Tapes reveal Intelligent Design supporters on Ohio Board work to censor opposition

Democracy is great.

Our government and its agencies are required to have open meetings where one can observe the process and give input. If you have an issue you are passionate about you can use that forum to express your views and the body you are addressing may listen and consider your views.

That’s how its suppose to work, unless your issue is real science and those who support fake science like Intelligent Design (ID) try to censor you.

That’s what happened at the January 10th meeting of the Ohio Board of Education when the topic of removing a lesson plan favoring fake science came up.

The Columbus Dispatch, which has been against introducing ID into state science classes since the beginning of the debate, obtained an audio recording of the January board meeting and what they reported on January 20th makes me ashamed that our Board of Education is made up of buttheads like Michael Cochran, Deborah Owens Fink, and Richard E. Baker.

Newly released tapes obtained by The Dispatch from the Department of Education show:

Elected board member Michael Cochran of Blacklick “cross-examined” a string of witnesses, including a graduate student, who criticized the 10 thgrade biology plan.

Elected board member Deborah Owens Fink of Richfield questioned the character of a witness by producing an e-mail he wrote to a colleague that ridicules a supporter of intelligent design.

One person declined to testify, citing attacks on previous witnesses.

Cochran and appointed board member Richard E. Baker of Hollansburg showed their apparent lack of interest by reading a newspaper during the testimony.

Yesterday, Cochran and Fink said they may have gone too far in some of their remarks to witnesses but stopped short of apologizing.

“When people come before the board, I think board members have every right to ask questions,” said Fink, whose term expires this year. “It was an anomaly, but I don’t think that one side is to blame and the other side is not.”

She and Cochran said they have tired of the issue.

“We have debated this issue ad nauseum,” said Cochran, whose term expires in December 2008. “The same people come forward and say the same thing and it comes to a point where you can’t listen anymore.

“I think it boiled over because it was the end of a long day and it was the same subject matter we’ve heard over and over.”

Witnesses badgered at science meeting (subscription req)
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More fall out from the meeting came from the source used by Cochran to support keeping the lesson plan that favors ID:

Cochran replied: “If I heard your testimony correctly, those who agree with your point of view are honest and those who disagree are dishonest. Is that what you said?”

“Yes, as far as passing off (intelligent design) as science,” Morris said.

“So half the board is dishonest? How do you square your comments with the ratings from (Thomas B.) Fordham Foundation and Education Weekly which gave us an A- and a B?”

“Well, I’m not aware of that. But what I do know . . . “

“Well, you are now. How do you analyze that?” Cochran interrupted. “They are probably dishonest, aren’t they?”

Cochran IS being dishonest when using the Fordham Foundation report as he did:

A biologist who wrote a national evaluation of states’ science standards said he is angry that an Ohio Board of Education member used the grade card to defend a lesson plan that urges students to question evolution.

Ohio board member Michael Cochran used the “B” the Thomas B. Fordham Institute gave Ohio during a board meeting on Jan. 10 to justify approving the lesson.

“When evidently somebody on that board said our B grade shows that we thought the lesson is OK, that really (upset me). This is a very bad lesson,” said Paul Gross, who wrote the Fordham Institute report.

“The whole thing is dishonest. The whole thing is a Trojan horse.”

Gross said Ohio’s lesson is a joke.

“What this lesson does is to say to a student with brains, ‘Anything else you learn in science is as you got it, but evolution, we don’t really know about that,’ ” he said.

Washington University biologist Ursula Goodenough said she and the four other members of the Fordham Institute committee supported Gross’ evaluation.

“There was this sentence that kept being repeated about how evolutionary theory would be given critical analysis,” she said. “Science needs critical analysis. To single out evolutionary biology as needing critical analysis is stupid.”

Ohio’s grade on science standards misused, evaluator says (subscription req)
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