March 28, 2009 in Nation/World

Conservatives lose on evolution votes

 
The Spokesman-Review photo

Hausner
(Full-size photo)

Social conservatives lost another skirmish over evolution Friday when the Texas Board of Education stripped two provisions from proposed science standards that would have raised questions about key principles of the theory of evolution.

In identical 8-7 votes, board members removed two sections authored by chairman Don McLeroy, a Republican, that would have required students in high school biology classes to study the “sufficiency or insufficiency” of common ancestry and natural selection of species. Both are key principles of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Five Democrats and three Republicans joined to narrowly outvote the seven Republicans on the board aligned with social conservative groups. The science standards were ultimately adopted 13-2, setting the state’s curriculum in the subject for the next decade.

Groups representing science teachers and academics had urged the board to dump McLeroy’s proposals on common ancestry and natural selection of species, contending they would be used to undermine teaching of evolution.

Phoenix

Death sentence for serial shooter

The main suspect in the Phoenix Serial Shooter attacks was sentenced to death Friday for six murders that put the city on edge for nearly two years.

Dale Hausner was convicted earlier this month of killing six people and attacking 19 others in random nighttime shootings in 2005 and 2006.

As the jury’s decisions were announced, the former janitor was expressionless, keeping his head down as he flipped through papers in front of him. Before being led out of the courtroom, Hausner thanked the judge who presided over his trial.

Hausner’s mother was whisked out of the courtroom through a back door by one of his lawyers.

Even though Hausner, 36, has denied any involvement in the attacks since his arrest in August 2006, he apologized to the families of the victims on Thursday and said he would take his punishment “like a man” if it helps them heal. He declined the opportunity to call his own witnesses and instructed his attorneys not to ask jurors for leniency on his behalf.

From wire reports


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