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Kansas and regional news

Kansas and regional news

Intelligent Design decision boon to other states

August 23, 2005

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Dear Members of the Kansas State School Board,

I am the Welsh Distinguished Professor of Biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I have a number of colleagues at Kansas State and the University of Kansas and had the chance to present a seminar there a few years ago and see the vibrant scientific community that had grown up there.

Your current discussion of what to include in your curriculum is an interesting one to all who teach at State Universities. One of the great things about my home state of North Carolina is the investment the state has made in science, beginning with the founding of the Research Triangle Park more than 50 years ago. This has provided a tremendous boost to the state's economy, particularly as agriculture and traditional manufacturing decline.

In many ways your decision to consider adding "alternative theories" to your Biology curriculum will be a boon to states like mine, as it will ensure that we continue to be favored by the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries looking for states with a well-educated work-force. It also means our children will be at an advantage as they go to look for technology related jobs, here and elsewhere, since they will have a sound scientific education. Finally, it will help Department's like mine when we compete with you for the best young faculty candidates, and as we try and woo some of your more senior scientists to join us here.

I am a Presbyterian and see no conflict between my religious beliefs and my science, but also no reason my own beliefs should somehow be promoted over those of others under the cloak of "science". In particular, I have been very impressed with the interesting theories developed by Bobby Henderson and other proponents of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Theory, which seems to me to be equally well-founded as is Intelligent Design Theory. While I would prefer to see Kansas students learn science in their science classes, if you choose to open the field more broadly, I would encourage you to give equal time to the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Sincerely yours,

Mark Peifer

Professor of Biology

peifer@unc.edu

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