Kansas USD 383: 38 Nobel laureates


USD 383 Board of Education Manhattan-Ogden Public School District Robinson Education Center 203 1 Poyntz Avenue Manhattan, KS 66502

Dear Board Members:

In September 2005 I and 38 other Nobel Laureates wrote the Kansas State Board of Education in defense of science and education. We urged the Board to reject proposed science standards that were to include alternatives to evolution as explanations for the origin of species. I was disappointed that the Board voted to adopt the proposed standards on November 8,2005. As we stated then, evolution is not a theory, as the term “theory of evolution” seems to indicate, but rather is based upon compelling scientific evidence and is the foundation of much of modern biology. The standards adopted by the Board redefined science in a way that I believe will harm the education of students in Kansas as they try to understand the world in which they live and compete with the world’s workforce.

I applaud the current effort by the science faculty of the Kansas State University not to allow science to be redefined, at least in Manhattan. I urge you to support their resolution not to support the new Kansas Science Standards. In supporting the KSU faculty you would show great leadership and ensure that the students in your district will continue to have a strong science education. You also would be joining the large number of scientific and educational organizations that support rigorous science education.

H. Robert Horvitz Ph.D. Professor of Biology, MIT 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine


TO: Kansas State Board of Education

We, Nobel Laureates, are writing in defense of science. We reject efforts by the proponents of so-called “intelligent design” to politicize scientific inquiry and urge the Kansas State Board of Education to maintain Darwinian evolution as the sole curriculum and science standard in the State of Kansas.

The United States has come a long way since John T. Scopes was convicted for teaching the theory of evolution 80 years ago. We are, therefore, troubled that Darwinism was described as “dangerous dogma” at one of your hearings. We are also concerned by the Board’s recommendation of August 8, 2005 to allow standards that include greater criticism of evolution.

Logically derived from confirmable evidence, evolution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection. As the foundation of modem biology, its indispensable role has been further strengthened by the capacity to study DNA. In contrast, intelligent design is fundamentally unscientific; it cannot be tested as scientific theory because its central conclusion is based on belief in the intervention of a supernatural agent.

Differences exist between scientific and spiritual world views, but there is no need to blur the distinction between the two. Nor is there need for conflict between the theory of evolution and religious faith. Science and faith are not mutually exclusive. Neither should feel threatened by the other.

When it meets in October, 2005, we urge the Kansas State Board of Education to vote against the latest draft of standards, which propose including intelligent design in academic curriculum.


Alexei A. Abrikosov Nobel Prize, Physics (2003)

Richard Axel Nobel Prize, Medicine (2004)

Gunter Blobel Nobel Prize, Medicine (1999)

Linda B. Buck Nobel Prize, Medicine (2004)

Aaron Ciechanover Nobel Prize, Chemistry (2004)

Mairead Conigan Maguire Nobel Prize, Peace (1976)

Robert F. Curl, Jr. Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1996)

John B. Fenn Nobel Prize, Chemistry (2002)

Clive W.J. Granger Nobel Prize, Economics (2003)

David J. Gross Nobel Prize, Physics (2004)

Leland H. Hartwell Nobel Prize, Medicine (2001)

Herbert A. Hauptman Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1985)

Dudley R. Herschbach Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1986)

Avram Hershko Nobel Prize, Chemistry (2004)

Roald Hoffmann Nobel Prize, Chemistry (198 1)

H. Robert Horvitz Nobel Prize, Medicine (2002)

Eric R. Kandel Nobel Prize, Medicine (2000)

Wolfgang Ketterle Nobel Prize, Physics (2001)

Aaron Klug Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1982)

Sir Harold Kroto Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1996)

Anthony J. Leggett Nobel Prize, Physics (2003)

Jean-Marie Lehn Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1987)

Ferid Murad Nobel Prize, Medicine (1998)

Erwin Neher Nobel Prize, Medicine (1991)

Sir Paul Nurse Nobel Prize, Medicine (2001)

Stanley B. Prusiner Nobel Prize, Medicine (1997)

Irwin Rose Nobel Prize, Chemistry (2004)

K. Barry Sharpless Nobel Prize, Chemistry (2001)

Horst L. St6rmer Nobel Prize, Physics (1998)

Gerardus ‘t Hooft Nobel Prize, Physics (1999)

Daniel C. Tsui Nobel Prize, Physics (1998)

Harold E. Varmus Nobel Prize, Medicine (1989)

John E. Walker Nobel Prize, Chemistry (1997)

Carl E. Wieman Nobel Prize, Physics (2001)

Elie Wiesel Nobel Prize, Peace (1986)

Frank Wilczek Nobel Prize, Physics (2004)

Jody Williams Nobel Prize, Peace (1997)

Betty Williams Nobel Prize, Peace (1976)