Coalition for Quality Science in Kansas announced

| 6 Comments

This morning four Kansas organizations, including Kansas Citizens for Science, announced the formation of a coalition in support of the state science standards committee’s work and opposing the kangaroo court hearings in May. The coalition released a position paper which states in part:

We urge all Kansans to join us in adopting the following positions:

1. We request that the State Board of Education adopt the final draft of the standards offered later this spring by the writing committee, without revisions.

2. We request that the State Board of Education cancel all special opportunities for the Intelligent Design minority to present their views. We especially urge the Board to cancel the so-called “science hearings” scheduled in May. The minority proposals were considered and rejected by a two-thirds majority of the science standards writing committee. The BOE should accept that and give the minority group no further special privileges.

See the KCFS News Forum to read both today’s News Release and the Position Paper.

6 Comments

The ID proponents are demanding “special rights”. I like that. I think that terminology will be effective.

one-third accepted it?!

When the writing committee was formed, there were five anti-evolutionists on the Board of Education, and each got to recommend two people for the committee. Therefore, out of 25 members we could have had as many as 10 creation-friendly members, because those Board members selected people who would support their anti-evolutionary position. As it turned out, “only” eight of those people joined the ID minority.

That is, the reason there are as many IDists as there are is because the creationist Board members were working on this from the beginning.

Speaking of Kansas:

From the Wichita Eagle:

Evolution’s defenders will testify

Supporters of teaching evolution had been planning a boycott of the State Board of Education’s hearings on the issue.

BY STEVE PAINTER

Eagle Topeka bureau

TOPEKA - Defenders of evolution, despite earlier pledges of a boycott, plan to present three days of evidence in support of the scientific theory at hearings next month.

A science education group, meanwhile, intends to offer daily commentary when supporters of the concept of intelligent design make their case.

The stage will be two sets of hearings May 5-7 and May 12-14 in Topeka before a three-member committee of the State Board of Education. All three members favor de-emphasizing evolution as the board adopts new science standards this year.

Pedro Irigonegaray, a Topeka lawyer, provided no specifics about who will testify in support of standards recommended by a science education committee. He said he is representing, at no charge, that committee’s majority, whose evolution recommendations were rejected by the state board.

“The majority concluded that a response is needed,” he said.

“Our witnesses will be called in a timely manner, and they will have relevant and important information,” he added.

The development came as the three state board members met by teleconference to finalize plans for the May hearings. Irigonegaray and John Calvert, a retired lawyer who runs the Intelligent Design Network, took part in the meeting at the State Department of Education building in Topeka.

As the meeting opened, Irigonegaray objected to the state board spending “a single penny” to promote what he called a “political agenda” to bring theology into science classrooms.

Intelligent design suggests that certain features of living things, such as DNA, are too complicated to have occurred naturally and that no scientific law explains them.

Evolution is considered the central theory of biology.

Calvert has lined up 24 witnesses to question evolution in the first set of hearings. Tuesday night, he pressed Irigonegaray to release his list of witnesses.

“You cannot cross-examine an expert witness without preparation,” he said. “I’m a little bit perplexed about why these witnesses need to be kept secret, especially in light of the boycott.”

Connie Morris said she and the other state board members needed to know, as well, so they could be “praying over” their upcoming decision.

“Did you say praying over?” Irigonegaray asked.

Board members directed him to provide the witness list by May 2.

“I’m just very disturbed that one of the reasons I have to do this is so the board can pray about it,” he said.

Before the meeting, the president of Kansas Citizens for Science said he and others will conduct daily briefings on issues raised at the hearings.

John Burch, a private investor in Lawrence, said he organized the meeting out of concern that Kansas’ bioscience industry will suffer if the anti-evolution push continues.

Last year, lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a bioscience funding initiative that they hope will generate tens of thousands of new jobs in the future.

“We can’t afford to be nice about this anymore to religious partisans. We’ve really got to get serious,” said Burch.

More from Kansas:

Hearing to offer evolution defender

By DAVID KLEPPER

The Kansas City Star

TOPEKA — Evolution will have its defender after all.

The Kansas Board of Education’s science standards subcommittee met Tuesday to hammer out details of an upcoming six-day, courtroom-style hearing on the teaching of evolution. Despite a call from scientists for a boycott, a Topeka civil rights and defense attorney said he had been asked to defend the way science is now taught in public schools.

Pedro Irigonegaray said the hearings were “simply a political effort to inject a theological argument” into school curriculum.

The daylong hearings are set for May 5-7 and 12-14 in Topeka’s Memorial Hall. Opponents of the way evolution is taught in school have signed up 23 witnesses. Irigonegaray said he would call witnesses too, though he wouldn’t say how many. After giving testimony, the witnesses will be questioned by the opposing side and the subcommittee.

Still, the group Kansas Citizens for Science had declared the hearings a sham and called on scientists to boycott the proceedings.

Subcommittee members say they will use what they learn in the hearing to decide whether to change the way science is taught.

All three members of the subcommittee say they have concerns about evolution. Opponents of evolution say teachers should include criticism of evolution or discuss alternatives, such as intelligent design, which argues that there is evidence of a divine creator.

Board members who support the hearings say they want it to be educational to the whole state. Residents are encouraged to attend the hearings.

“This is not a legal proceeding,” said school board Chairman Steve Abrams, also a member of the subcommittee. “This is an informational proceeding.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, attorney John Calvert, a proponent of intelligent design and the leading advocate for the hearings, defended the school board’s plan to use $5,000 in public money for his witnesses’ travel expenses. He also said it was appropriate for the state to spend $5,000 to keep a written transcript of the hearings.

He called the evolution debate “probably one of the most important issues facing public education in the entire country.”

But Irigonegaray cited the ongoing debate about school funding — which forced lawmakers to cut the state budget and is now pending before the state Supreme Court — and said any money spent on the hearings was a waste.

“We would object to the use of a single penny,” he said. He said that he was not receiving compensation for his legal work and that his side will not pay for witnesses’ travel costs.

Shortly after that, Abrams canceled the subcommittee’s request that lunches be provided during the hearings.

“We can supply our own lunches,” he said.

Over Irigonegaray’s objections, the subcommittee ordered him to provide a list of his witnesses by May 2. Calvert said he wanted the list so he could prepare his cross-examination. Board member Connie Morris said she was planning on “praying over” the list of witnesses.

TOPEKA — Evolution will have its defender after all.

This could be very helpful, *IF* the pro-evolution side dismisses the Board’s attempts to put evolutionary science on trial, and instead concentrate all of their efforts and testimony in putting *ID itself* on trial. If they ignore all the Board’s silly efforts to denigrate science, and instead produce a steady stream of documented evidence concerning the political program of the ID movement, its source of funding, its openly religious aims and goals, its dishonest and evasive tactics, its unbroken string of losses in court, its internal doctrinal schisms and fractures, its utter total lackl of anything resembling scientific research, etc – then this hearing can turn out very very well for us. Make the IDers **defend themselves**. They can’t do it.

If, on the other hand, the pro-evolution side takes the Board’s bait and attempts to use the hearings to “defend evolutionary science”, then they will accomplish nothing useful and are just wasting their time.

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Krebs published on April 15, 2005 6:59 AM.

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