Dover school board booted out in elections

But Kansas mandates teaching of intelligent design

All eight Dover, Pennsylvania school board members up for re-election have been booted out after introducing intelligent design to the science classroom. In their place are a number of those who campaigned against the policy.

The original school board ruled that intelligent design could be taught alongside Darwinian evolution, in science classes. A group of 11 parents decided to challenge the decision in court, on the grounds that intelligent design is merely creationism in disguise, and is therefore unconstitutional.

The trial wrapped last week, and the judge is expected to rule by January 2006 at the latest. Both sides had been expected to appeal a loss, but now the school board maybe less likely to do so.

One of the winners, Bernadette Reinking, told the New York Times: "I think voters were tired of the trial, they were tired of intelligent design, they were tired of everything that this school board brought about."

During the trial it emerged that one of the main proponents of the intelligent design policy, Mr. Bonsell, has previously tried to get creationism on to the local curriculum. Of all the candidates up for re-election, Mr. Bonsell recorded the fewest votes, the NYT reports.

One of the old school board members who lost his seat in the election has said he will challenge the result. Voting machines recorded no votes for James Cashman at all in one precinct, but in others he says he polled plenty of votes.

Meanwhile in Kansas, the Board of Education has voted to make the teaching of the principles of intelligent design mandatory.

Science teachers will now be required to instruct their students that evolutionary theory is not proven, and will have to add that life is in fact so complex, it could not have arisen without the involvement of some external agent, or higher power.

Board chairman Steve Abrams told Reuters: "This is a great day for education."

The new standards approved by the Board of Education mean several specific challenges must be leveled at Darwinian theory.

These include statements to the effect that the fossil record is inconsistent with evolutionary theory; that there is a lack of physical evidence to explain our genetic code, and that evolutionary explanations are "not based on direct observations...and often reflect inferences from circumstantial evidence", the BBC reports. ®

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