Their View: Religious beliefs need not be abandoned
Charles Darwin has won a round. In primary voting early this month, Kansans booted foes of evolution from the state's Board of Education, virtually ensuring that a moderate 6-to-4 majority would dominate after the November elections. The new board will be positioned to revise curriculum standards, due to take effect next year, that find fault with Darwin's theory.
By now, disputes over the teaching of evolution have surfaced in several states. Critics generally push a form of creationism known as intelligent design and insist that it be taught alongside evolution in public-school science classes.
In a rebuke last year, a federal judge held that intelligent design amounted to religion, and that forcing its teaching was unconstitutional. However, even before he could rule, citizens in Dover, Pa., ousted the eight school-board members who had forced intelligent design into local classrooms.
Yet though the tide may seem to be turning in evolution's favor, declaring victory would be premature. Kansas has been seesawing over the issue since 1999. Foes and friends of evolution have regularly traded control of the state's Board of Education, and this may not be over.
Thomas Frank, author of the book “What's the Matter with Kansas?,” has observed that a resentment of elites animates many of the nation's culture wars, including the Kansan fight over evolution. If so, defenders of intelligent design will not easily quit their cause. Yet what is at stake for Kansas is the integrity of its educational system, and the future of its children. Kansans need not abandon deeply held religious beliefs to endorse an appropriate science curriculum. They will, however, have to think about what is best for their young.
-The Providence Journal