Angry parents and disgruntled voters in Kansas turned back another attempt to blend religion and science in the classroom. Keep up the fight.
The conservative majority of the Kansas Board of Education was swept from office, clearing the way to cancel instructional guidelines that were to go into effect in 2007. They undercut the state's science curriculum and opened evolution to unsubstantiated attacks. Darwin's views on the origin of the species are indeed a theory, ripe for vigorous scientific prodding and poking. But challenges to those propositions have come from proponents of so-called intelligent design, who lay off the complexity of life to the work of an unnamed, unidentified supernatural designer.
Evolution's critics defer to a creator instead of taking on Darwin with science.
Setbacks with voters and in the courts are taking the steam out of a point of view that is best left to a philosophy or religion class.
A federal judge last December knocked down an attempt by a Pennsylvania school district to package religion and science. Voters in the Dover Area School District booted eight of the nine board members who backed inclusion of intelligent design.
Another federal judge in January ruled that stickers debunking evolution could not be pasted on the front of biology books. In February, the Ohio School Board dropped mandatory criticism of evolution from the curriculum.
Kansas voters rightfully reclaimed control of their science classes. Creationism has been repackaged with an intimidating veneer of scientific what-ifs.
Another part of the story that does not get repeated often enough: The judge in the Dover case noted he heard testimony from scientific experts who said Darwin's theory "in no way conflicts with, nor does it deny, the existence of a divine creator."
Voters in Kansas acted in the best interest of a sound education, separating science and religion.
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company