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Kansas school board approves intelligent design approach to evolution

[JURIST] In a victory for intelligent design advocates, the Kansas Board of Education on Tuesday approved by a vote of 6-4 revised science standards [BoE materials] that require students to understand not only evolution [BBC backgrounder], but also recent challenges to the theory, such as that suggesting that life is too complex to have evolved without help from a higher power. The board, currently dominated by religious conservatives, also rewrote the definition of science, to no longer limit it to natural explanations of phenomena. Kansas Citizens for Science [advocacy website] opposes the changes, arguing that they are a vehicle for teachers to bring creationist arguments into the classroom. John Calvert, a retired attorney and co-founder of the Intelligent Design Network [advocacy website], has countered that the alterations "are not targeted at changing the hearts and minds of the Darwin fundamentalists." This is the third time in six years that the Kansas board has rewritten standards concerned with evolution. In 1987, the US Supreme Court ruled in Edwards v. Aguillard [opinion text] that states may not mandate public schools to teach creationism in order to balance evolution lessons. In an August interview, however, President Bush endorsed [Knight Ridder report] teaching intelligent design [Wikipedia backgrounder] alongside evolution.

Pennsylvanians meanwhile await the result of the recently-ended trial [JURIST report] of a lawsuit [JURIST report; PDF complaint; ACLU case materials] over a local school board policy similar to that implemented by Kansas which requires high school students to learn about intelligent design in biology class. In elections Tuesday, voters in the Dover Area School District [official website] nonetheless expressed their disagreement with the school board [USA Today report] and ousted eight Republicans from the nine-member board and replaced them with Democrats who want intelligent design removed from the local science curriculum. AP has more.

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