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December 16, 2005

Evolution on trial

From the Associated Press...

A federal appeals panel Thursday questioned the accuracy of a judge's ruling that a disclaimer in school textbooks describing evolution as "a theory, not a fact" represents an endorsement of religion.

"I don't think you all can contest any of the sentences" on the disclaimer sticker, Judge Ed Carnes of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals told an attorney arguing for parents who sued.

"It is a theory, not a fact; the book supports that," Carnes said....

Carnes, considered one of the court's most conservative members, was joined on the panel by Judge Frank Hull, a Clinton appointee, and Judge William Pryor, a controversial appointment last year by President Bush.

In another story from the same source...

Kathy Martin, a Clay Center Republican and among six of the 10 board members who voted for the new science standards last month, said Wednesday she wants more information about materials that deal with critical analysis of evolution.

The new science standards challenge some evolutionary theory, treating it as the subject of scientific controversies, prompting criticism from national science groups. Critics have accused board members of promoting creationism or intelligent design, which says an intelligent cause is the best way to explain some complex, orderly features of the natural world.

Martin, a former elementary science teacher, said she isn't interested in approving textbooks for the state's 300 school districts. But she added that the state should "provide leadership for teachers looking to teach the controversial issue objectively."

The state board's policy has been to set curriculum standards for each subject but allow individual districts to decide how the material is presented and what textbooks or other resources are used to teach students. There is no common textbook all districts are expected to use for any school subject.

Posted by Danny Carlton at December 16, 2005 09:10 AM

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