Since dust up about ID lesson plan, two Ohio Board members go for cover up

“If they think we’re wrong, and they feel that strongly, then take us to court…,” said board member Michael Cochran, of Blacklick, Ohio. “I don’t think we’ll be sued. The last thing they want do is to take us to court and have the state win, because they’ll have bad precedent.”

Intelligent design stays in textbooks; lawsuit fear doesn’t sway supporters

Well, Mr. Cochran, you are wrong.

As we found out in the Dover, PA case, there is no legitimate alternative view of Evolution to teach to the children in 10th grade Biology. The science community has been saying that for years and several courts have agreed. Yet, people like Cochran don’t listen.

According to news reports in today’s editions of the Toledo Blade and Columbus Dispatch, the debate over the science lesson plan was heated and even some Ohio Board of Education members lacked interest in the issue.

Martha W. Wise, a board member from Avon, sought the resolution, arguing that Ohio’s 10 th-grade science standards are flawed and could subject the state to costly litigation. She said it had been the intent of at least two board members to get intelligent design into Ohio’s standards.

“You’re obviously calling me a liar,” Michael Cochran, of Blacklick, told Wise, denying he ever pushed intelligent design.
Deborah Owens Fink, a board member from Richfield, said she was livid that Wise would question her intent in such “unprofessional attacks.”

“You don’t want to go there,” Fink said.

In 9-8 vote, state panel retains science rules(subscription required to view online)

Well, Mr. Cochran, you seem to be a liar. In a couple of articles concerning the science standards from 2002, you are quoted quite a bit in support of the inclusion of Intelligent Design.

In a meeting of the state board’s Standards Committee last week, board member Michael Cochran of Blacklick noted that of 17,000 public comments received about state science standards, 12,000 favored inclusion of intelligent design.

“How are we to react to that beside what we are doing — ignoring it?” Cochran asked other members of the committee.

Intelligent Design 2
Backers of religious viewpoint shouldn’t use schools as soapbox
Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2002 Columbus Dispatch

Board members supporting intelligent design agreed the standards had been misinterpreted. But even without the mandate for intelligent design, the standards, they said, are a step in the right direction.

Michael Cochran, a board member from Columbus and intelligent-design proponent, said the standards call for a critique of evolution.

“We’re not mandating it, but if a teacher or local board wants to explore alternatives to evolution, they can,” he said. “What we have long objected to is the indoctrination of evolution. There is a controversy and students ought to hear about it.”

Evolution Backers, Critics Claim Victory In Science Standards
Published: Wednesday, December 11, 2002 Columbus Dispatch

Deborah Owens Fink was also a vocal support for including ID in the standards. In fact she made the initial proposal back when the review process started and used the words “Intelligent Design.” She also appeared at least three times on NPR as a supporter of ID in the standards.

PENKAVA: So it sounds like you’re leaning toward having Intelligent Design being taught there.

Prof. FINK: Yeah. I’m learning I’m not an expert on Intelligent Design…

PENKAVA: Mm-hmm.

Prof. FINK: …nor am I an expert on revolution, but I do think that if you look at those people on the board that have accepted Darwinian evolution as fact vs. those that are willing to look at both sides of that issue, I feel like I probably know much more about evolution now than some of my peers that really haven’t maybe critically analyzed it as well. And, you know, we have to think about the fact that the proponents of a given theory, be it Intelligent Design or Darwinian account, know a whole lot about the strengths…

Talk Of The Nation February 13, 2002
Analysis: Whether The Theory Of Intelligent Design Should Be Taught In The Classroom

Not to mention the documents uncovered by Americans United that show both Cochran and Owens Fink had a strong hand in forcing the lesson plan through the Board including getting Governor Taft to twist some arms.

It would seem that now since Cochran and Fink see a possible lawsuit on the horizon, they are doing exactly what some on the Dover Board did – cover up their actions.


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  1. DJB
    January 11, 2006

    I heard Cochran speak once. Like a lot of other uninformed people, he used “theory” as a synonym for “speculation” and “guess” rather than as scientists do (i.e., as a very well-established fact-based explanation that’s just one step away from being declared a law of nature). It’s scary to think of people like that determining what gets taught in Ohio’s science classrooms.

  2. January 11, 2006

    It is ironic that Cochran was “bothered deeply by all this legal advice from nonlawyers: “The Dover case means this; the Dover case means that.’” yet he thinks his ideas about science should be accepted without question.

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