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Public wants evolution in science class

Nearly 75 years after science teacher John Scopes was convicted of teaching evolution, a new study shows that most Americans think evolution should be taught in science classes. People For the American Way Foundation (PFAWF), a nonprofit organization in Washington, released the first nationwide poll on the subject last Friday. Some 83 percent of Americans polled say Darwin's theory of evolution, not creationism, belongs in science class. Meanwhile, about 70 percent of those polled don't see any conflict at all between the two explanations of how life came to be.

PFAWF commissioned the poll in the wake of public outcry over last year's decision by the Kansas Board of Education to drop evolution from its statewide science standards. A majority rejected stripping the teaching of evolution from the curriculum: Sixty percent disagreed with the Kansas decision. Almost half of the individuals polled had never heard of "creation science." Nevertheless, many said that schools should acknowledge creationist beliefs and even teach about them - but not as scientific theory.

"One of the most remarkable things this poll shows us is that, with this kind of broad public support, there shouldn't be any controversy at all about teaching evolution," said Ralph Neas, PFAWF president. However, the poll also suggests that while the public is overwhelmingly supportive of teaching evolution, knowledge of the details of evolutionary theory is quite limited, pointing to a need for greater efforts to inform and educate the public about evolution.

Clinton to present science awards

Washington - President Clinton will present the 1999 National Medals of Science and National Medals of Technology today at the White House. Among the achievements being honored by the 17 awards: key insights into explaining the cause of the Antarctic ozone "hole"; voice recognition in computers that helps disabled persons to overcome certain barriers; and a modern framework for analyzing the effects of investment and technological progress on economic growth.

-Compiled from news wires by Sara Steindorf

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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