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Saturday, 5 August, 2000, 23:16 GMT 00:16 UK
Evolution struggles back into US schools
Fossil
Creationists want to limit the teaching of evolution
A debate in the United States over whether the theory of evolution should be taught in Kansas schools has swung in favour of the pro-evolutionists.

Candidates selected for the state's board of education election in November make it more likely that science lessons will include a clearer acceptance of the principle of the evolution of species.

The state adopted guidelines last year for science lessons which downplayed the importance of evolution.

This was seen as a victory for "creationists", who favour teaching the Biblical creation story rather than the Darwinian theory of evolution.

But the "moderate" Republican candidates selected to contest the November election raise the prospect of an education board which will reject the anti-evolutionist stance in science lessons.

Religion in schools

Some critics have argued that opposition to teaching evolution makes Kansas look backward and that students have been denied an understanding of modern science.

The evolution issue has made the usually uncontentious education board elections a subject of national and international attention, with advertising campaigns and a high public profile for candidates.

The anti-evolution guidelines had been hailed as an indication of the growing influence of religious conservatives.

They marked another stage in a battle over the place of religion in schools, which has seen legal action over whether the Ten Commandments can be displayed in classrooms and whether high school football games can be preceded by public prayer.

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See also:

07 Oct 99 | Education
Evolution removed from school tests
17 Dec 99 | Education
Creation story still banned in class
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