PvM posted Entry 2016 on February 14, 2006 04:52 PM.
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School Board Kills Lesson Plan Criticizing Evolution

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The state school board has voted to eliminate a lesson plan and science standards that critics said opened the door to teaching intelligent design, a form of creationism.

  1. AP News

    COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio school board voted Tuesday to eliminate a passage in the state’s science standards that critics said opened the door to teaching intelligent design.

    The Ohio Board of Education voted 11-4 to delete material encouraging students to seek evidence for and against evolution.

    The decision represents the latest setback for the intelligent design movement, which holds that life is so complex it must have been created by a higher authority.

  2. School Board Kills Lesson Plan Criticizing Evolution

    The board also directed a committee to study whether a replacement lesson was needed.

    The vote was a reversal of a 9-8 decision a month ago to keep the lesson plan. But three board members who voted in January to keep the plan in place were absent Tuesday, and supporters of the science material pledged to force a new vote to return the material soon.

  3. CBS News, Ohio Board Votes Out Evolution Lesson Plan
  4. NCSE, Ohio’s antievolution lesson plan removed
  5. Discovery Institute, Darwinists Bully Ohio School Board into Censoring Teaching of Evolution
  6. Guardian, School board delivers blow to creationism , Suzanne Goldenberg

    Three board members who support the teaching of intelligent design were absent, and could try to force a re-vote.

    But Patricia Princehouse, a biologist at Case Western University and a leader of Ohio Citizens for Science, called the decision a “huge victory”. Although the model lessons plans were not compulsory, Ms Princehouse said their use was widespread and opponents of evolution had drawn on their experiences in Ohio to gain greater currency for their beliefs.

  7. New York Times, Ohio Board Undoes Stand on Evolution, Jodi Rudoren

    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.”

  8. USA Today, Evolution supporters win in Ohio, Greg Toppo

    Scientists had assailed the Ohio standards as an attempt to repackage intelligent design and introduce religious principles into science class. Intelligent design holds that life on Earth is so complex that it could have been created only by an “intelligent designer” such as God.

  9. MSNBC, Ohio board deletes disputed evolution language
  10. Discovery Institute, Ohio State Board of Education Repeals Critical Analysis Policy, Casey Luskin
  11. World Peace Herald, Ohio drops anti-evolution lesson plan, UPI
  12. MTV, Ohio To Remove Anti-Evolution Language From State Science Curriculum, Gil Kaufman
  13. MichNews.com, GOD-EVOLUTION DEBATE WON’T QUIT, By J. Grant Swank, Jr.

    So evolution should be taught in Faith Class if it’s going to be put upon the students in public schools. It does not certainly belong in science class. It’s not a science. It’s not a proven fact. Now of course if there is a chapter in science class about theories, then evolution can be presented as a theory as much as Alice in Wonderland can be presented as a theory. But nothing more than a theory.

Background Information

  1. NCSE: Ohio’s antievolution lesson plan under challenge
  2. ‘Analysis’ of evolution is a threat, lawyer says
  3. Discovery Institute Press Release

    “Surprisingly, Ohioans want to go further than their leaders with 75% favoring teaching intelligent design alongside of Darwinian evolution,” added Crowther. “Even after all the attacks on intelligent design by the dogmatic Darwin-only lobby, the public clearly wants to know more about the theory and make up their own minds.”

  4. ACLU of Ohio Demands Schools Stop Teaching Intelligent Design as Science

    Gamso added, “Proponents of intelligent design have been unable to provide any credible scientific evidence to support their theories. The scientific community has, time and again, largely refuted purported evidence supporting intelligent design. By continuing to allow teachers to implement intelligent design into the science curriculum, educators are misinforming Ohio’s children on the fundamental principles of science.”

How it all got started

  1. Ohio education board may remove evolution lesson

    A state Board of Education member said today that she has the votes to remove a disputed lesson plan from Ohio’s science curriculum that allows teachers and students to question the legitimacy of evolution.

    Board member Martha Wise said she plans to offer a motion at Tuesday’s board meeting to the remove the language that she says promotes “intelligent design” unless the panel takes other action to address her concerns. The concept states that a higher power must have been involved in the creation of life because it is so complex, but critics contend it is a religious theory masquerading as science.

    Wise, a board member for 28 years, has called herself a creationist who believes that science should be taught.

    Her proposal would delete language from the state science standards that allows for a critical analysis of evolution. She offered a similar motion at the board’s meeting last month that was defeated 9-8.

    Wise said she had persuaded some members to change their votes but declined to name them, saying delicate negotiations would continue until a possible vote Tuesday afternoon.

  2. Free Times Ohio, Weird Science: How “Intelligent Design” Got A Toehold In Ohio Public Schools, and What’s Being Done To Dislodge It, By Charu Gupta

    Ohio Board of Education meetings typically are sedate and officious affairs, and the January 2006 gathering started that way too. Until the topic of intelligent design was raised. That’s when board member Deborah Owens Fink, and probably most others in attendance, began to find it difficult to keep emotions in check….

    Weeks can’t help but wonder how Ely got on that writing committee. No one in the university’s biology department knew about the application deadline, Weeks says, and no one was asked to apply. Besides, “Ely is the only person in the whole University of Akron’s biology department who doesn’t believe in evolution,” Weeks says, “and somehow he’s picked from here?”

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Comment #79897

Posted by Rilke's Granddaughter on February 14, 2006 5:03 PM (e)

Excellent news. Is there any information yet on what caused the change of heart on the part of the school board? And why are the numbers different: if this is the same group that voted to retain the standards, that number was seventeen; this is fifteen.

Did I miss something?

Comment #79898

Posted by Kevin on February 14, 2006 5:03 PM (e)

I’ve been saying for a while that I thought that 2005, with the situations in Dover and Kansas, would be seen as the high-water mark of the Intelligent Design movement. Fortunately, that seems to be coming true.

Comment #79906

Posted by Keanus on February 14, 2006 5:27 PM (e)

This was in the cards sooner or later, if one followed the machinations on the Ohio Board. But disturbingly—I say disturbingly because Toledo is only one of thousands of local systems in Ohio—today the Ohio ACLU sent a letter to the Toledo Public Schools requesting that they stop their teachers from teaching creationism, aka “intelligent design”, in biology classes. This may have stemmed from an article in the Toledo Blade last week reporting, by name, teachers who unapologetically taught ID in their science classes; to be fair the article also reported on science teachers whose biology instruction was suffused with evolution. But the Toledo Schools’ official position is that they require their teachers to follow the state mandated curriculum. That seems to be wishful thinking at best.

All of which just goes to show that all the public debate aired at the state or local board level often has little impact on what actually transpires in each classroom. Sometimes those classrooms are as hermetically sealed as the minds of ID/Creationist advocates. But, most often, a teacher with no expressed administration support will avoid evolution altogether, shortchanging hordes of students about the real world. We have a long way to go.

Comment #79907

Posted by Russell on February 14, 2006 5:28 PM (e)

Is there any information yet on what caused the change of heart on the part of the school board?

Well, aside from the fact that I don’t think Dover had fully sunk in a month ago, the Board learned for the first time that the majority of its own science advisory committee had objected to the bad plan - in writing - using words like “lies”.

And why are the numbers different: if this is the same group that voted to retain the standards, that number was seventeen; this is fifteen.

The full board is 19. Two were absent for the last vote, 4 were this time. But even if all 4 were there, and voted with IDers, they still would have lost 11-8.

Comment #79909

Posted by Russell on February 14, 2006 5:33 PM (e)

Is there any information yet on what caused the change of heart on the part of the school board?

Oh, I forgot to mention Casey Luskin was there and - I guess - addressed the board before I got there, representing the Disco Inst. Perhaps he was instrumental in convincing some board members that they didn’t want to be tarred with that brush!

Comment #79910

Posted by CanuckRob on February 14, 2006 5:34 PM (e)

All you PTers (and the people of Ohio and Pennsylvania etc.) deserve kudos. We are not currently facing this nonsense in Canada and hopefully won’t but it is gratifying to know our neighbour is taking steps to stop from becoming a scientific backwater! Thanks.

Comment #79916

Posted by Mr Christopher on February 14, 2006 5:58 PM (e)

The Discovery Institute’s spin on this should begin at any moment. We can predict an endless stream of article talking about “activist” board members, stifling of free speech, “darwinsim” and dogmatism, etc. No doubt Dembski and his pocket pal, Dave Scot, should provide some great comedy as well.

Let the insane creationist clown whining begin!

Comment #79918

Posted by Steviepinhead on February 14, 2006 6:02 PM (e)

Just a great, great job by the Ohio reality-based community! Thanks so much!

Comment #79921

Posted by Doc Bill on February 14, 2006 6:06 PM (e)

Right on cue. EvolutionNewsAndWhining has the following headline:

Darwinists Bully Ohio School Board into Censoring Teaching of Evolution

Congrats to the Darwinian Pressure Group, Delta Pi Gamma (still waiting on dues from harold so we can put a down payment on our fraternity BMW). I guess the threat of a genetically modified plague of locusts did the trick.

Comment #79928

Posted by KiwiInOz on February 14, 2006 6:18 PM (e)

“Fraternity BMW”???? What happened to the PT Cruiser with double helix decals?

Comment #79933

Posted by Moses on February 14, 2006 6:29 PM (e)

Woot!

Comment #79936

Posted by steve s on February 14, 2006 6:42 PM (e)

Impressed by Rob Crowther’s spin, I went to see what his bio says. Obviously he’s not a biologist or other kind of actual scientist, but I wanted to see which it was: lawyer or engineer. Instead of finding that, I found something even more mockable.

Did you know that Ed Meese is a fellow of the Disco Institute?

Comment #79937

Posted by Russell on February 14, 2006 6:46 PM (e)

Darwinists Bully Ohio School Board into Censoring Teaching of Evolution

For some reason, the Disco Inst doesn’t quote any scientists deploring the decision: just Casey Luskin and John West.

Comment #79938

Posted by RBH on February 14, 2006 6:50 PM (e)

Russell wrote

Oh, I forgot to mention Casey Luskin was there and - I guess - addressed the board before I got there, representing the Disco Inst. Perhaps he was instrumental in convincing some board members that they didn’t want to be tarred with that brush!

Casey did not speak to the Board as a whole. He did not fill out the necessary form. Ohio Citizens for Science also decided not to speak, since the period for comment was after the vote and would have no effect except to aggravate board members who would have to stay late. Some ID creationism supporters (many fewer than I expected) were there and some spoke during the public comment period after the vote, but it was too little too late.

OCS distributed the press release in my PT post here.

I’ll have the full text of the final motion posted there when I have transcribed it from the digital recording I made. The motion was amended so a final printed form was not available during or immediately after the meeting.

RBH

Comment #79939

Posted by steve s on February 14, 2006 6:50 PM (e)

Posted by Russell on February 14, 2006 05:33 PM (e)

Oh, I forgot to mention Casey Luskin was there and - I guess - addressed the board before I got there, representing the Disco Inst. Perhaps he was instrumental in convincing some board members that they didn’t want to be tarred with that brush!

Be nice to know the backstory on this. “Hey Bob, which way are you going to vote?” “Well Fred, I was on the fence, hell, I don’t know any science, but it occurred to me…the guy on the pro-ID side was a lawyer preacher, and all the science people said he was lying and “insulting to science”. So since my IQ is higher than my thermostat, I’m going with the scientists.”

Comment #79947

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on February 14, 2006 7:08 PM (e)

KiwiInOz asks: “Fraternity BMW”???? What happened to the PT Cruiser with double helix decals?”

I took off in the PT cruiser several months ago for a road trip but have returned it washed and waxed, it’s parked out back and there’s a fresh keg in the cooler.
Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #79971

Posted by khan on February 14, 2006 8:19 PM (e)

– Did you know that Ed Meese is a fellow of the Disco Institute? –

No.

But it certainly does not surprise me.

Comment #80064

Posted by GT(N)T on February 15, 2006 8:13 AM (e)

A heart-felt thanks to the scientists, educators, and other concerned citizens of Ohio who worked so hard and so well to defeat this idiocy.

Every victory reduces the likelihood that other boards in states will try the same silliness.

Comment #80073

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on February 15, 2006 8:50 AM (e)

Did you know that Ed Meese is a fellow of the Disco Institute?

Yes I did. But remember that the Disco Institute is a ‘right wing think tank’ and handles other issues as well. The Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture handles the ID stuff, but is only part of the vast Evil Empire. For example, their Cascadia Project is doing a traffic study on Bill Gates’ dime.