Kansas schools ban Darwin

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The Independent Online
THE BOARD of Education in the state of Kansas has approved a science curriculum for all publicly funded schools that excludes any mention of evolution. This week's decision is the latest attempt by the Creationist movement, which stipulates a literal interpretation of the creation, to exclude Darwin's theory of evolution from school science teaching.

In the past 30 years, several other southern states, including Alabama and Arkansas, have attempted to impose the Creationist view on science teaching, only to have their decisions overturned by federal court rulings. But Kansas could succeed by not specifically outlawing the teaching of evolution, merely not including it as a required part of the curriculum. In theory, this leaves the final choice to the school.

The Kansas move is one of the most far-reaching attempts to remove the teaching of evolution from schools. It does leave in place the teaching of "microevolution", evolution within species. This is where the Creationists and the Darwinians part: Darwin's theory posits evolution across species, anathema to the Creationists because it implies humans are descended from animals.

The Creationists support an Institute of Creation Science that supports research projects challenging Darwinian theory. A nationwide Gallup poll in June found 68 per cent of those surveyed wanted both Creationism and evolution taught in schools, but 55 per cent opposed limiting teaching to Creationism alone.

The Kansas decision was approved by a majority vote of 6 to 4, and was immediately attacked by a spokeswoman for the National Center for Science Education, who said the "scientific literacy" of Kansas pupils would be seriously damaged.

The board ignored a warning from the Kansas Governor, Bill Graves, to stay away from the anti-evolution theories.