Ohio Board Undoes Stand on Evolution – New York Times (free subscription required)
The Ohio Board of Education voted 11 to 4 Tuesday to toss out a mandate that 10th-grade biology classes include critical analysis of evolution and an accompanying model lesson plan…
Okay… this makes no sense to me. What is the problem with a critical analysis of evolution? Is the case for evolution so bad that it can’t withstand critical analysis?
What is science, anyway, but systematic, critical analysis?
Emphasis added below:
“This lesson is bad news, the ‘critically analyze’ wording is bad news,” Martha W. Wise, the board member who offered the emergency motion, told her colleagues during 90 minutes of contentious debate here Tuesday afternoon. “It is deeply unfair to the children of this state to mislead them about the nature of science.”
Whoa. Back up the truck. First of all, this deserved an emergency motion? Pure political maneuvering:
Michael Cochran, one of three lawyers on the 19-member board, criticized Mrs. Wise’s supporters as undoing a lengthy process that had led to adoption of the standards with an emergency motion on an afternoon that four members, three of whom support the lesson, were absent.
“It is absolutely disgraceful that we’ve had this for three years, and we can’t wait another month,” Mr. Cochran said. “I think that’s by design. Not intelligent design, but by design.”
Second, how is teaching critical analysis, the foundation of science, “mislead[ing] them about the nature of science”?!?! Misleading?! Holy cow, that’s a whole new type of stupid.
When I first read this, I was dumbfounded for a few minutes. How could anyone say that teaching kids to question theories is a bad thing? Further, how could anyone get hung up on the phrase “critical analysis” as the root of the problem?
Plus, last time I checked, evolution was far from proven. It’s still a theory, though a well-regarded one. To my mind, that means we should be even more aware of its holes, poking and prodding at it until it either collapses or is finally proven. That, at its core, is what science is all about! Come up with a hypothesis (theory) and then try to disprove it: look it up â€” that’s the “scientific method.”
I am flabbergasted that the Ohio school board would hold such a dim view of science. It’s ironic that the board probably thinks it is protecting science with this foolishness. All they are doing is taking a huge step backward.