The good people of South Africa have been grossly misinformed about Kansas. Below is a slightly edited (for grammatical purposes) version of a letter I submitted to Independent Online:
Maxim Kniazkov’s article, “Conservative US state pushes Darwinism aside” contains numerous factual errors.
Firstly, the article implies that evolution will not be taught in Kansas under the new science standards. This is not true, as the standards themselves contain over 30 references to teaching evolution. The change is that evolution will not be taught DOGMATICALLY. Evolution is still taught in great detail, but now students can learn about the evidence which supports evolution, but also now they will learn about the scientific evidence which challenges evolution. (see https://www.evolutionnews.org/2005/11/oops_head_of_national_associat.html for a discussion)
Secondly, the article claims that creationist theories will be taught. This is also an incorrect claim. There is absolutely nothing in the standards about creationism, and there is absolutely nothing which requires the teaching of intelligent design. In fact, the standards contain a disclaimer specifically stating that the standards do not require the teaching of intelligent design. (see http://www.evolutionnews.org/2005/11/chicken_little_why_the_sky_is.html for further analysis)
The final major error is that the article claims that “‘intelligent design’ that is largely based on the Bible’s book of Genesis.” This is also a fallaciously wrong claim. Intelligent design begins with empirical data which indicates that the complexity of life has many of the same informational properties we find in objects we observe being designed by humans. Intelligent design is not a creationist theory because it derives its support from the empirical data, not from Genesis. This is simply not a debatable point: even our critics acknowledge that intelligent design is something distinct from Genesis literalism.
All of this is easily verifiable if one simply reads the standards adopted by the Kansas State Board of Education, which are available freely online at “http://www.ksde.org/outcomes/sciencestd.pdf“.
I hope you will correct these factual errors in your article. Thank you.