Archive for Sunday, April 17, 2005

Lawrence forum seeks to reshape evolution debate

April 17, 2005


What's at stake in the current battle over whether to teach intelligent design alongside evolution?

A Lawrence man has put together a forum to try to find out.

John Burch said he was disenchanted by the debate going on before the State Board of Education and decided as a concerned citizen to see if he could reframe the issue.

The forum on the current controversy, and its possible effect on Kansas' stake in bioscience research will be from 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Plymouth Congregational Church, 825 Vt.

"It has become a politicized issue," Burch said, but it has real economic and pocketbook ramifications.

Kansas recently has embarked on a plan to use more than $500 million in captured tax revenue and dedicate those funds to bioscience developments.

For today's youth to share in the bioscience boon, Burch said, students need a solid grounding in evolution. "You can't prepare to work in bioscience if you don't learn basic biology, and basic biology has been built around the theories we call Darwinism, evolution."

The meeting features no speakers from the intelligent design side, but rather provides a platform for pro-evolution scientists.

Burch said he was trying to get at what the real needs of Kansas science students were.

He said intelligent design, which professes an intelligent cause behind the origins of life, is an interesting idea, and could be developed as a philosophy taught in philosophy classes. But it is not science, he said.

Here is a schedule of public meetings dealing with the current controversy over science standards in Kansas public schools.¢ 6:15 p.m. Tuesday: State Board of Education science subcommittee in the board room at the State Board of Education, 120 S.E. 10th St., Topeka. Purpose of meeting is to finalize details on upcoming science hearings.¢ 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday: Meeting on evolution and bioscience at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.¢ May 5-7: Science standards hearings in auditorium of Memorial building, 120 S.W. 10th St., Topeka. Time to be determined later.¢ May 12-14: Science standards hearings, time and location to be determined later.

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