Kansas Evolution Hearings

After several failed attempts to get “intelligent design” into the Kansas Science Standards via regular channels, it appears that the Kansas Board of Education (which gained a 6-4 conservative majority last November) has settled on a plan to have six days of hearings, with equal time given to evolution and intelligent design. On the table are 20+ pages of revisions to the high school science standards, proposed by the Kansas Intelligent Design Network. These revisions systematically redefine science to include the supernatural (see the proposed revisions). The IDNet proposals were rejected by the Board of Education’s own appointed science standards committee (made up of Kansas scientists and educators), and were also rejected by 12 independent scientists who reviewed the proposed revisions the reviews are up on the Kansas Department of Education website).

According to one scientist who contacted NCSE, the Kansas Department of Education is beginning to contact scientists around the country and invite them to participate in the hearings, all expenses paid. The suspicion is that an equal number of “intelligent design” proponents from the Discovery Institute are going to be invited to testify as if they were equally credible experts.

The veteran pro-science group in Kansas, Kansas Citizens for Science, is recommending that scientists and educators boycott these hearings. They are calling the hearings a “Kangaroo Court”, with a predetermined conclusion, and they argue that the Board of Education is attempting to devise an ad hoc justification to override the conclusions of their own science standards committee and of the independent reviewers.

For a summary of recent events in Kansas, see NCSE.

Updates and position statements on the KCFS website.

KCFS Position Press Release 3-3-05.

KCFS Resolution concerning the “Science Hearings”