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Kansas votes to restore evolution in school standards

The Kansas Board of Education discusses evolution in the public schools Wednesday  

TOPEKA, Kansas (CNN) -- The Kansas Board of Education voted to restore the theory of evolution to state school standards Wednesday, reversing a controversial 1999 vote.

Wednesday's 7-3 decision came after November elections that saw three board members ousted after they voted to remove Charles Darwin's theory of mankind's origin from public school science standards.

"There is no doubt that we are strengthening science by our action," said board member Sue Gamble, one of those elected last year.


Steve Abrams, one of the members who voted in favor of removing evolution from the curriculum in 1999, argued that the board's vote Wednesday discounted valid, scientific doubts about evolution.

Abrams, the only anti-evolution board member to be re-elected last fall, wanted both evolution and what he calls "creation science" presented.

"I'm saying there is significant scientific evidence that does not support the current theory of evolution," Abrams said.

But board member Val DeFever said most school districts ignored the 1999 vote, which she said has allowed "pseudo-science" to enter Kansas classrooms.

"It wasn't specifically stating that creationism can be taught. It was saying that any child could present any current theory and the teacher was not to dispute it in any way," she said. "That opens the door to so many other pseudo- sciences that it isn't even funny."

But school board member John Bacon told CNN that if science can't prove "that nature did its own creating through a series of natural selection or mutation, then I think we should allow other theories to be discussed.

"What we did two years ago was to allow local school boards, and also communities and parents, to have the opportunity to have some input in how evolution would presented to the kids or theories of origin," he said.

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