The dog ate my homework

Pat Hayes of Red State Rabble sends us this report from Kansas:

As the Kansas science hearings got underway in Topeka this morning, there was a feeling about the room that these hearings would produce little real drama. By the end of the first day, the testimony of the intelligent design witnesses seemed to have fallen into an all too predictable pattern. Ennui began to envelop attorneys, witnesses, the media, and spectators alike. The process would go on, but rather like a tree falling in the forest that goes unnoticed.

The crowds were smaller, lines shorter despite increased security procedures that forced participants to pass through a metal detector, and many of the big media figures who attended the first day decamped for greener pastures.

Then, out of the blue, under a withering cross-examination by Science Coalition attorney Pedro Irigonegaray the hearing room was electrified by Edward Peltzer’s admission that he had not read the science standards draft written by the pro-evolution majority of curriculum committee. Peltzer, a Scripps Institution oceanographer and intelligent design witness was flown in from California to share his expert evaluation of the competing science standards drafts, and is currently enjoying the hospitality of Kansas taxpayers.

As the day wore on, each witness in turn was forced to fess up – to an increasingly scornful Irigonegaray – that they too hadn’t bothered to read the majority draft before giving their testimony. This despite the fact that each had earlier testified – in response to questions from intelligent design attorney John Calvert – that the minority draft was superior to the pro-science majority draft.

“I’ve not read it word for word myself,” confessed board member Kathy Martin in an ill-fated attempt to salvage the credibility of the witnesses.

As groans erupted through the hearing room in response to Martin’s admission – and AP reporter Josh Funk ran for the exit to phone the story in – a new feeling that the intelligent design showcase was turning into a failure began to seep into the room.