Cultural Revolutions

The Teaching Evolution

The teaching evolution is back in the news, in a case that the media—with their usual sensationalism—are comparing to the Scopes trial of 75 years ago. On August 10, Steven Green, legal director of the Washington-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State, sent a letter to the Kansas State Board of Education, threatening that if the board adopted a "creationist perspective" in the state's science standards, his group would "not hesitate to bring a legal challenge." On August 11, by a six-to-four majority, the statewide-elected board decided to remove any questions on "macroevolution" (the theory that maintains generally that species evolve from one another, and that, in particular, men and apes have a common primate ancestor) from state science exams. The board did not remove questions on "microevolution" (the theory that species themselves evolve as result of environmental factors) or "natural selection" (the theory that some species or some variations within species die while others survive as a result of better adaptation to the natural environment). The board left the 304 local school districts in Kansas free to decide for themselves whether they would continue to teach macroevolution, microevolution, and/or natural selection.

On August 13, the American Civil Liberties Union wrote to Kansas local school superintendents warning them that they would...

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