As someone who lived in Cleveland for 8 years and whose wife grew up in Toledo, it does my heart good to see that the Ohio Board of Education finally got something right. They voted to strike language in their state science standards singling out evolution for a “critical evaluation:
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 14 — 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.
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.”
Darwin’s defenders celebrated the reversal as a sign of a backlash against the inroads made last year by critics of evolution. But leaders of the Discovery Institute, the intellectual home of intelligent design, warned that Ohio’s move would create a backlash of its own.
“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?”
Bwahahaha. Why am I not surprised that “intelligent design” advocates like Mr. West would be pulling the Galileo Gambit over this?
Good to see the state that I lived in so long get something right.