Monkey Trials Revisited In Kansas
If ever it was thought that the evolution/creationism debate, at least in public forums, was settled 80 years ago by legendary heavyweights William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow, then think again.
The stage is set once again, this time in Kansas, as a conservative state Board of Education gears up for four days of hearings beginning today.
The hearings will address state school science curriculum, as some are intent on diminishing or discrediting Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection, and implementing a science standard based on intelligent design.
Evolution proponents criticize the move, saying the concept of intelligent design is merely a mask sitting over the face of creationism.
Steve Abrams, chairman of the BOE and former chairman of the state GOP, is spearheading the effort. Abrams’ goal is more intelligent design friendly scientific standards.
Stating that he is against bringing religion into the classroom, Abrams claims to support empirical science, defining the term as “observable, testable, measurable, repeatable and falsifiable.”
When engaging within these tenets, pre-existing biases of faith are eliminated,” he said.
Board member, Sue Gamble, a moderate Republican, doubts Abrams’ assertions.
“He throws out what looks like a scientific definition that makes sense and it absolutely does not,” Gamble said. “Just because Steve Abrams says it’s so doesn’t mean it’s so.”
Evolutionary scientists are losing their religion over the matter. They are staging a boycott of the hearings in a protest that states the considerations by the board undermine science.
“These science hearings’ are meant to further a political and theological agenda,” said Pedro Irigonegaray, a Topeka attorney representing pro-evolution scientists.
The hearings will run through Saturday and resume on May 12th. The BOE members will present arguments and witnesses from both sides of the debate.
A three-member panel, which has already expressed doubts about evolution, will then make recommendations for science standards approval next month.