4.12.2005

Scientists Boycott Creationism 'Charade'



Evolution Backers To Boycott Kansas Hearings

from The Kansas City Star

It looks as if the coming hearings on the Kansas science standards will be a one-sided event.

Proponents of intelligent design have lined up 23 witnesses — including one from Italy and another from Turkey — to support their point of view.

But scientists who defend evolution apparently are boycotting the hearings, said Alexa Posny, assistant commissioner for the state Department of Education.

As of Thursday, the state's deadline, only one scientist had agreed to testify and his appearance had not been confirmed, she said.

“We have contacted scientists from all over the world,” Posny said. “There isn't anywhere else we can go.”

The state board periodically updates the standards in each of its curriculum areas. A 26-member committee appointed by Education Commissioner Andy Tompkins has been working to revise the science standards since June. It will present its second draft to the board at its monthly meeting Wednesday.

The hearings, tentatively scheduled for May 5-7 and May 12-14, were set up by the conservative majority on the Kansas Board of Education.Board members say they want the public to hear more about intelligent design, the theory that some aspects of life and its diversity are the result of planned processes, not chance or necessity.

The president of Kansas Citizens for Science, who had called for the boycott, said he was pleased Thursday to hear it was being honored. Intelligent design is the latest form of creationism, Harry McDonald said, and has no place in a science classroom.

In addition, he said, he thinks board conservatives have made up their minds to support a proposal from the intelligent design side that calls for students to learn about the weaknesses of evolution.

"Intelligent design is not going to get its forum, at least not one in which they can say that scientists participated," McDonald said. "We have learned too much to continue participating in this charade."

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