Design network, inc.
P.O. Box 14702, Shawnee Mission, Kansas
(913) 268-0852; (913)-268-0852 (fax); IDnet@att.net
December 11, 2002
STATE BOARD ADOPTS
SCIENCE STANDARDS THAT PERMIT THE DISCUSSION OF INTELLIGENT DESIGN
Contact: Intelligent Design network, inc.
John Calvert, Managing Director, 913-268-0852
Jody Sjogren, 614-485-8000
Shawnee Mission, KS -
IDnet congratulates the Ohio State Board of Education on its handling of
a major scientific controversy about teaching biological origins in public
The issue has been watched by the world because of the profound implications
for science, philosophy, and religion, which are inherent in the study of biological
evolution and the origin of life.
The key controversy was whether state standards should, on the one hand, promote
an "Evolution Only" concept that would restrict criticisms of evolution
and censor the discussion of competing scientific theories of origins. Or, whether
the standards should take a more objective approach
that would permit schools to teach, rather than to suppress, the controversy.
On December 11, 2002,
the Board voted 18 - 0 for objectivity and academic freedom and against
censorship of competing scientific views. This action followed over
a year of deliberations and important fact finding.
The key action taken by the Board involved the replacement of a naturalistic
definition of science with a logical definition that is consistent with the
The definition adopted was: "Recognize that science is a systematic
method of continuing investigation, based on observation, hypothesis testing,
experimentation, and theory building, which leads to more adequate explanations
of natural phenomena."
The naturalistic definition that IDnet had opposed, that was offered by the
Ohio Science Writing Team and that was rejected by the Board was: "Recognize
that scientific knowledge is limited to natural explanations for natural phenomena
based on evidence from our senses or technological extensions."
The second positive action taken was the Board's adoption of a new Life Sciences
indicator and benchmark that states: "Describe how scientists continue
to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory." This
necessarily challenges students and teachers to confront and
openly discuss the scientific controversies that surround biological evolution.
This is designed to open rather than to shut minds about an issue that is important
to science, religion and culture.
The Board also added the following clarifying statement to the benchmark
and indicator: "The intent of this indicator does not mandate the teaching
or testing of Intelligent Design." This has major significance since the
implication of the statement is that the "teaching or testing of intelligent
design," is permitted.
While commending the State Board for substantially implementing an objective,
teach-the-scientific-controversy proposal, we also note that the language in
the evolutionary theory sections is still problematic in numerous places. In
many cases aspects of evolutionary theory that are in fact controversial are
presented as factual or as the only viable explanation. Also, we believe it
is critical that standards and curricula explicitly require an appropriate
disclosure of material assumptions and a discussion of the subjectivity that
is inherent in origins science due to
its historical character.
Intelligent Design network,
inc. is a member based nonprofit organization. IDnet promotes evidence-based
science education with regard to the origin of the universe and of
life and its diversity. It also seeks to increase public awareness
of the scientific evidence of intelligent design in the universe and
Intelligent Design is
a scientific theory that intelligent causes are responsible for the
origin of the universe and of life and its diversity. It holds that
design is empirically detectable in nature, and particularly in living
systems. Intelligent Design is an intellectual movement that includes
a scientific research program for investigating intelligent causes
and that challenges naturalistic explanations of origins which currently
drive science education and research.