OHIO creationism cross post.

Ron at Ron at
Wed Feb 13 03:06:43 CST 2002

I ran into this on the naturepotporri Yahoo site.  I am on record here on
taxacom as being totally opposed to Creationism being taught in public
schools (I see nothing wrong with it being offered in College where
students are more mature than in say grade school) .  My reason is simple.
One can not teach creation or design without opening the door for a teacher
to inject _their_ idea, concept, etc. of the creator or designer.  Ron


February 11, 2002

In Ohio School Hearing, a New Theory Will Seek a Place Alongside

OLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 4 - The latest challenge to evolution's primacy in the
nation's classrooms - the theory of intelligent design, not the old foe
creationism - will get a full- scale hearing next month before Ohio Board
of Education members, who are in a heated debate over whether established
science censors other views about the origins of life.

"It's a stacked deck," said Deborah Owens-Fink, a state school board member
and an outspoken supporter of the intelligent design movement.

Supporters of this theory acknowledge that the earth is billions of years
old, not thousands, as a literal reading of the Bible suggests.  They also
accept that organisms change over time, according to commonly held
principles of evolution. But they dispute the idea that the astounding
complexity of the earth's plants and animals could have just happened
through natural selection, the force that Darwin
suggested drives evolution. An intelligent designer - perhaps the God of
perhaps someone or something else - had to get the ball rolling, they

"This is not a fringe movement," said Ms. Owens-Fink, a marketing professor
at the University of Akron. "I find it intellectually intriguing."

She spoke as a member of a state school board subcommittee with a
five-member majority that favors inserting intelligent design alongside
evolution in the state's new teaching standards. Such an order would
overrule a draft proposal by a 45- member advisory panel of science
teachers. If the full 18-member state board upholds it, it would be the
first major victory for the intelligent design movement,
which has gained attention in recent years as creationists suffered
setbacks in court.

Critics say it would make Ohio a laughingstock to rival Kansas, where
school board members voted in 1999 to delete evolution from the state's
recommended science curriculum and standardized tests. The board was
eventually turned out by voters and evolution was restored.

Opponents of intelligent design view it as a sophisticated variation on the
decades-old effort to force theism into the public schools.

"It's a shrouded way of bringing religion into the schools," said Martha W.
Wise, a state board member who is the lone opponent of intelligent design
on the standards subcommittee. "Personally I'm creationist: I believe in
God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth," said Ms. Wise, a
retired business executive. She emphasized, however, that her belief had no
place in a science lesson. "I think
intelligent design is a theology, and it belongs in another curriculum."

The board's science standards subcommittee has scheduled a hearing next
month for a debate on intelligent design. Its proponents insist that eons
of evolutionary fact should not be dismissed, but simply supplemented with
what they call origins science, defined as the study of intelligent causes
that are empirically detectable
in nature.

"There would be a major revolt in Ohio if that were accepted," said Lynn E.
Elfner, a member of the board's science advisory panel and chief executive
of the Ohio Academy of Science, a nonprofit professional organization of
1,500 members.

Mr. Elfner said intelligent design was a political movement dressed in
scientific jargon presenting "the old seductive argument" of being fair to
both sides. "But it doesn't play well in science if the other side is not a
science," he said.

The subcommittee majority's favorable view toward the movement was made
clear last month at a meeting in which it gave John H. Calvert, a Kansas
City lawyer who is co-founder of the Intelligent Design Network, 30 minutes
to speak without giving evolution supporters an opportunity for rebuttal.

Mr. Calvert called on Ohio to establish "a level playing field" by having
science teachers suggest in classes that "a mind or some form of
intelligence is necessary to produce life and its diversity." Evolutionary
science is elitist and unfairly "inhibits theism," he said.

Board members met here this week to hear a detailed briefing from Dr. David
L. Haury, associate professor of science education at Ohio State
University. Dr. Haury told them that a theory, by definition, was one of
the strongest statements science can make - something rigorously tested
across years of experiment and peer review. While many scientists "admit to
a greater reality" beyond their discipline, this hardly undermines
evolution, he said.

"Science has no statement to make beyond the natural world," Dr. Haury
said. "Intelligent design is about how things got started.  Evolution is
about how they change across time."

Board members firmly disagreed with him that the distinction was critical.
"Well-credentialed scientists think it should be part of the debate," Mike
Cochran, a member and lawyer, said of intelligent design.

Supporters of intelligent design claim the support of various academics and
scientists, including Dr. Michael J. Behe, a biology professor at Lehigh
University in Pennsylvania, who set out the theory in his book "Darwin's
Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution." He argued that various
biochemical structures in cells could not have been built step by Darwinian

But critics say that testing, not credentials, must ultimately verify any
scientist's new claim.

"Intelligent design is a repackaging of the antievolution movement to try
to withstand court challenges by avoiding the C-word," said Dr. Eugenie
Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education in
Oakland, Calif., which promotes the teaching of evolution.

Dr. Scott said that some scientists may have interesting antievolution
theses still to be tested and proved but in the meantime they should not be
used to force quasi-religious theories on science students."Intelligent
design is distinctly not ready for prime time," she said.



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