KCFS Update 2/23/06

KCFS Update

Be sure to visit our homepage to read the Dover, PA decision. Drop in to our Public Discusison Forums for a good…discussion…

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USD 383 Becomes First School District to Reject New Science Standards
Kansas State Collegian – February 16, 2006

In a 6-0 final action vote, Manhattan-Ogden USD 383 became the first school district in Kansas to reject the science standards passed by the Kansas State Board of Education on Nov. 8, 2005, Mike Herman, associate professor of biology, said.

The standards allowed non-natural explanations of natural phenomena.

“I think what has us all concerned is when we look at the state standards, there is a door that opens toward Intelligent Design,” board member Beth Tatarko said. “You watch presentations, you listen to the speakers, you really press them on the issue, and it is about religion.” . . .

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State Board Takes On New Prominence
Pratt Tribune – February 16, 2006

The Kansas State Board of Education sets the standards by which Kansas students and schools they attend are measured. It decides who is qualified to teach in the state’s public schools, and to a degree, what they will teach. The board is elected by popular vote – candidates for five of the 10 positions will be on ballots this year – but at least until recently, many Kansas voters may have had little awareness of who is running and what they will do once elected.

Ken Willard, Hutchinson, who has filed for re-election for District 7, a large area in central Kansas that includes Pratt County, agrees that “in the past…not many people know what we do.” . . .

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Johnson County Sun – February 16, 2006

The Kansas Association of Teachers of Science Board of Directors released a position statement Monday denouncing the science standards approved by the State Board of Education in November.

“KATS is committed to promoting quality science teaching and the scientific literacy of both students and citizens throughout the state of Kansas,” the three-page release said. “Accordingly, the KATS Board of Directors rejects on both scientific and pedagogical grounds the 2005 State Science Standards. The 2005 standards neither promote quality teaching nor the development of scientific literacy.” . . .

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Teens give views on sex education
KC Star – February 22, 2006

TOPEKA – As a senior at Blue Valley North High School, Stephanie Bell knows where her peers learn about sex. And it isn’t in the classroom, she said.

Instead, teenagers learn from peers or the Internet, she told Kansas lawmakers on Tuesday. She was one of several teenagers, health instructors and parents who came to the Capitol to endorse a bill, known as Abstinence Plus, to require public sex education to go beyond abstinence only. . . .

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Plan finds $400 million for schools — or does it?
Wichita Eagle – February 19, 2006

TOPEKA – A key player in this year’s school funding debate is working on a plan that, on paper, would show a $400 million increase in state support for schools.

But in reality, schools may not get any additional money under the proposal.

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Foes of School Funding Bill Say It’s Prescription for Trouble
School Nurses, Social Workers At Risk, Critics Say
Atlanta Journal-Constitution – February 22, 2006

[Alabama] Gov. Sonny Perdue and Republican leaders are pushing a controversial mandate through the Georgia General Assembly that would force school systems to spend nearly two-thirds of their funding on
“direct classroom expenditures” – a definition that excludes nurses, guidance counselors, librarians, principals and other school staff…

Georgia is headed to becoming the fourth state to implement the standard, joining Louisiana, Kansas and Texas, all of which adopted similar rules last year. . . .

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School board in intelligent design case to pay parents’ court costs
Chicago Tribune – February 21, 2006

NEW YORK – The Dover Area School Board on Tuesday night agreed to pay $1 million in court costs incurred by 11 parents who charged the rural Pennsylvania district with unconstitutionally teaching intelligent design and won their suit in federal district court last December…

“Future school boards or states that are considering it should be aware of how much it costs to bring a case like this to protect individuals’ constitutional rights,” said Eric Rothschild, a partner in Pepper Hamilton. The Philadelphia law firm, with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, represented the parents at no charge…

[Ed: A bit misleading. The $1million court costs were run up by the ID-Friendly (anti-evolution) Dover school board members who decided to fight their case in court, against the advice of the school board’s attorney – and lost.]

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US scientists group slams intelligent design legislation
JURIST – February 20, 2006

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) [http://www.aaas.org], the world’s largest general scientific society, has denounced legislation and policies that “undermine evolution” and
“deprive students of the education they need to be informed and productive citizens,” referring specifically to pending legislation in 14 states that would “weaken science education.”


AAAS denounces anti-evolution laws as hundreds of K-12 teachers convene for ‘Front Line’ event
ST. LOUIS, MO – February 19, 2006


EXCERPT:Pending U.S. anti-evolution legislation currently includes: Alabama SB 240, Arkansas HB 2607, Georgia HB 179, Kansas SB 168, Michigan HB 5251, Mississippi SB 2286, Missouri HB 1266, New York 8036, Ohio HB 481, Oklahoma HB 2107, Pennsylvania HB 1007, South Carolina SB 909, Texas HB 1447 and Utah SB 96…


At a Scientific Gathering, U.S. Policies Are Lamented
NY Times – February 18, 2006

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 18 – David Baltimore, the Nobel Prize-winning biologist and president of the California Institute of Technology, is used to the Bush administration misrepresenting scientific findings to support its policy aims, he told an audience of fellow researchers Saturday. Each time it happens, he said, “I shrug and say, ‘What do you expect?’ “…

“It’s no accident that we are seeing such an extensive suppression of scientific freedom,” he said. “It’s part of the theory of government now, and it’s a theory we need to vociferously oppose.” Far from twisting science to suit its own goals, he said, the government should be “the guardian of intellectual freedom.” . .


US Scientists enlist clergy in evolution battle
Reuters – February 19, 2006

ST. LOUIS, Missouri – American scientists fighting back against creationism, intelligent design and other theories that seek to deny or downgrade the importance of evolution have recruited unlikely allies — the clergy.


Churches urged to back evolution
BBC News – February 20, 2006

US scientists have called on mainstream religious communities to help them fight policies that undermine the teaching of evolution.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) hit out at the “intelligent design” movement at its annual meeting in Missouri.

Teaching the idea threatens scientific literacy among schoolchildren, it said. . . .

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School boards heeding lessons from Dover ruling
Intelligent design case serves as cautionary tale across the country
York Daily Record/Sunday News – February 19, 2006

In the weeks after a federal judge ruled Dover’s intelligent design policy was unconstitutional, supporters of the concept spent much time pointing out that the court decision had no legal standing outside the school district.

Even so, other school boards across the country are heeding the words of U.S. Judge John E. Jones III, who wrote that, “To be sure, Darwin’s theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions.” . . .

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Bill banning intelligent design draws national notice
Restricts teaching of intelligent design
The Capital Times – Madison, WI – February 16, 2006

Religious conservatives around the country are up in arms over a Wisconsin bill that would ban the teaching of intelligent design as science in the state’s public schools.

Focus on the Family, the evangelical Christian advocacy group led by founder James Dobson, panned the legislation this week on its Web site.

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[Ed: Following is an excellent summary of the goings-on at the Dover trial and the main points of Judge Jones’s decision.]


Victory in Dover!
Federal Court Unmasks The Genesis Of ‘Intelligent Design’
– And The Lies That Helped Bring It Into Pennsylvania Public Schools

The court’s Dec. 20 decision in the closely watched case from Dover, Pa., wasn’t just a victory for the plaintiffs – it was a grand-slam. U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III declared the pro-intelligent design (ID) policy a violation of the First Amendment’s separation of church and state – but he didn’t stop there. In his 139-page ruling, Jones wrote that ID is not science but religion and blasted the Dover school board for adopting a divisive and contentious policy that sparked a powerful backlash in town. . . .

Read the ruling at


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Intelligent design becomes intelligent recruiting
Patriot-News – February 21, 2006

As enrollment season starts, two private Christian schools are advertising with the phrase [intelligent design] that stirred a national buzz a few months ago. Harrisburg Christian School mentioned intelligent design in radio ads, while Bible Baptist School is using it in four billboards on the West Shore. . . .

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Are We Losing Our Edge?

The U.S. still leads the world in scientific innovation. But years of declining investment and fresh competition from abroad threaten to end our supremacy

TIME – February 13, 2006


EXCERPT: After more than a half-century of unchallenged superiority in virtually every field of science and technology, from basic research to product development, America is starting to lose ground to other nations. . .


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Intelligent design founder argues against evolution
The Register-Mail – February 18, 2006

GALESBURG – The father of intelligent design says his child is not ready for school.

The hypothesis of intelligent design, while being developed, is not complete enough to be taught in the classroom, Phillip Johnson, professor emeritus of law at the University of California at Berkeley, said during a lecture at Knox College Friday. Johnson is widely recognized as a founder of the intelligent design movement. . . .

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Few Biologists but Many Evangelicals Sign Anti-Evolution Petition
NY Times – February 21, 2006

In the recent skirmishes over evolution, advocates who have pushed to dilute its teaching have regularly pointed to a petition signed by 514 scientists and engineers.

The petition, they say, is proof that scientific doubt over evolution persists. But random interviews with 20 people who signed the petition and a review of the public statements of more than a dozen others suggest that many are evangelical Christians, whose doubts about evolution grew out of their religious beliefs. And even the petition’s sponsor, the Discovery Institute in Seattle, says that only a quarter of the signers are biologists, whose field is most directly concerned with evolution. The other signers include 76 chemists, 75 engineers, 63 physicists and 24 professors of medicine. . . .

Opposing petitions have sprung up.

The National Center for Science Education, which has battled efforts to dilute the teaching of evolution, has sponsored a pro-evolution petition signed by 700 scientists named Steve, in honor of Stephen Jay
Gould, the Harvard paleontologist who died in 2002…

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Way to Make State BOE follow Ohio’s lead is to change board
WE Blog – February 16, 2006

An Ohio Board of Education member predicted that his board’s decision Tuesday to remove language criticizing evolution from Ohio’s science standards would affect other state science standards. He doesn’t know the Kansas State Board of Education.

Our state board’s majority members have shown that they don’t really care what others think, or at least not the views of the overwhelming majority of the world’s scientists, national science organizations, a federal judge in Pennsylvania, or the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science — which complained this week that the state board is “promoting intelligent design tenets that purport supernatural explanations as valid scientific theories.” No, the only way to get our board to follow Ohio’s lead is to elect new board members this

Posted by Phillip Brownlee

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WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 17 Feb 06 Washington, DC


The Ohio Board of Education voted 11 to 4 on Tuesday to scrap a requirement that “critical analysis of evolution” be taught in biology classes. Ohio’s “critical analysis” ploy for teaching intelligent design had been hailed by The Discovery Institute as a model for the entire nation. Rejection by the Education Board came as a direct consequence of the Dover ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III: teaching ID is unconstitutional. A Discovery Institute spokesman publicly scoffed that the Dover ruling was not binding elsewhere, but Judge Jones expanded the blast radius by awarding damages to the parents who brought suit. That got the attention of school boards. The Discovery Institute has bet the farm on selling ID as science, but the Dover effect has blunted it in California, Indiana and Wisconsin, and now Ohio.

[Ed: Might we dare to hope. in Kansas, too?]

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Intelligent design? Meh
The Minnesota Daily – February 20, 2006

The problem is not the fact that intelligent design technically is not science, it is that it is beginning a trend.

By Will Martin

Being a former fundamentalist, I can sympathize with the intelligent designer thought process; but as a religious studies major, I’m finding it harder to do so. I actually read Michael Behe’s book when I was very strict about my fundamentalist beliefs and grabbed onto every word he fed me. I felt that believing in God required there be a literal Genesis chapter one (and/or two) creation. In retrospect, I realize our amazing abilities to deny evidence when it contradicts our beliefs. I willfully remained ignorant of evolution out of fear of what it might disprove in the Bible. I even had talked with biology professors about evolution but immediately would discard their professional views because of my belief filters. This willful ignorance and denial of facts is a powerful force. I believed because I wanted to believe, not because the facts compelled me to….

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Design bill not needed
The Muskogee (OK) Phoenix – February 18, 2006

The state House will hear soon – but should reject – a bill that would authorize religious discussion in public school science classrooms.

Monday, the Oklahoma House Committee on Common Education approved the Academic Freedom Act (HB 2107) by a vote of 8 to 5, sending it to the House floor for consideration.

But the simple fact is that science is science. Discussing views on evolution and the creation of life are better debated in philosophy and religion classes in grade and high schools rather than in science
classes. . . .

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Cutting intelligent design a wise move
The Cincinnati Enquirer – February 18, 2006

The Ohio Board of Education’s decision Tuesday to remove curriculum-standard language that has led some to teach intelligent design (ID) as science was a wise, pragmatic move that could save Ohio money from lawsuits, save schools from the distraction this debate has brought, and preserve students’ best interests in receiving a sound scientific education. . . .

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To the Point: Intelligent design research not credible
The Sheboygan Press – February 19, 2006

I would like to address several points in the letter by Dr. Miles Meidam (The Sheboygan Press, Feb. 14), a retired anthropology and sociology professor.

First, he states that scientists pursuing intelligent design research are at reputable institutions and then touts Prof. Michael Behe as one.

While Behe is at Lehigh University, his colleagues recognize the inferiority of his work in ID and emphasize this by placing a disclaimer on their Web site stating that they are “unequivocal” in their support of evolutionary theory: . . .

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Book: ‘Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life’s Origins’
Robert M. Hazen
Author/Carnegie Institute of Washington

Robert M. Hazen of the Carnegie Institute of Washington was online Thursday, Feb. 16, at noon ET to discuss his book, “Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life’s Origins,” which examines the debate between scientists over theories on the origin of life. Hazen believes the emergence of life was the result of extremely complex natural events occurring over a period of time. Hazen, who opposes the theory of Intelligent Design, follows the work of scientists around the world who are grappling with this enduring and controversial question.


EXCERPT FROM TRANSCRIPT:Alexandria, Va.: How would you boil down your overarching theory in a sentence or so? It is very complex but what is your basic belief on life’s origins?

Robert M. Hazen: The origin of life was an inevitable process of emergent complexity — a transition from the geochemical simplicity of oceans, atmosphere, and rocks, to the biochemical complexity of the first cell.

Arlington, Va.: In a nutshell, why do you oppose the theory of intelligent design?

Robert M. Hazen: ID is not science, because it relies on a supernatural intervention — a process that by definition cannot be falsified by the methods of science. Science can neither prove nor disprove ID, any more than we can prove or disprove that Stonehenge was built by intelligent aliens. If we can show a simpler, natural process that leads from simplicity to complexity, then I prefer to adopt that simpler explanation. Also, I see a real flaw in resorting to a designer who who continual replace failed species and has to “tinker” if you will. I’m much more persuaded by a creator who gets it right from the start.

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The AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DOSER) program will release a new book in April, entitled “The Evolution Dialogues (Science, Christianity, and the Quest for Understanding”. From the promo, the book explains in plain language:

– “a description of the development of evolutionary theory from before Darwin to the present – the rich and complex historical interaction of evolution and Christianity – accounts of the nature of science and of Christian approaches to understanding”

It rejects the claim that evolutionary theory denies the existence of God as creator.

Contact doser@aaas.org or http://www.aaas.org/spp/dser

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Learn the truth about the “Most Popular Myths in Science” and lots more as you poke around this very cool site.


Journey through the story of human evolution in this fantastic broadband documentary experience. Includes latest paleoanthropology news, a learning center, and teaching resources.

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Red State Rabble

Thoughts From Kansas

The Panda’s Thumb

Talk Origins
The foremost source for information about evolution, creationism and related topics.

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