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M E M O R A N D U M

To:          The Public   
From:      Jody Sjogren, Manager, IDnet of Ohio and Managing Director
Date:       December 11, 2002

Subject Ohio Science Standards Vote on December 10, 2002


The Ohio State School Board received public testimony on the Science Standards this morning (Tuesday, Dec. 10) and then voted to adopt the standards with no changes to the language in the indicator/benchmark which says that students will "describe how scientists continue to investigate and
critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory."  Before the vote, standards committee co-chair Joe Roman introduced an amendment/addition to both the indicator and the benchmark which clarifies the Board's intent. The amendment appears immediately after the language in the indicator and
benchmark, and it reads: "The intent of this indicator/benchmark does not mandate the teaching or testing of intelligent design."

The State School Board voted unanimously (18-0) to approve the amendment, and then voted unanimously (18-0) to adopt the Science Standards as they are written, with the amendment.

This amendment essentially reiterates what the sponsors of the language (Deborah Owens Fink, Michael Cochran, and James Turner) explained back in October, and it does nothing to change the original intent that students should know how scientists critically analyze aspects of evolutionary
theory.  The amendment was added because some of the pro-evolution board members were concerned that this language would be misinterpreted to mean that students would be taught and tested on I.D. (which was not the case anyway, but this compromise apparently alleviated their concerns).

From our perspective, this amendment has some positive aspects and no real negative aspects.  First, the amendment does not weaken the "teach the controversy" intent of the indicator/benchmark, and this is good.  Second, the amendment does not prohibit the teaching of alternative theories, it
only states that teaching of I.D. is not mandated and students will not be tested on I.D.  At the same time, this implies a permissive attitude toward the teaching of I.D., so that teachers who want to and feel able to teach alternative theories should be able to do so.  Thirdly, by mentioning intelligent design specifically, the amendment gives I.D. some legitimacy.


In a serendipitous kind of way, it puts I.D. in the Ohio Science Standards.  Recalling the three points of our Teach-the-Controversy approach, suggested by Stephen Meyer at the March 11 Forum here in Columbus, we were asking that the Ohio Science Standards would

 1)  Mandate that students learn the scientific evidence for and against biological evolution
 2)  Permit, but not require, students to learn about alternative scientific theories, such as intelligent    design
 3)  Enact a definition of science that allows for logical explanations for phenomena in nature.

All three points of this proposal were met by the standards that were adopted.

Point #1 is met by the indicator/benchmark which says that students will "describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory."

Point #2 is met by the clarifying language, "The intent of this indicator/benchmark does not mandate the teaching or testing of intelligent design."

Point #3 is met by the defintion of science, which reads "Science is a systematic method of continuing investigation, based on observation, hypothesis testing, measurement, experimentation, and theory building, which leads to more adequate explanations of natural phenomena."

THANKS TO OUR OHIO SCIENTISTS WHO TESTIFIED DURING THE PUBLIC COMMENTS!!!!

We had an outstanding representation from our Ohio Scientist group this morning in the public comments session.  Of the 20 people who gave testimony to the School Board, 15 spoke in favor of teaching the controversy (TTC) and 6 were in favor of evolution-only.  Of the 15 in favor of TTC, ten of these were from our Ohio Scientist group!!! Each one did an excellent and professional presentation, keeping within the two-and-a-half minute time limit and urging the Board to adopt the standards without change to the language ("Describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory")  Hats off to these well-spoken
scientists:

Robert Lattimer, Ph.D. (industrial chemist)
Larry Lytle, M.D. (internal medicine/private practice)
Patrick Young, Ph.D. (analytical chemist)
Al Gotch, Ph.D. (chemist/department chair)
Glen Needham, Ph.D. (entomologist)
Ryan James, Ph.D. (analytical chemist)
Jerry Johnson, Ph.D. (toxicologist)
Mark Swanson, Ph.D. (biochemist)
Gerald Chubb, Ph.D. (aeronautical engineer/professor)
Robert DiSilvestro, Ph.D. (biochemist)

The president and members of the Ohio State School Board were impressed with the level of professionalism shown by these scientists in their testimonies.

Respectfully submitted,

Jody Sjogren, M.S.
Director, Intelligent Design Network - Ohio Division


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