science standards. The revisions did not entirely eliminate evolution from instruction, but presented it as a theory greatly challenged and disputed, in line with the Discovery Institute's Teach the Controversy campaign. The new standards presented intelligent design as an alternative to evolution through the Institute's "Critical Analysis of Evolution". Board member Connie Morris sent a taxpayer-funded newsletter to constituents calling evolution an "age-old fairy tale" that was defended with "anti-God contempt and arrogance." Describing herself as a Christian who believes in a literal interpretation of Genesis, Morris wrote that evolution was "biologically, genetically, mathematically, chemically, metaphysically and etc. wildly and utterly impossible." [David Klepper, "Kansas School Board's Hearings on Evolution End in Acrimony," Knight Ridder Newspapers, May 12, 2005.]

The Intelligent Design Network originally proposed over 20 pages of revisions to the science standards. Their proposals were rejected by the science standards committee (made up of Kansas scientists and educators) appointed by the Board of Education, and were also rejected by 12 independent scientists who reviewed the proposed revisions [ [http://www.ksde.org/outcomes/sciencestdreview.html] ] .

Each side was invited to provide witnesses to testify before the board for intelligent design or evolution, with the taxpayers of Kansas covering the travel expenses. [ [http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000874.html The Panda's Thumb: Kansas Evolution Hearings ] ] The scientific community refused to participate "en masse". The pro-intelligent design group, the Intelligent Design Network, invited 22 witnesses. Among these were a number of non-scientists, and a number of scientists with no professional experience in biology.

New science standards

On 8 November 2005 the Kansas Board of Education approved the following changes to its science standards: [http://www.ksde.org/outcomes/sciencestd.html 2005 The Kansas state science standards] Kansas State Dept. of Education]

# Add to the mission statement a goal that science education should seek to "inform."
#Provide a definition of science that does not preclude supernatural explanations. [We also emphasize that the Science Curriculum Standards do not include Intelligent Design, the scientific disagreementwith the claim of many evolutionary biologists that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion. While the testimonypresented at the science hearings included many advocates of Intelligent Design, these standards neither mandate nor prohibit teaching about this scientific disagreement. [http://www.ksde.org/outcomes/sciencestd.pdf] ] [The new definition adopted: "Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation that uses observations, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, logical argument and theory building, to lead to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena." ]
# Allow intelligent design to be presented as an alternative explanation to evolution as presented in mainstream biology textbooks, without endorsing it.
# State that evolution is a theory and not a fact.
# Require informing students of purported scientific controversies regarding evolution.

Opposition to new standards

In addition to the over 70 scientific societies, institutions and other scientific professional groups that have issued statements supporting evolution education and opposing intelligent design, the Kansas Board of Education was presented a letter from 38 Nobel laureates, the "Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity Nobel Laureates Initiative", calling upon the Board of Education to reject intelligent design and support the teaching of evolution. It stated:

"Logically derived from confirmable evidence, evolution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection. As the foundation of modern biology, its indispensable role has been further strengthened by the capacity to study DNA. In contrast, intelligent design is fundamentally unscientific; it cannot be tested as scientific theory because its central conclusion is based on belief in the intervention of a supernatural agent." [ [http://media.ljworld.com/pdf/2005/09/15/nobel_letter.pdf Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity Nobel Laureates Initiative] (PDF file)]

The Discovery Institute has consistently insisted that its "Critical Analysis of Evolution" lesson plan is not another attempt to open the door of public high school science classrooms for intelligent design, and hence supernatural explanations. Discovery Institute spokesperson Casey Luskin in February 2006 coined the term "false fear syndrome" of those who said it was, and said:

"This is simply another instance of Darwinists attempting to oppose critical analysis of evolution by pretending that it is equivalent to teaching intelligent design. This is a political tactic based upon misinformation, misrepresentation, emotions, and false fears." [ [http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/02/false_fear_epidemic_spreads_to.html False Fear Epidemic over Critical Analysis of Evolution Spreads to Wisconsin] Casey Luskin. Discovery Institute, February 2006.]

In response, Nick Matzke says that it has proved that "Critical Analysis of Evolution" is a means of teaching all the intelligent design arguments without using the intelligent design label. [ [http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/07/no_one_here_but.html No one here but us Critical Analysis-ists...] Nick Matzke. The Panda's Thumb, July 11 2006]

The Kansas science standards as proposed by the Discovery Institute and adopted by the state were said to be "ID in disguise" by an assistant of a Discovery Institute Fellow, confirming the criticisms of opponents to the standards. In discussing Discovery Institute radio commercials supporting their campaign airing in Kansas on the blog of William A. Dembski, Dembski's research assistant and co-moderator of the site, Joel Borofsky, said:

"My hope is that ID will be taught properly in Kansas. Having been born and raised there I would love to claim to be from the first state to teach ID. There is a lot of movement among science high school teachers to never teach ID, even if it becomes a law because "we don't know how to teach philosophy." It would be nice to see them learn. I worked in a school and grew tired of hearing them speak of how it's wrong to point out the weaknesses in Darwin's theory because, "even if it is weak, it's still the best theory out there." (Shades of Dawkins anyone?)" [http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/1370 Radio Commercials Air in Kansas Supporting Standupforscience.com’s Approach to Teaching Evolution] Joel Borofsky. Uncommondescent.com, July 29, 2006]
To the statement that the Kansas science standards had nothing to do with intelligent design but were only about teaching evolution in a "balanced" way, Borofsky responded:
"It really is ID in disguise. The entire purpose behind all of this is to shift it into schools...at least that is the hope/fear among some science teachers in the area. The problem is, if you are not going to be dogmatic in Darwinism that means you inevitably have to point out a fault or at least an alternative to Darwinism. So far, the only plausible theory is ID. If one is to challenge Darwin, then one must use ID. To challenge Darwin is to challenge natural selection/spontaneous first cause...which is what the Kansas board is attempting to do. When you do that, you have to invoke the idea of ID."
In response to the reception to his comments, [ [http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/07/revealing_slip_of_the_keyboard.php Revealing slip of the keyboard] . PZ Myers. Pharyngula, July 31 2006.] [ [http://recursed.blogspot.com/2006/08/which-creationist-is-lying.html Which Creationist is Lying?] Jeffrey Shallit. Recursivity, August 1 2006.] Dembski's research assistant felt compelled to issue a clarification that he was only voicing his personal opinion, not that of others in the movement, and that he is Dembski's "assistant on theological work, not necessarily the ID movement." [ [http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/1389 Am I really that important?] Joel Borofsky. UncommonDescent, August 3 2006.]

The Discovery Institute continues to deny allegations that its true agenda is religious, and downplays the religious source of much of its funding. In an interview of Stephen C. Meyer when ABC News asked about the Discovery Institute's many evangelical Christian donors the institute's public relations representative stopped the interview saying "I don't think we want to go down that path." [ [http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=1297170&WNT=true Small Group Wields Major Influence in Intelligent Design Debate] ABC News, November 9 2005]

Both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Teachers Association spoke out against the new science standards; in addition to separate statements from each opposing the standards, the two groups issued a joint statement that the new Kansas standards are improved, but as currently written, they overemphasize controversy in the theory of evolution and distort the definition of science. The National Academy of Sciences and National Science Teachers Association offered to work with the board to resolve these issues so the state standards could use text from the National Research Council's "National Science Education Standards" and National Science Teachers Association's "Pathways to Science Standards", though they ultimately declined to grant use of the text due to Kansas State Board of Education members insisting on language "emphasizing controversy in the theory of evolution" and "distorting the definition of science." [cite web|title=Kansas Denied Use of National Science Education Standards|url=http://www.nationalacademies.org/morenews/20051027.htm|publisher=The National Academies|date=2005-10-27|accessdate=]

The position of the scientific community is that there is no controversy to teach, that evolution is widely accepted within the scientific community as a valid, well-supported theory and that such disagreements that do exist are about the details of evolution's mechanisms, not the validity of evolution itself.

For example the National Association of Biology Teachers in a statement endorsing evolution as noncontroversial quoted Theodosius Dobzhansky "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." and went on to state that the quote "accurately reflects the central, unifying role of evolution in biology. The theory of evolution provides a framework that explains both the history of life and the ongoing adaptation of organisms to environmental challenges and changes." They emphasized that "Scientists have firmly established evolution as an important natural process" and that "The selection of topics covered in a biology curriculum should accurately reflect the principles of biological science. Teaching biology in an effective and scientifically honest manner requires that evolution be taught in a standards-based instructional framework with effective classroom discussions and laboratory experiences." [cite web|last=Bisconti|first=Michael J.|title=NABT's Statement on Teaching Evolution|url=http://web.archive.org/web/20060927160040/http://www.nabt.org/sub/position_statements/evolution.asp|publisher=National Association of Biology Teachers|work=Internet Archive Wayback Machine|date=2006-09-27|accessdate=2008-03-20]

upport for new standards

The hub of the intelligent design movement, the Discovery Institute and its Center for Science and Culture, played a central role in bringing about the Kansas evolution hearings, first by supporting ID proponents in their bids for seats on the board, and later in aggressively lobbying for a "Teach the Controversy" solution [http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&program=CSC%20-%20Views%20and%20News&id=2570] . Teach the Controversy is a controversial political-action campaign originating from the Discovery Institute that seeks to advance an education policy for US public schools that introduces intelligent design to public school science curricula and seeks to redefine science [http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/barbara_forrest/naturalism.html] to allow for supernatural explanations by eliminating "methodological naturalism" from science and replacing it with "theistic realism" [http://www.arn.org/docs/johnson/ratzsch.htm] . Teach the Controversy proponents portray evolution as a "theory in crisis."

As well as proposing its own draft science standards to the Kansas State Board of Education [http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=3164&program=CSC%20-%20Science%20and%20Education%20Policy%20-%20School%20District%20Policy%20-%20MainPage] and "Critical Analysis of Evolution" high school lesson plan, [http://www.discovery.org/csc/ohio/docs/modellesson.pdf] (PDF file) the Discovery Institute participated in presenting a letter to the Kansas State Board of Education from Institute associate, Dr. Philip S. Skell [http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=2568&program=CSC] . A notable intelligent design proponent, Dr. Skell's letter to the board touts the alleged benefits of the Teach the Controversy approach, as well his credentials as a member of the National Academy of Sciences, despite the fact the National Academy of Sciences issued a policy statement against the Teach the Controversy solution and intelligent design as a concept.

Two intelligent design proponents, John H. Calvert, a lawyer and a Managing Director of Intelligent Design Network, Inc., and William S. Harris, Ph.D., co-author with Calvert of "Intelligent Design: The Scientific Alternative to Evolution" (National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Autumn 2003) were instrumental in pushing for the successful adoption of the new standards, including submitting a "Suggested Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law" [http://www.kansasscience2005.com/Findings%20of%20fact%20final.pdf] and numerous other documents [http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/sci_standards.htm] . Both are active participants in the intelligent design movement [http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/people.htm] .

Discovery Institute fellows used the media coverage of the hearings to take their message to the public. The Institute's vice president and program director, Stephen C. Meyer, appeared on the Fox News show "The Big Story with John Gibson", where he debated Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education. There Meyer sought to convey the Institute's message that debate over evolution is not a ploy to get religious ideas into public schools, that evolution is a theory in crisis, and that students were currently being taught in error there was no scientific controversy over evolution.

The proposed changes were not supported by most of the 26 members of the panel that reviews state science curriculum.


On 8 November 2005, the Board of Education voted to instruction science students along the lines of the Discovery Institute, that evolution could not rule out a supernatural or theistic source, that evolution itself was not fact but only a theory and one in crisis, and that ID must be considered a viable alternative to evolution.


The hearings drew criticism from leading scientists and organizations, some comparing the hearings to the sensationalism of the Scopes "Monkey Trial". Many scientists and scientific groups, despite being invited to participate by the organizers, chose not to, and it has been referred to as the "Kansas kangaroo court". Some organized active boycotts, others ignored it on the basis that any attention paid to it by the scientific community could have been used adversely.

The board has been accused of misuse of the political process for holding the hearings in the first place. Estimates place the cost of the hearings at $10,000, all funded by taxes. The board was also criticized for possible unfairness towards Pedro Irigonegaray, the Topeka lawyer who argued in favor of evolution. Supporters cite that Calvert was given more time to argue his side.

Concerns have also been raised that such a public attack on accepted theory could hamper the abilities of Kansas students to excel in science, as well as endanger their later prospects regarding universities and the job market.

Kansas has had experience with the debate before. In 1999 they voted to remove any mention of macroevolution, the age of the Earth, and the origin of the Universe from science curriculum. In 2001 the position was reversed as the membership of the board was changed due to the previous year's elections. But the board elections in 2004 have given conservatives a majority of the ten seats, causing the curriculum to again be evaluated.

List of participants

The following is a list of those who testified in the Kansas evolution hearings, most of whom are affiliated with the Discovery Institute and all of whom are intelligent design advocates or other forms of creationists, or advocates of some other form of anti-evolution.

* Mustafa Akyol - Columnist in the Turkish daily newspaper "Referans", and freelance writer in the U.S., vocal advocate of intelligent design. [ [http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/akyol200512020813.asp Under God or Under Darwin?] Mustafa Akyol. National Review.] [ [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo1.html#p4047 Kansas hearing transcripts] ]
* John C. Sanford - Cornell University Associate Professor of Horticultural Sciences, inventor of the "gene gun," intelligent design adovcate. [ [http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/1039/ ID at Cornell, John Sanford and Allen MacNeill] Dembski. Uncommondescent.com, April 14, 2006] [ [http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=3032&program=CSC%20-%20Views%20and%20News Intelligent Design: Professors discuss Teaching the Controversial Subject] Xiaowei Cathy Tang. Cornell Daily Sun, November 15, 2005] [ [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo1.html#p1803 Kansas hearing transcripts] ]
* Charles Thaxton - Editor of the book "Of Pandas and People", Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, [http://www.discovery.org/csc/fellows.php List of Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture Fellows] ] signer of the Discovery Institute's "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism." [http://www.discovery.org/articleFiles/PDFs/100ScientistsAd.pdf A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism] Discovery Institute. ]
* Jonathan Wells - author of Icons of Evolution and Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, signer of the Discovery Institute's "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism."
* Giuseppe Sermonti - Chief Editor of "Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum" and author of "Why Is a Fly Not a Horse?" which is published by the Discovery Institute. [ [http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&program=Book%20-%20CSC&id=3607 Why is a Fly Not a Horse?] Discovery Institute, Center for Science and Culture.]
* Robert DiSilvestro - Biochemist, Professor of Nutrition, Ohio State University, signer of the Discovery Institute's "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism." [ [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo1.html#p2176 Kansas hearing transcripts] ] [ [http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/01/ Evolution News, see January 10, 2006 update] ]
* Stephen C. Meyer - Program Director of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, Discovery Institute co-founder, signer of the Discovery Institute's "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism."
* Michael Behe - Biochemist at Lehigh University and prominent intelligent design proponent, Center for Science and Culture Fellow, and signer of the Discovery Institute's "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism."
* Bryan Leonard - High school biology teacher, involved in a doctoral thesis controversy in which he was supported by the Discovery Institute. [ [http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2005/06/10/osu Not So Intelligently Designed Ph.D. Panel] Inside Higher Ed, June 10 2005.] [http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=2715 Professors Defend Ohio Grad Student Under Attack by Darwinists] Discovery Institute News.] [ [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo5.html Kansas hearing transcripts] Q. The record will reflect your answer. Do you-- do you accept the general principle of common descent, that all of life was biologically related to the beginning of life? Yes or no? A. No.] [http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/08/the_politically_ohio.html]
* John Calvert - Lawyer who has worked closely with the Discovery Institute in finding constitutionally allowable ways to bring intelligent design and failing there, Teach the Controversy, into public schools. Managing Director of Intelligent Design network, inc., an organization that seeks intelligent design taught in public education.
* William S. Harris - Biochemist, Professor of Medicine, University of Missouri at Kansas City, Director of the Lipoprotein Research Laboratory, St. Luke’s Hospital, Kansas City, Missouri, signer of the Discovery Institute's "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism", and co-author, with John Calvert, of "Intelligent Design: The Scientific Alternative to Evolution". [ [http://www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org/publications.htm Publications] Intelligent Design Network.] [ [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo1.html#p10 Kansas hearing transcripts] ] [ [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo1.html#p198 Kansas hearing transcripts] Q. Do you accept the general principle of common descent, that all life is biologically related to the beginning of life? Yes or no. A. No. Q. Do you accept that human beings are related by common descent to prehominid ancestors? Yes or no. A. No]
* Edward Peltzer - Oceanographer, Associate Editor, Marine Chemistry, Senior Research Specialist Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, signer of the Discovery Institute's "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism." [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo3.html Kansas hearing transcripts] ]
* Russell Carlson - Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology University of Georgia, signer of the Discovery Institute's "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism."Member of DI research fellow William Dembski's The International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (ISCID) [ [http://www.iscid.org/russell-carlson.php ISCID] ] [ [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo1.html#p1571 Kansas hearing transcripts] ]
* Roger DeHart - High school biology teacher, Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, California, who claims teaching intelligent design cost him two jobs. Author of a companion study guide "Icons of Evolution- A Study Guide" to Jonathan Wells' "Icons of Evolution". [ [http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&program=CSC%20-%20Video%20and%20Curriculum%20-%20Curriculum&id=2130 Icons of Evolution--A Study Guide] Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.] [http://www.kansasscience2005.com/WitnessesScienceHearings.pdf Witnesses to who testified at Hearings Conducted by the Science Committee of the Kansas State Board of Education] KansasScience2005.com] [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo1.html#p2379 Kansas hearing transcripts] ]
* Nancy Bryson - Former Division Head of the Dept of Science and Mathematics at Mississippi University for Women who claims to have lost her position over a presentation "Critical Thinking on Evolution" that presented alternatives to Darwinian evolution which a senior professor of biology derided the speech as "religion masquerading as science." [ [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo7.html#p3064 Kansas Evolution HearingsTranscripts of an Intelligently-Designed "Kangaroo Court"] TalkOrigins.com] [ [http://orig.clarionledger.com/news/0303/15/m06.html MUW educator returned to post] ClarionLedger.com.] Bryson is often cited by the Discovery Institute as one who has "demonized and blacklisted" by "Darwinian fundamentalists." [ [http://www.discovery.org/csc/freeSpeechEvolCampMain.php Join The Free Speech on Evolution Campaign Scientists, teachers, and students are under attack for questioning evolution - Help us Help Them] Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.]
* John Millam - Software developer, signer of the Discovery Institute's "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism", denier of common dissent, advocate of intelligent design. [ [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo6.html Kansas hearing transcripts] Q. Do you accept that human beings are related by common descent to prehominid ancestors? Yes or no? A. No. Q. What is the alternative explanation for how the human species came into existence if you do not accept common descent? A. Design.]
* Warren Nord - Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Education, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District defense witness who withdrew before testifying along with other Discovery Institute associates William Dembski, John Campbell, and Stephen C. Meyer. [ [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo9.html Kansas hearing transcripts] "But when you teach only Neo-Darwinism, the inevitable conclusion to draw is that doesn't explain everything. Design theory does not require God-- or a Christian God--"]
* Bruce Simat - Associate Professor of Biology at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota, signer of the Discovery Institute's "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism." [ [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo2.html Kansas hearing transcripts] Q. Sir, the first question I'd like to ask you is, do you accept the evolutionary theory of common descent of humans from prehominids? A. From the data that I've been following it's probably not true.]
* Dan Ely - Professor of Biology, University of Akron in Ohio, self-described intelligent design teacher [ [http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/02/biologist_dan_ely_testifies_in.html Biologist Dan Ely testifies in Support of Ohio's Critical Analysis of Evolution Lesson Plan] Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.] who assisted in drafting the adopted lesson plan.
* James Barham - Scholar, author, intelligent design advocate specializing in evolutionary epistemology, the philosophy of mind, and the foundations of biology, known for "Why I am not a Darwinist" in "Debating Darwin, From Darwin to DNA" [ [http://www.cambridge.org/aus/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=0521829496 Debating Darwin, From Darwin to DNA] Edited by William A. Dembski. Cambridge University Press.] and quoted in Dembski's "Uncommon Dissent...Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing". [ [http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&program=CSC%20Responses&id=2166 A review of Uncommon Dissent] Bruce Thornton. CaliforniaRepublic.org] [ [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo1.html#p3389 Kansas hearing transcripts] ]
* Ralph Seelke - PhD Professor of Microbiology, University of Wisconsin - Superior, self-described Christian apologetist, signer of the Discovery Institute's "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism."
* Jill Gonzalez-Bravo - eighth grade Kansas science teacher, who endorsed the Discovery Institute-promulgated science standards in her testimony and in an interview conducted by the Discovery Institute. [ [http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2006-07-13T17_02_16-07_00 A Kansas Teacher Stands Up For Science] Intelligent Design The Future.] Additionally, Gonzalez-Bravo appeared in a commercial favoring the teaching of intelligent design. [ [http://www.evolutionnews.org/2006/07/radio_commercials_air_in_kansa.html Radio Commercials Air in Kansas Supporting Standupforscience.com's Approach to Teaching Evolution] ]
* Angus Menuge - philosopher of science, Dept. of Philosophy Concordia University Wisconsin, who participated in Discovery Institute sponsored symposia leading up to the 2006 election for seats opening in the state Board of Education. [ [http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&program=CSC%20-%20Views%20and%20News&id=3650 Statewide Symposiums Will Deliver the Truth About Kansas Science Standards And Teaching of Evolution] Discovery Institute.] [ [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo8.html Kansas hearing transcripts] ] Menuge also describes himself as someone whose interest "now are in promoting Christian teaching and scholarship...". [ [http://www.cs.cuw.edu/department/faculty/menuge.html Menuge's page at Concordia University Wisconsin] ] [ [http://www.iscid.org/papers/Menuge_DennettDenied_103103.pdf Menuge's Argument for Design] ]


The Kansas Board of Education voted 6-4 August 9, 2005 to include greater criticism of evolution in its school science standards, but it decided to send the standards to an outside academic for review before taking a final vote. The standards received final approval on November 8, 2005. The new standards were approved by 6 to 4, reflecting the makeup of religious conservatives on the board. [http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2005-11-08-kansas-science-standards_x.htm] In July 2006 the Board of Standards issued a "rationale statement" which claimed that the current science curriculum standards do not include intelligent design. [http://www.kcfs.org/kcfsnews/?p=141] Members of the scientific community critical of the standards contend that the board's statement is misleading in that they contain a "significant editorializing that supports the Discovery Institute and the Intelligent Design network’s campaign position that Intelligent Design is not included in the standards", the standards "do say that students should learn about ID, and that ID content ought to be in the standards", and that the standards present the controversy over intelligent design as a scientific one, denying the mainstream scientific view. [http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/07/the_kansas_stan.html#more] [http://www.kcfs.org/kcfsnews/?p=141]

Kansas joins Ohio in adopting Critical Analysis of Evolution public school science standards in the past four years.

While other states are backing away from teaching alternatives to evolution, the Oklahoma House passed a bill Thursday, March 2, 2006, encouraging schools to expose students to alternative views about the origin of life.

Popular reaction included the creation of the intelligent design parody Flying Spaghetti Monsterism. Its founder insists it should be offered as a "third" theory on origins, suggesting possible legal action if it is not included and intelligent design is.

On August 1, 2006, 4 of the 6 conservative Republicans who approved the Critical Analysis of Evolution classroom standards lost their seats in a primary election. The moderate Republican and liberal Democrats gaining seats, largely supported by Governor Kathleen Sebelius, vowed to overturn the 2005 school science standards and adopt those recommended by a State Board Science Hearing Committee that were rejected by the previous board. [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14137751/]

One of the members who lost her seat, Connie Morris, a conservative from St. Francis in the northwest corner of the state, pointed to the "liberal media" for her loss, noting that "liberal opportunists" do not mind "slandering people and harming their families and their reputation and their business and their communities and their state ... It's a shame, and I feel bad for them when they face God on Judgment Day." Although four born-again Christians remain on the Board, she believes that the new board will waste no time adopting new science standards, expecting that in January, when the new members are sworn in, the Board will rescind existing standards and adopt new ones that "let government schools teach children that we are no more than chaotic, random mutants." [cite news|last=Brown|first=Jim|title=Official Cries Foul as Liberals Take Over Kansas Education Board|url=http://web.archive.org/web/20061006223857/http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/8/112006d.asp|work=Agape Press|publisher=Internet Archive Wayback Machine|date=2006-08-11|accessdate=2008-05-04]

On February 13, 2007, the Board voted 6 to 4 to reject the amended science standards enacted in 2005. The definition of science was once again returned to "the search for natural explanations for what is observed in the universe."


External links

* [http://www.kansasscience2005.com/Draft_2_Changes_added_by_board_as_of_8905.pdf Summary of Key Changes to Kansas Science Standards adopted by the Kansas State Board of Education] (PDF)
* [http://www.nationalacademies.org/morenews/includes/20051027c.pdf Review of the Kansas Science Education Standards by the National Academy of Sciences] (PDF file)
* [http://www.nationalacademies.org/morenews/includes/20051027.pdf Joint Statement from the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Teachers Association] (PDF file)
* [http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/kansas/kangaroo.html Transcripts of Kansas Evolution Hearings]
* [http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2005/05/06/echoes_of_scopes_trial_heard_in_intelligent_design_hearing "Echoes of Scopes Trial Heard in Intelligent Design Hearing"] from the "Boston Globe"
* [http://premium.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/05/05/evolution.hearings.reut/ "Evolution Hearings Open in Kansas"] from CNN
* [http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/dawkins/writings/God's%20Gift%20to%20Kansas.pdf God's Gift to Kansas] , Richard Dawkins, The Times, May 21st, 2005

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