Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Evolution debates planned

Hearings in May will address state's science teachings


The topic is whether the state's science standards meet the intent of a statement that was part of the debates when federal lawmakers crafted the No Child Left Behind Act. That statement says, in part, "Where topics are taught that may guarantee controversy (such as biological evolution) the curriculum should help students understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy, and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society."

That amendment, proposed by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., was initially approved by the U.S. Senate and is part of a conference committee report. But the amendment isn't federal law.

John Calvert, managing director of the Overland Park-based Intelligent Design network, says the amendment still carries weight. As part of the conference committee report, he said, it could provide guidance to those interpreting the federal law. Plus, he said, it just makes sense.

"Is it absolutely, essentially required? I don't think so," Calvert said Monday. "But I do think what is required by No Child Left Behind and, I think, actually by the Constitution is that the science standards be secular, neutral and nonideological."

I'd agree with that. I don't want the public schools teaching religion (they'd screw it all up). That said, they need to stop eliminating all theories other than evolution. There could be no damage done by a healthy discussion and debate over the various top theories of origins.


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