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Omenn, Leshner Tell Kansas Voters There’s No Conflict Between Science and Religion
In a commentary in the Wichita Eagle, AAAS Chairman Gilbert S. Omenn and CEO Alan I. Leshner urged Kansas voters to reject the arguments of extremists and to vote for the future prosperity of Kansas and its children.
The op-ed was published Sunday 30 July, just two days before a crucial set of primary elections for the controversial Kansas state Board of Education—elections which have drawn extensive national attention. The current board last year pushed through science education standards that change the definition of science and open the way toward teaching religious doctrine in public school science classes, and several board members who advocated those positions are facing strong challenges from within their own parties.
The AAAS commentary said that the discussion over how to teach evolution has been dominated by extremists in both the science and religion camps. Often, the authors said, the issues “are wrongly cast as a conflict between science and religion, as if they were two rival football teams.”
“If extremists dominate the discussion, misunderstanding thrives, to the detriment of everyone,” they wrote.
“This issue divides us at a time when we need to come together to preserve our nation's status as the world's powerhouse of innovation…America faces unprecedented science-related challenges—to protect our national security, to find new energy sources, and to defend against diseases such as avian flu. If we undermine science education, we put the people of Kansas and the United States at risk.”
Omenn is chairman of the AAAS board and a professor of medicine, genetics and public health at the University of Michigan. Leshner is chief executive of AAAS and executive publisher of the journal Science.
Click here to see a PDF of the full commentary from the Wichita Eagle.
Edward W. Lempinen
31 July 2006