Feeds

Darwin Mr Popular again in Kansas

Intelligent Design voted off school curriculum

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The battle for the hearts and minds of American school children took another turn this week. The infamous Kansas school board that voted to banish Darwin from the science curriculum has welcomed him back with open arms, spurning instead the language of intelligent design.

The school board has voted, 6-4, to remove the language of intelligent design from the curriculum: science teachers will no longer have to say that the central ideas of evolution are controversial in scientific circles.

The explanation of the "nature of science" has also been reworded. It is now described as the pursuit of rational explanations for things that happen in the Universe.

"Today the Kansas Board of Education returned its curriculum standards to mainstream science," said board chairman, Dr Bill Wagnon. "This assures that Kansas children are appropriately educated for the 21st century."

But while the change should be seen as significant, it is the fourth shift in policy in Kansas in the last eight years, and is unlikely to be the last. The ID camp is very well organised: a day after the new standards were announced, the Intelligent Design Network presented the school board with a petition protesting the changes. It contained the signatures of almost 4,000 parents.

For anyone new to this long-running debate, here's a re-cap.

In 1987 the supreme court in the US ruled that teaching creationism in science classes was unconstitutional. Since then, creationists have given their backing to an idea called intelligent design (ID). This takes God out of the equation, at least explicitly. Instead of insisting on a six-days-to-make-the-world story, it argues that life is too complex to have evolved without the input of some intelligent designer.

The implication is that this designer is God, although there are those who would argue that it could be very clever aliens, too. We'll not dwell on that, except to direct your attention to the web page of a man called Rael, and his "Raelien" followers. Drawing conclusions is left as an exercise for the reader.

The proponents of the ID "theory" have argued very strongly, and with some successes, that ID should be taught as a counter to the theory of evolution in science classes. The most notable win for the ID camp was in Kansas, while Pennsylvania has been the scene of a hard won victory for the scientists.

California, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Nevada, and South Carolina have all also seen either high profile debates or legal wrangling over evolution's place in schools.

School board member Sue Gamble said the changes were important for Kansas if it was "to have an educated populace". But ID supporters say the changes undermine families who reject the morality of materialism.

The new guidelines in Kansas supersede the old ones with immediate effect, and the poor school kids of Kansas will have to adjust to a new set of rules ahead of tests in the next school year. You can read the old and new science standards here. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.