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The scientists strike back 

If the Cobb County School Board thought the state's scientific community would disappear into the ether once it decided to give educators the go-ahead to teach pseudoscientific alternatives to evolution, it should think again.

Georgia Citizens for Integrity in Science Education has recently formed as an outreach and watchdog group for teachers, parents, students and the media. In addition to pushing for improvements to Georgia's science curriculum, the group hopes to "safeguard science" education against intrusion from religious-based theories of life, such as creationism or so-called intelligent design theory.

Sarah Pallas, a biology professor at Georgia State University and one of the co-chairpersons of the group, says plans also are under way to create a class about evolution at GSU. And the course wouldn't just be aimed at Georgia State's often unprepared science students. The education department also would be encouraged to send students to the class in the hopes that over time it will improve the teaching of the subject in the state. Currently, Georgia is among the worst in the nation when it comes to teaching evolution, according to one Ohio-based education reform group. Pallas says the course may be offered by the fall of 2004.

In the meantime, the university plans to host a graduate-level seminar on evolution in the spring. It won't be an evolution how-to guide for the public, but Pallas says that GSU was able to attract some of the biggest names in the field, because the scholars were so concerned with what was happening with biology education in the state. Their high-profile presence in Atlanta shouldhelp draw attention to how mainstream evolutionary theory is, and to the ongoing debate in Cobb County, Pallas argues.

The website for Georgia Citizens for Integrity in Science Education is www.georgia science.org.

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