“This is a completely outrageous slap in the face to the 69% of Ohioans just polled who said they want students to hear the scientific evidence for and against Darwin’s theory,” said John G. West, associate director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture. “Most people want students to learn the evidence critical of Darwinism, as well as the evidence that supports it, rather than just teaching Darwin’s theory as if it were sacred dogma.”
According to early reports, Ohio’s state board of education today asked a sub-committee to craft new language for the state’s science standards, replacing the requirement that students learn “how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.”
“Darwin-only activists are dumbing down the teaching of evolution and stopping science learning,” said Casey Luskin, program officer for public policy and legal affairs at Discovery Institute. “This is nothing more than a gag order on science, a dogmatic approach to education that restricts students from learning about evolution.”
“Who would have thought that simply questioning and analyzing a scientific theory would be banned in schools anywhere in America,” asked Luskin. “Are we now going to enter an age when there is an outright ban on saying anything against Darwin or his theory? Unfortunately it looks as if Darwinist censorship of science is spreading.”
In the wake of a Judge’s ruling last year banning intelligent design in Dover, Pennsylvania schools, activists opposed to teaching the controversy about Darwinian evolution have used the threat of lawsuits to pressure the board to repeal state science standards and the model lesson plan, “Critical Analysis of Evolution.”
“The ruling in Dover banning intelligent design clearly has no relevance for Ohio,” said Luskin. “Ohio is not teaching intelligent design, making this a completely different issue. That was merely a ploy for Darwinists to keep students from learning about the evidence challenging Darwin’s theory.”
Ohio’s “Critical Analysis of Evolution” model lesson plan was created to implement a benchmark in the Ohio state science standards. The lesson plan does not discuss religion, and explicitly says it does not include intelligent design. Created with input from a science advisory committee that included teachers, science educators, and scientists from across Ohio, the lesson plan was defended by a number of scientists in public testimony before the state board of education adopted it in 2004.
“This completely flies in the face of what the vast majority of Ohioans want according to a Zogby poll released earlier this week,” said Luskin. “That poll showed 69% of people in Ohio want students to learn both the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinism.”