Thank you very much for the interesting letter. I found myself agreeing with a great deal of what you wrote. In an op-ed piece
I prepared for the Washington Post, I did indeed recognize that the public education system in Kansas was a very good one.
The fact that it is better than that of many other states, and certainly much better than the near disaster we have here in
Washington, made the decision of the Kansas State Board of Education even more regrettable. I hope you saw the op-ed piece
which I know has been circulated in Kansas.
While I agree with a good deal of what you said in your letter, I do think it important for there to be outspoken public comment
on the Board's decision. There are not many ways for the scientific community to make itself heard on the issue of the
teaching of evolution. There are ways for the scientific community to express itself, but often these are not 'heard'.
Whether we like it or not, public occurrences such as what happened in Kansas, make opportunities for press coverage that
can reflect the scientific view. Similarly, Gary Conrad's letter soliciting suggestions for candidates, provided a timely
opportunity to make a point, even recognizing that complex situations are not fully addressed by single, simplistic responses.
Moreover, public criticism of what happened in Kansas at least alerts people in other states that the scientific community
is watching and will try to ameliorate challenges to the teaching of sound science.
The high school text you mentioned using yourself in Pennsylvania, "Modern Biology", was, I think, the book known
for having been "cleansed" of evolution. It is likely that I too used that book in my huge public high school in Brooklyn,
though I don't exactly remember. And I went from Brooklyn to Swarthmore, as your wife did from Iowa. Not only that, but
one of my daughters is a professor in the Math Department at Haverford! Coincidence is a wonderful thing.