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Kansas yanks guidelines questioning evolution

'Intelligent design' is dealt setback

TOPEKA, Kan. -- The Kansas state Board of Education yesterday repealed science guidelines questioning evolution.

The new guidelines reflect mainstream scientific views of evolution and represent a political defeat for advocates of "intelligent design," who had helped write the standards that are being jettisoned.

The intelligent design concept holds that life is so complex that it must have been created by a higher authority.

The state has had five sets of standards in eight years, each doomed by the seesawing fortunes of socially conservative Republicans and a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans.

The board yesterday removed language suggesting that key evolutionary concepts -- such as a common origin for all life on earth and change in species creating new ones -- were controversial and being challenged by new research.

Also approved was a new definition of science, specifically limiting it to the search for natural explanations of what is observed in the universe.

"Those standards represent mainstream scientific consensus about both what science is and what evolution is," said Jack Krebs, a math and technology teacher who helped write the new guidelines. He is also president of Kansas Citizens for Science.