Friday, August 25, 2006

"Why Don't You Major In Scientology Instead?"

The Grave Digger
Recipients of a federal education grant for low-income college students were surprised to find that evolutionary biology has vanished from the list of acceptable fields of study.

The National Smart Grant list, available here (via the New York Times) jumps from line 26.1302 (marine biology and biological oceanography) to line 26.1304 (aquatic biology/limnology).

Typographical erorr? Mabye.

Mr. Nassirian said people at the Education Department had described the omission as “a clerical mistake.” But it is “odd,” he said, because applying the subject codes “is a fairly mechanical task. It is not supposed to be the subject of any kind of deliberation.”

“I am not at all certain that the omission of this particular major is unintentional,” he added. “But I have to take them at their word.”

Scientists who knew about the omission also said they found the clerical explanation unconvincing, given the furor over challenges by the religious right to the teaching of evolution in public schools. “It’s just awfully coincidental,” said Steven W. Rissing, an evolutionary biologist at Ohio State University.

As I have a personal policy of promoting evolution, I find this troubling. However, maybe I should broaden my perpectives and take a look at the evolution of the banana over the internet.

Indexed by tags news, education grant, evolutionary biology, Department of Education, typo, .


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