I sent this message to another mailing list I read and I think all of you
may be interested.
This amendment is currently one of the discussion topics at a message board
I read, and one of the posters provided some interesting comments by
senators who spoke in favor of it, which I've posted at the end of this
message. I think the comments by Senator Brownback of Kansas are
The text of the discussion is in the Congressional Record Vol. 147 No. 82,
pp. S6147-S6153. You can download this from the Government Printing Office
at this URL:
Mr. BYRD. Mr. President, I have been interested in the debate surrounding
the teaching of
evolution in our schools. I think that Senator SANTORUM's amendment will
lead to a more
thoughtful treatment of this topic in the classroom. It is important that
students be exposed
not only to the theory of evolution , but also to the context in which it
is viewed by many in
I think, too often, we limit the best of our educators by directing them to
and to try to remain politically correct. If students cannot learn to
debate different viewpoints
and to explore a range of theories in the classroom, what hope have we for
beyond the schoolhouse doors?
Scientists today have numerous theories about our world and its beginnings.
have been greatly impressed by the many scientists who have probed and
theory and concluded that some Divine force had to have played a role in
the birth of our
magnificent universe. These ideas align with my way of thinking. But I
understand that they
might not align with someone else's. That is the very point of this
an airing of varying opinions, ideas, concepts, and theories. if education
is truly a vehicle to
broaden horizons and enhance thinking, varying viewpoints should be welcome
as part of the
Mr. BROWNBACK. Mr. President, as my friend from Pennsylvania, and perhaps
in the free world, knows the issue he brings up with regard to how to teach
and philosophy was recently an issue in my home State of Kansas. For this
reason, many of
my constituents are particularly sensitive to this issue.
I would like to take the opportunity of this amendment to clear the record
controversy in Kansas.
In August of 1999 the Kansas State School Board fired a shot heard 'round
the world. Press
reports began to surface that evolution would not longer be taught. The
specter of a
theocratic school board entering the class to ensure that no student would
be taught the
prevailing wisdom of biology was envisioned. Political cartoons and
editorials were drafted by
the hundreds. To hear the furor, one might think that the teachers would be
sorting through their student's texts with an Exacto knife carving out
pictures of Darwin.
However, the prevailing impression, as is often the case was not quite
accurate. Here are the
facts about what happened in Kansas. The school board did not ban the
teaching of evolution
. They did not forbid the mention of Darwin in the classroom. They didn't
even remove all
mention of evolution from the State assessment test. Rather, the school
board voted against
including questions on macro-evolution --the theory that new species can
existing species over time--from the State assessment. The assessment did
on micro-evolution --the observed change over time within an existing species.
Why did they do this? Why go so far as to decipher between micro and
the State exam? How would that serve the theocratic school board's purpose
that we read so
much about? Well, the truth is . . . their was no theocratic end to the
actions of the school
board. In fact, their vote was cast based on the most basic scientific
principal that science is
about what we observe, not what we assume. The great and bold statement
that the Kansas
School Board made was that simply that we observe micro-evolution and
therefore it is
scientific fact; and that it is impossible to observe macro-evolution , it
The response to this relatively minor and eminently scientific move by the
board was shocking. The actions and intentions of the school board were
misrepresented in the global press. Many in the global scientific
community, who presumably
knew the facts, spread misinformation as to what happened in Kansas.
boards, who most certainly knew the facts, threatened Kansas students. The
of Commerce and Industry, and the State universities were threatened based
on the actions of
school board. All of these effects caused by a school board trying to
scientific fact and scientific assumption. The response to the actions of
the board, appeared
to many as a response to the commission of heresy.
For this reason, I am very pleased that my friend from Pennsylvania offered
amendment. He clarifies the opinion of the Senate that the debate of
scientific fact versus
scientific assumption is an important debate to embrace. I plan to support
and urge my colleagues to join me.
Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that between the two
votes, prior to the
second vote in order, there be 2 minutes on each side for debate.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Does the Senator from Pennsylvania yield back the remainder of his time?
Mr. SANTORUM. I do.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to amendment No. 799.
and nays have been ordered. The clerk will call the roll.
The senior assistant bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. REID. I announce that the Senator from Connecticut (Mr. DODD) is
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. CANTWELL). Are there any other Senators in the
Chamber desiring to vote?
The result was announced--yeas 91, nays 8, as follows:
[Rollcall Vote No. 182 Leg.]
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