Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Times Weighs in on Ohio

Here's the New York Times reporting on Ohio's decision to eliminate their lesson plan “critically analyzing” evolution:

The Ohio Board of Education voted 11 to 4 Tuesday to toss out a mandate that 10th-grade biology classes include critical analysis of evolution and an accompanying model lesson plan, dealing the intelligent design movement its second serious defeat in two months.

Ohio Expected to Rein In Class Linked to Intelligent Design (Feb. 14, 2006)The board, which became the first in the nation to single out evolution for special scrutiny under the academic standards it adopted in 2002, stripped the language from the curriculum partly out of fear of a lawsuit in the wake of a December ruling by a federal judge that teaching intelligent design in the Dover, Pa., public schools was unconstitutional.

While the Ohio lesson plan does not mention intelligent design, which posits that life is too complex to be explained by evolution alone, critics contend that the critical analysis language is simply design in disguise.

“This lesson is bad news, the 'critically analyze' wording is bad news,” Martha W. Wise, the board member who offered the emergency motion, told her colleagues during 90 minutes of contentious debate here Tuesday afternoon. “It is deeply unfair to the children of this state to mislead them about the nature of science.”

Also included is the predictable response from the Discovery Institute:

“It's an outrageous slap in the face to the citizens of Ohio,” said John G. West, associate director of the Center for Science and Culture at the institute, referring to several polls that show public support for criticism of evolution in science classes. “The effort to try to suppress ideas that you dislike, to use the government to suppress ideas you dislike, has a failed history,” Mr. West said. “Do they really want to be on the side of the people who didn't want to let John Scopes talk or who tried to censor Galileo?”

Speaking only for myself, I prefer to be on the side of presenting science accurately and against those who believe lying to schoolchildren is an appropriate way of disseminating their message.


At 3:15 PM, Anonymous Pope Zach 64 said...

As usual the hypocrisy of the DI is staggering.

Seems I've said this a million times - since when is any public school subject taught by formulating arguments for and against? Why not propose arguments for and against the occurrence of the Holocaust? Why not propose arguments for and against Newton's inverse-square law of gravitation?

If the DI really wants to promote critical thinking, how about mandating it as part of a logic class? Then maybe more people could see through scams such as spiritualism, homeopathy and, ID.

Er, wait a minute..ummm, maybe critical thinking isn't such a good idea after all.

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Fred said...

We're not on the side of those who tried to censor Scopes or Galileo, as the DI ridiculously accuses us. Galileo and Scopes (Darwin and other scientists moreso than Scopes) had science to back up what they said. It was silly and wrong to try to censor them.

Why can't the DI get it through their thick head that it's the lack of science that's the problem, not the hypothesis itself? I think ID is nonsense, but if they come up with compelling SCIENCE, I'm all for hearing it. But you don't teach kids scientific proposals, you teach them science that has been researched and verified.

If the DI can't even understand that, then I simply don't think they're qualified to teach or to have any say in what is taught.

At 7:17 PM, Blogger Bill said...

And why is the Disco Inst so interested in the welfare of Ohio?

Oh, now I remember, they were interested in the welfare of Dover. Well, for a while.

At 8:29 AM, Blogger LiberPaul said...

As an Ohio resident I must say I am glad they finally did the right thing...

First, God created idiots. That was just for practice.
Then He created school boards.
--Mark Twain

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Ginger Yellow said...

"Why can't the DI get it through their thick head that it's the lack of science that's the problem, not the hypothesis itself? "

Fred, the DI know that full well. They're not trying to win on science, they're trying to win on PR and politics.

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