Ohio Board of Education does the right thing – finally

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.

Evolution supporters win in Ohio

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.


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  1. Jose
    February 22, 2006

    I’m a secular humanist myself but I think we can safely throttle back on Intelligent Design. The movement seems mortaly wounded.

    And we shouldn’t be trying to strangle it completely. I believe Intelligent Design is actually a baby step in creationists long and slow evolution into…. well evolutionists.

    I believe parents and students should have control of their own curriculum anyway. If a student wishes to opt in to religous education if they choose to.

    Being zealous in the contrary direction is just going to encourage them to think that we’re intolerant ideologues and take their movement underground.

    Creationism has festered largely underground since the scopes monkey trial. Let’s get it out in the open and blast it to pieces over the next 20 years.

  2. February 22, 2006

    Religious conservatives are the ones who are being intolerant ideologues by equating Evolution and religion. One can agree with Evolution and NOT be anti-religious since they are not the same thing. Many scientists are believers AND support Evolution. There is no reason for the conflict other than the religious conservatives contempt for anything that conflicts with their Bible.

    The trouble happened because others thought it would just go away. Religious zelots however are able to impose their beliefs at will and will do so unless we shine a spot light on them all the time.

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