'Daily Show' to focus on evolution this week

In the art imitates life, science and Kansas politics department, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" will air a four-day report on the controversy over evolution.

"Evolution Schmevolution" will air nightly at 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday on Comedy Central.

Ben Karlin, executive producer of the popular comedy, news and talk show, said Stewart and company would settle once and for all the debate over evolution.

"There will be no more discussion on evolution after our four shows," Karlin said.

Debate over evolution has been raging in Kansas for the past six years.

In 1999, conservatives on the State Board of Education adopted science standards for public school students that de-emphasized evolution. But those standards were reversed when moderates regained control of the board.

But recently, with conservatives holding a 6-4 majority, the board adopted standards that include criticism of evolution that were promoted by proponents of intelligent design, which claims a master planner developed life.

Karlin said show producers decided to do the series because of the recent debate in Kansas and comments by President Bush that schools should discuss intelligent design alongside evolution.

But Karlin said none of the show was filmed in Kansas.

"We were thinking for while about going to Kansas, but we ended up shooting in and around New York, Dayton, Tennessee, California and the Bronx Zoo," Karlin said.

He said the zoo was a good substitute for the Galapagos Islands, where Charles Darwin's studies of animal life formed the basis for his theory of evolution.

Bill Wagnon, a member of the State Board of Education whose district includes Lawrence, said he hoped the show would increase interest in politics and education.

But Wagnon, who supports the teaching of evolution, said the negative attention Kansas has received over the issue "is starting to wear thin."

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