August 22, 2006
Like a gap in the fossil record, evolutionary biology is missing from a list of majors that the U.S. Department of Education has deemed eligible for a new federal grant program designed to reward students majoring in engineering, mathematics, science, or certain foreign languages.
That absence apparently indicates that students in the evolutionary sciences do not qualify for the grants, and some observers are wondering whether the omission was deliberate.
… The awards in question—known as Smart Grants, for the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent program—were created by Congress this year, with strong support from the president. The grants are worth up to $4,000 and are awarded in addition to Pell grants.
Recipients must be college juniors or seniors enrolled in one of the technical fields of study that the Department of Education has deemed eligible for funds. Many different topics, as varied as astronomy and Arabic, qualify.
But evolutionary biology is absent.
… Lawrence M. Krauss, a physics professor at Case Western Reserve University and an outspoken defender of evolutionary sciences, noted the subject’s absence from the list in a letter to the department.
“I’m not making any accusations,” Mr. Krauss said in an interview on Monday. “I’m concerned it’s not there.”
… Officials from the Department of Education who could comment on the matter were not available, but a spokeswoman said she suspected that the absence of evolutionary biology was a “clerical consolidation of some kind,” and that evolution might fall under other topics.
Over at The Panda’s Thumb, Matt Brauer notes that the discipline of “Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technology” has also gone AWOL. And asks: Why do the creationists hate air conditioning?
Clearly a conspiracy.
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