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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Creationism Edges Toward the Classroom
27 September 2002 (All day)
The forces of creationism scored a victory in Georgia last night. The school board of Cobb County, the state's second-largest, voted 7-0 to adopt a policy that, critics believe, opens the door to introducing creationist critiques of evolution into biology class.
Creationism ranges from biblical literalism to "intelligent design," which disputes natural selection theory. In 1987, the Supreme Court banned its teachings from science classes; since then, evolution foes have been trying to couch their arguments in scientific terms. Cobb County's latest policy replaces one from 1995 that asked elementary and high school curricula to show "respect" for the "family teachings" of Cobb County citizens. In March, the county decided to insert disclaimers into new elementary and high school biology textbooks warning that evolution is just a "theory."
The new policy, adopted at a packed meeting, asserts that "discussion of disputed views of academic subjects is a necessary element of providing a balanced education, including the study of the origin of the species." Responding to the uproar among scientists, educators, and some concerned parents that the proposal has created, the board added a paragraph saying that its purpose is to "foster critical thinking" and not to "promote ... creationism." Just how the new policy will affect classroom teaching is unclear.
Those who oppose the policy say that the school board's action signifies its eagerness to accommodate those parents sympathetic to creationism or intelligent design. High school science teacher Wes McCoy of North Cobb High School in Kennesau, Georgia, sees it as a "nod" to creationists that says, "even though we cannot teach [creationism], we kind of wish we could." Meanwhile, attention may shift to a lawsuit filed against Cobb County on 21 August in U.S. District Court by the American Civil Liberties Union, calling the March agreement on textbook inserts unconstitutional, says biologist Sarah Pallas of Georgia State University in Atlanta. The suit was filed by a Cobb County parent, Jeffrey Selman, who plans to add an additional challenge to the new policy.