Tuesday, August 19, 2014

All not quiet on the Midwestern Front

One of the reasons I started blogging was in response to some of the anti-science activities here in Ohio a few years ago.  I guess things have been too quiet to suit Creationists because the war on science has reared its ugly head again.  Cleveland.com is reporting that a bill designed to remove the Common Core education standards will also have the impact of not prohibiting Creationism/Intelligent Design in the classroom.  Here's the article I caught this afternoon: "Common Core opposition bill won't limit foreign authors -- or teaching of creationism and 'intelligent design'

Now before I actually read the article, I noticed a little sideline on the page.  You might have spotted it as well, "Common Core is bad for students and teachers: Kelly Kohls, school board member, activist".  I'm not sure if you remember Kelly.  She was the president of the Springboro Ohio school board when they flirted with the idea of Creationism.  The Dayton Daily News had this article.  Kelly said

“Creationism is a significant part of the history of this country,”  . . . “It is an absolutely valid theory and to omit it means we are omitting part of the history of this country.”
That would immediately make me think there was something very right with the common core science standards.  Anyone else read Catch-22 by Joseph Heller?  You might know the part I am thinking about -- when an insane psychiatrist declares you as sane, are you?  To paraphrase, when an avowed Creationist declares the common core science standards bad, are they? 

In my opinion adopting a common core set of standards would annoy someone like Kelly because it would make it harder for a local school board to inject Creationism/Intelligent Design into the science curriculum.  Imagine how hard it would have been for certain members of the Dover PA School Board to push their religious agenda if the common core science standards had been in place.  It might have saved that school system some money and not been such a time waster or generated such negative publicity for Dover.  But then again, the fact the court case went the way it did might well be a silver lining.  As it was, Kelly and her supporters on the board didn't make much headway and eventually less evangelical board members were elected and sanity reigned.  Kelly herself 'retired' from the board and ran unsuccessfully for the State Senate.

OK, now back to this article.  The National Center for Science Education also reported on this new Ohio bill.  They noted this from the article the same points I saw when I read it::
" . . . prohibit political or religious interpretation of scientific facts in favor of another." Thompson said that clause prevents teachers and schools from only presenting one side of a political and scientific debate -- global warming, for example -- without also presenting the other side."
That pretty much says it all. Not only would it make it easy for Creationism/Intelligent Design to be brought into the classroom, it sounds like it would be mandatory to present it -- even though it's a political and cultural debate, not a scientific debate. Plus, as I am sure Kelly likes, the bill's sponsor makes it very clear that it
"the bill gives districts and teachers the freedom to teach religious interpretations of scientific issues as they deem best."
 I'm working on an email to my State Representatives in hopes this bill will die the nice quiet death it deserves.  But even if the death isn't so quiet, as long as it does before dragging the whole state into another round of 'Let's be Fair and teach both sides', 'Teach the controversy', or 'Evolution, it's only a Theory', like we were in 2002.

1 comment:

  1. I just sent this to OH State Rep Rick Peralse. If I get any response, I'll post them as well.

    "I would like to voice my opposition to HB 597. I believe the wording of this bill will not just allow, but encourage local school boards, teachers, and even parent-teachers organizations to force the introduction of clearly religious and other unscientific concepts into the science classroom as if it was actually science.

    Ohio went through this a few years back when the State Board had several Creationists and they attempted to undermine science education by first trying to bring in Creationism and later attempted to bring in the equally religious-based idea called 'Intelligent Design'. These concepts are not science and should never be taught as if they were science. In 2005 the school board of Dover PA went through a lengthy trial that ruled Creationism is not science and doesn't belong in the science classroom as if it was science. It also ruled that Intelligent Design is Creationism is a slightly different guise.

    A few years back Intelligent Design Proponents gave the Ohio State Board a bibliography of 44 papers and claimed they cast doubt on the scientific theory of Evolution. The National Center for Science Education discovered that they basically lied and when the authors of those papers were contacted they said their work did not cast doubt on Evolution nor did they express support for Creationism/Intelligent Design. Later the ID proponents added a disclaimer to their bibliography -- but not until their deception was uncovered.

    I believe this bill will not serve the interests of students in Ohio, it will dilute science education and open the doors for any non-scientific subject to have to be treated equal to actual science. I do not want Creationism in Biology class, Numerology in Mathematics, nor Astrology in Astronomy and that is exactly what this bill will encourage!

    Thank you for your attention."