On Tuesday, February 14th, at the monthly meeting of the Ohio Board of Education, it voted 11 to 4 to remove the lesson plan that allowed Intelligent Design to be taught in public schools.
After intense pressure from supporters of real science, which included a letter to Governor Taft signed by 23 members of the advisory committee that was ignored when the plan was adopted in 2004, the OBE made the right decision to remove the plan.
Scientists had assailed the Ohio standards as an attempt to repackage intelligent design and introduce religious principles into science class. Intelligent design holds that life on Earth is so complex that it could have been created only by an “intelligent designer” such as God.
Tuesday’s 11-4 vote rejected a short passage that said students should be able to “describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.”
The board also rejected a model biology lesson that critics said promoted intelligent design. Three board members who voted in January to keep the optional lesson were absent Tuesday, and supporters of the materials said they would force a new vote to get the material back into students’ hands.
Of course the issue is not closed. I would be foolish to think so, but it is less likely now that the same lesson plan could be approved again. However since four board member’s terms end at the end of the year, real science supporters need to pay attention and make sure that religious conservatives don’t back door us again.
Deborah Owens Fink, one of the supporters of the now removed plan said in a video report on WBNS-TV that the action was taken to head off a lawsuit. (For video see: Intelligent Design Backers Lose Battle and click on the Video link.)
That’s exactly why those of us against the lesson plan asked for it to be removed.