In the Beginning: American Physics, the Kansas Science Education Standards, and the Attack on Scientific Cosmology
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While the battle over teaching evolution in American public schools significantly predates the infamous 1925 Scopes, or \"Monkey,\" Trial, the battle over teaching physics has just begun. In August, 1999, the Kansas Board of Education voted to drop not only the theory of evolution from state science standards, but to remove the Big Bang theory of cosmic origins as well. It is important to view the Board\'s actions in the context of contemporary American culture, and its changing attitude toward physics. For much of the twentieth century, theoretical and experimental physics was viewed as good for American progress and essential to American defense. Now, however, the field is seen by an increasing number of Americans to be both irrelevant and a drain on the country\'s financial resources. Recognizing this shift is essential to understanding the new vulnerability of physics to proponents of creationism. Understanding why the shift is occurring is essential to any defense.