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A little fire for school board's feet

The head of Kennesaw State University's biology department has an ingenious idea.

To put more pressure on the Cobb County Board of Education, which has voted to put anti-evolution disclaimers on its biology textbooks and OK'd the teaching of alternatives to evolution during the last year, professor Ronald Matson and colleagues have devised a statement that has been submitted to a biology representative of the University System of Georgia.

The statement, if approved by the biology representatives, would inform applicants to Georgia colleges and universities that they are expected to have been taught evolution in their biology classes.

The idea is simple. It would place the educational onus on the Cobb school board. If alternatives to evolution are taught in the classroom, the board will be putting the academic success of their children at risk.

"They might say, 'Well, we'll teach evolution ... but we will also teach creationism or intelligent design [theory]," Matson says. "My point, and I hope the point of this group, if it gets done, is that that is not acceptable, simply because creationism, intelligent design, scientific creationism, whatever they want to call it, is not science. Period. Amen. Those things do not belong in any science classroom at all."

Matson also hopes such a statement would discourage other school boards or the state from following Cobb's lead. "If all the biologists, instead of just those of us in Cobb County, get together and say, 'Look this is not acceptable,' then maybe it will pre-empt some potential problems."

Matson clearly has reason to worry. Just two weeks ago, for example, a state education board in Louisiana rejected a proposal similar to the one that put disclaimers on Cobb's biology textbooks.

Matson is not yet sure of a timeline on approval by the biology representatives of the university system.