Ohio School Board Votes Down Critical Analysis of Evolution
In more apparent fallout from the Dover case, the Ohio State Board of Education (OSBE) voted 11-4 to strike language from the high school science standards that stated simply, “Describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.” The same standards specifically mentioned that intelligent design would not be taught. No textbooks were to be changed; evolution would still be taught as fact.
Nevertheless, a motion to strike out the critical-analysis statement was introduced by one board member, Martha K. Wise, based on input from evolution lobbyists and fears of what happened in Dover; MSNBC News reported that fear of a lawsuit entered into her decision to make the motion. With three key board members who supported the policy absent, the vote was taken before the legal opinion on the constitutionality of the language was provided. For details on this policy reversal from a board that had previously supported it unanimously, see Evolution News. Wise claimed the policy was introducing intelligent design into the standards and claimed, “It is deeply unfair to the children of this state to mislead them about science.”
Another posting on Evolution News told how biologist Dan Ely testified to the board just after the vote was taken; he was dismayed that the board had caved into outside lobbyists who were giving erroneous information. He stressed how the concerns over teaching ID were completely unfounded. “In this lesson we don’t have intelligent design,” he stated, “But, you say there is.” The proposed standards said explicitly, “The intent of this benchmark does not mandate the teaching or testing of intelligent design.”
The vote came on the heels of a new Zogby poll that showed that an overwhelming of Ohioans – over two thirds – support the critical analysis of evolution in school, and a smaller majority favor teaching evidence for intelligent design when evolution is taught. Discovery Institute News reported the results and provided an executive summary. This poll appeared to have no influence on the vote; the OSBE took their action without any public hearing. One subheading in the Evolution News article summarized: “Vote Took Place Without Board’s Attorney’s Legal Opinion, Public Input and Three Key Board Members.”
Meanwhile, in California, the Frazier Park High School “philosophy of design” class ended in late January. The superintendent himself taught a session on journalistic ethics, and assigned the students to analyze various newspaper reports about their class. A local paper printed their responses; almost every one found that the papers (including national news organizations) had violated the journalism code of ethics by printing false statements, reporting second-hand and biased anecdotes, failing to get accurate information from the source (such as actually visiting the class or interviewing students) and omitting essential information that left a biased impression. Uniformly, for instance, they portrayed Mrs. Lemburg as a “pastor’s wife” instead of a teacher who had more years of experience at the school than most other teachers, and they failed to say the class was an elective in which both students and their parents had signed consent slips.
The pattern for elitists, whether scientific or educational, is to run around the public and pump votes or court rulings based on false statements. Nothing in the Ohio critical-analysis policy should have caused any rational person any concern. This entire action was taken purely out of fear of a lawsuit, for which there would have been no legal or constitutional issue at stake.
Darwinists are treating “Intelligent Design” as a politically charged buzzword, hoping it will engender instant panic without the need for further discussion about what it means or what the issues are. The same fear tactic was used against Frazier Mountain High School, California, where the school decided to settle out of court because they didn’t have the funds to fight a lawsuit, not because they felt guilty about holding an elective “philosophy of design” class. This fear tactic against elected officials’ ability to respond to their constituents may have a short-term chilling effect, like the tanks in Tianenmen Square, but the desire for freedom is strong. How ironic that “free thought” now stands for those who wish liberty from the tyranny of powerful Darwin-Only Darwin-Only DODOs and their attack dogs at the ACLU. Once proclaiming independence from an established state church, the Church of Darwin has become its own nemesis.