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Kansas Debate Over Evolution Vs. Intelligent Design

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The state of Kansas is preparing to debate Darwin’s theory of evolution and a current variant on creationism called intelligent design. When Darwin cruised on the Beagle all those years ago, one wonders if he foresaw such controversy lasting so many years. Things really came to a head though during the Scopes Monkey Trial.

Back in 1925, a number of states including Tennessee passed legislation making it unlawful “to teach any theory that denies the story of divine creation as taught by the Bible and to teach instead that man was descended from a lower order of animals.” Thus began the battle.

John T. Scopes, a science teacher in Tennessee with the help of several others taught evolution in class and by doing so broke the law. The state put him on trial and then a bonfire of sorts started.

The astute politician and legendary orator, William Jennings Bryan stepped up to the plate of the prosecution to challenge the evolution and to uphold the law. Bryan was long known as a populist and defender of the people. The other side tried to get a number of individuals including legendary science fiction author H.G. Wells but when Bryan jumped in, so did famous defense attorney Clarence Darrow. They battled and fought in the courtroom for days and in the end, Scopes was found guilty, it went to the Tennessee State Supreme Court and they eventually dismissed the trial. The debate over evolution rages on today.

Kansas currently struggles in an ongoing debate on what to teach in its biology classrooms. Studies show many people in the U.S. still consider creationism the fact and not just a religious tenet. Students are beginning to question the validity of evolution based on a more concerted effort by conservative groups who at the very least want intelligent design taught beside evolution if not doing a way with evolution teaching all together.

Right now, evolution defenders are skipping the debate in Kansas because they feel it will lend credence to the intelligent design concept and give supporters more fuel. Kansas has had problems with this debate in recent years having switched positions on this depending on whether conservatives or liberals control the state board of education.

This issue will remain a debate well into the foreseeable future. With the studies showing a fairly broad swathe of the population still supporting creationism or intelligent design, evolution still has quite a ways to go if it is accepted as the primary fact. Right now, in most states, evolution is taught in classrooms but the challenges are more plentiful as of late. The biggest problems many opponents have with intelligent design is the lack of empirical evidence. They say prove it.

The other kink in the religious side of things is a paper issued by Pope John Paul II. His “Message to the Pontifical Academy of Science on Evolution,” back in October of 1996 changed the position of the church and said there was too much evidence to deny the existence of evolution

Perhaps one consideration has been left out however. What if Darwin’s Evolution IS the Intelligent Design?

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Kansas Debate Over Evolution Vs. Intelligent Design
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