Evolution "must be taught" in high schools and universities across Kansas, KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said Monday in a message to faculty and staff.
"The attack on evolution continues across America and compels me to again state the obvious: The University of Kansas is a major public research university, a scientific community," Hemenway said in an e-mail. "We are committed to fact-based research and teaching. As an academic, scientific community, we must affirm scientific principles."
Hemenway's message comes as the Kansas State Board of Education prepares this fall to approve new science standards that would cast doubt on the theory of evolution. And it comes after KU officials blamed the university's slide in U.S. News and World Report rankings on the ongoing controversy.
Hemenway's message was quickly distributed to journalists and scientists by Kansas Citizens for Science, a pro-evolution group.
Steve Abrams, chairman of the state board, last week told an audience of social conservatives that evolution was incompatible with Christian beliefs.
"At some point in time, if you compare evolution and the Bible, you have to decide which one you believe," Abrams said during the gathering in Independence, Kan. "That's the bottom line."
Hemenway, in his Monday e-mail, disagreed.
"On a personal level, I see no contradiction in being a person of faith who believes in God and evolution, and I'm sure many others at this university agree," the chancellor wrote.
He added: "The university's position is not an attack on anyone. We respect the right of the individual to his or her beliefs, including faith-based beliefs about creation. However, creationism and intelligent design are most appropriately taught in a religion, philosophy, or sociology class, rather than a science class."
Hemenway encouraged students, faculty and staff to attend "Explore Evolution," a traveling exhibit on the importance of evolutionary theory in science, at the Kansas Natural History Museum on campus. That exhibit opens Nov. 1.
Evolution in Kansas
- 6News video: Some question group's move with elections nearing (07-08-06)
- 49abcnews.com video: Discovery Institute starts ad campaign weeks before elections (07-07-06)
- 6News video: Film explores evolution circus (01-03-06)
- 6News video: Group takes shot at Mirecki through postcards (12-15-05)
- 6News video: Mirecki resigns from KU department post (12-07-05)
- Education board to revisit debate over evolution (02-11-07)
- As old board departs, new evolution stance takes shape (12-14-06)
- Biologist speaks for intelligent design (12-08-06)
- Cultures clash in Democratic primary (07-06-06)
- Education department spokesman leaves job (06-15-06)
- Evolution, religion comments put heat on department spokesman (05-26-06)
- KU profs support evolution skepticism (02-21-06)
- Science teachers pan new standards (02-14-06)
- 'Dodos' circling around I.D. (01-04-06)
- Attorneys in I.D. case spread message (01-04-06)
- Professor blasts KU, sheriff's investigation (12-10-05)
- Kansas ranks last in science (12-08-05)
- Discovery Institute
- Evolution timeline: Events related to the Kansas controversy
- U.S. District Court Ruling in Kitzmiller et al v. Dover Area School District (PDF)
- Center for Science and Culture: A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism
- Parody: Intelligent Design Society of Kansas
- Mirecki press release (.pdf)
- More evolution coverage
- LJWorld.com's Evolution in Kansas coverage