Greetings from Lawrence, Kansas

Hi, folks, the last few days I’ve been in Lawrence, Kansas visiting Jack Krebs, the vice president of Kansas Citizens for Science and member of the crew here at the Panda’s Thumb. Of course, there is a big event coming up in a few weeks (starting May 5), affectionately known around here as the kangaroo court hearings. At this event three anti-evolutionary members of the Kansas State Board of Education are going to supposedly judge whether Intelligent Design stuff should be included in the Kansas science standards.

But as a warm-up, I attended an afternoon conference Thursday entitled “A Public Meeting on Evolution and Kansas Bioscience,” at the Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence. See this news story from Friday’s news paper.

Jack gave a speech on the theological nature of ID and more generally on why people in Kansas should be concerned about the current situation. (I’m sure he’ll report on this when he has time.) Of course I volunteered to help in any way I could. Here’s a picture of me offering some suggestions for one of Jack’s slides.

After packing up, we headed over to the church. Plymouth Congregational Church is the oldest church in Kansas. I made Jack take my picture outside the church.

They held the conference in the sanctuary. It was a beautiful room but unfortunately my pictures of the room didn’t come out too well. However, I did help Jack check out the sound system, and you can see some of the beautiful woodwork in the background in these pictures.

I met one of Jack’s friends, another KCFS Board member named Rachel Robson. Rachel is a doctoral candidate in microbiology at the University of Kansas Med Center. She bills herself as “a bacterial girl living in a bacterial world.” She’s quite articulate and a Christian interested in the relationship between science and religion. Here’s a shot of Rachel and me engaged in a very interesting theological discussion, an appropriate topic for this church setting.

Before the conference the organizers served lunch to the speakers. After hearing that such a prestigious person was in town, they made Jack invite me to lunch. It looked like the people enjoyed their food, but I didn’t have such luck. I checked out the salad, alas no bamboo shoots. Fortunately I always bring my own; all was well at the end.

So all in all it was an enjoyable and ambitious day. Educators, scientists, bioscience representatives, politicians, clergy and other interested parties mingled and spoke, giving the audience a good feel for how complex and how important it is to keep good science standards in Kansas.

So long, ‘til next time. –Prof. Steve Steve