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  Topic: The "wedge" at work in Ohio, Ohio Board of Education problems< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
rafe gutman

Posts: 27
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 19 2004,20:11   

here is the body of an email i sent to several board of education members on 2/13/04:

I am a recent graduate of the Ph.D. Biology program at the University of California, San Diego, and have been following the Intelligent Design (ID) movement for several years now.  I’ve watched the advocates of ID go from state to state, trying to insert their ideology into high school science classrooms, and held my breath each time.  As someone who has spent the last six years completely engrossed in biology, I’m always amazed at how bad their arguments are against evolution or for intelligent design.  Their writings display a lack of understanding of biology, and of the nature of evidence. However, I realize now that they are not trying to convince me, or the scientific community, that evolution is indeed a theory in crisis.  They only have to convince you.  Ultimately, it is not the scientific community that holds the power over what high school students are taught, you do.  So ID dvocates start with an innocuous proposal, that students should learn both the scientific evidence for and against evolution.  Then they present distortions and half-truths and claim it as "scientific" evidence against evolution.  They know that it doesn’t have to be accurate, or based on sound logic.  It doesn’t actually have to *be* scientific evidence, it just has to look like it.  It doesn’t even matter if members of the scientific community challenge them and expose the flaws in their arguments.  If the public doesn’t understand the evidence, then how do they know who’s right?  I guess that’s the big question here.  How do non-biologists gauge biological evidence?  To me, the answer is simple.  If it’s an issue of science, then listen to the scientific community.  When asked whether they thought there was any scientific evidence that challenges the fundamental principles of the theory of evolution, 93% of Ohio scientists said no [1].  When asked whether they thought students should be tested on Intelligent Design, 90% of Ohio scientists said no [1].  What I’ve found most disturbing in these latest incidents is not the actions of the IDists, but in the lack of trust displayed by boards of education toward their state’s own university scientists.  Examining the lesson plan entitled “Critical Analysis of Evolution”, in the “five aspects of evolution” in attachment A, the brief challenging sample answers read just like stock creationist responses [2].  By adopting such material, the board is tacitly endorsing such fallacious arguments.  Surely the Board must have seen the letter signed by the Presidents of Ohio's public universities. Surely the board must have seen the poll of Ohio scientists demonstrating their resounding support for the teaching of evolution.  If any of the board members do not understand why those “challenging” sample answers are erroneous, then please, ask one of your own scientists to explain it.  It all comes down to an issue of trust.  Who can the Ohio board of education trust if not the consensus of Ohio’s own scientists?

[2] (pages 326-328)

  1 replies since Feb. 16 2004,23:30 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  


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