What's the matter with Kansas? Arizona doesn't seem to have the problem...

by John Adams

Related link: http://www.kansas.com/mld/eagle/living/education/13337930.htm

First, here's some good news:

Two Valley students were the first ever from Arizona to win a national Siemens Westinghouse Competition. They shared the mathematics and science team research award in New York and will split the $100,000 scholarship prize.

Anne Lee, 17, a senior at Phoenix Country Day School, and Albert Shieh, 16, a junior at Scottsdale's Chaparral High School, are interns at TGen, formally known as Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix.

Isn't that great? High school kids advancing the state of human knowledge. Cheers me up, warms my heart, makes my day.

Which is useful right now, because this doesn't:

A professor whose planned course on creationism and intelligent design was canceled after he sent e-mails deriding Christian conservatives was hospitalized Monday after what appeared to be a roadside beating.

University of Kansas religious studies professor Paul Mirecki said that the two men who beat him made references to the class that was to be offered for the first time this spring.

That's not my idea of how to settle a scientific question. What is? Well, how about this:

Blacklisting is ethically inappropriate in academic contexts. The Foundation believes that proper academic adjudication of important and controversial issues is not by censorship but rather by open scholarly debate and consideration of positions and arguments on the merits or lack thereof. Research scholarship does not proceed by processes of censorship and inhibition of debate. Rather, the best contribution a philanthropic organization can make is to support and promote research and rigorous debate. Consequently, it is true therefore that Templeton Foundation funding support from time-to-time will have been used by some scholars promoting an ID [intelligent design] position whose proposals have passed muster in independently judged review panels. This is entirely appropriate in cases where competitive review panels have found merit in course proposals and have awarded grants. Professors who are winners of Foundation grants are not kept under ideological review for purposes of blacklisting but are free to pursue and debate ideas as they see fit.

They don't mention not stooping to violence against those with whom one disagrees. I suppose they took that as a given. Is it?

I grew up in that part of the country, just south of Kansas, and have always enjoyed my visits to Lawrence, a real nice town--what the heck is the matter with Kansas, anyway?