Evolutionary Biology Lost in "Clerical Consolidation"

From the August 22, 2006 Chronicle of Higher Education daily news update:

Educators Question Absence of Evolution From List of Majors Eligible for New Grants

Like a gap in the fossil record, evolutionary biology is missing from a list of majors that the U.S. Department of Education has deemed eligible for a new federal grant program designed to reward students majoring in engineering, mathematics, science, or certain foreign languages.

That absence apparently indicates that students in the evolutionary sciences do not qualify for the grants, and some observers are wondering whether the omission was deliberate...
The awards in question -- known as Smart Grants, for the National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent program -- were created by Congress this year, with strong support from the president. The grants are worth up to $4,000 and are awarded in addition to Pell grants...
... Under [the Department of Education] classification scheme, there is a heading for "Ecology, Evolution, Systematics and Population Biology," under which 10 biological fields are defined. For instance, ecology is 26.1301, and evolutionary biology is 26.1303.

But on a list that defines majors eligible for the grants, issued by the department in May, one of those 10 is missing. On that list, the classification numbers rise in order from 26.1301 to 26.1309 -- with the exception of a blank line where 26.1303, or evolutionary biology, would fall
... Officials from the Department of Education who could comment on the matter were not available, but a spokeswoman said she suspected that the absence of evolutionary biology was a "clerical consolidation of some kind," and that evolution might fall under other topics.

That phrase, "clerical consolidation of some kind", is so beautiful. When The Party speaks about science, it is as with one voice. And that one voice would not have our nation's poor students partake of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evolutionary Biology, at least not on the federal dime. If you are able to fund your own education, you may happily study evolutionary biology. Should you be a bright young student, interested in science, who has the misfortune to not be as wealthy as an oil baron from Texas, or to be the born-again former party-boy of a Texas oilman, and should you need therefore to fund your education with Pell and SMART grants, why then, evolutionary biology is not for you, my lads and lassies.

But cheer up! You would just be sitting in classrooms with a bunch of Christ-hating, Christian-killing commies, and who needs that? I wipe away a tear just thinking how our nation's poor have been protected from this moral depravity. Is this what you call a faith-based initiative?

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This is the kind of thing that reveals the religious right as havinga political agenda, even though they try to cloak it as a moral agenda. The telling point is that if it were a moral agenda, they would not be comfortable telling lies to cover it up. The fact that they lie about it proves that morality is not their goal.

As a student who would have benefited from this grant if I were just getting started, I can say that I am relieved to find this "error" has been corrected! Thank you for keeping me informed.

If anyone would like to hear what a first generation college student now pursuing a PhD in evolutionarty science thinks, visit my blog: www.newfoundlandnews.blogspot.com