This is just too good not to pass on. I really don’t believe it’s more than a clerical error, but it sure is an interesting coincidence. From this morning’s NY Times:
“Evolutionary biology has vanished from the list of acceptable fields of study for recipients of a federal education grant for low-income college students.
The omission is inadvertent, said Katherine McLane, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education, which administers the grants. ‘There is no explanation for it being left off the list,’ Ms. McLane said. ‘It has always been an eligible major.’
Another spokeswoman, Samara Yudof, said evolutionary biology would be restored to the list, but as of last night it was still missing.”
Without the listing, students majoring in that field cannot apply for the grant money.
Apparently more than a few scientists found the omission suspicious. Again from the NY Times: “‘It’s just awfully coincidental,’ said Steven W. Rissing, an evolutionary biologist at Ohio State University.”
Although I don’t really believe that the major was deliberately removed, it’s really no surprise that scientists are feeling a bit paranoid in the current anti-science climate. The issue of intelligent design is probably best known, but there are many other examples of governmental assaults on scientific inquiry and academic freedom. For more information about this very serious issue, check out the ACLU’s 2005 report, Science Under Siege.
Sara in Philly