What exactly is Dover design? Far from intelligent

The York Daily Record is reporting on the first ever reading of a statement about intelligent design to Dover School District ninth graders in biology classes. The story raises the issue of whether or not students are even learning about intelligent design theory, and seems to conclude that they are not. According to YDR the statement read to students says i part: “Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin’s views. The school leaves the discussion of the origins of life to individual students and their families.” One has to wonder why the ACLU and others are so upset that someone read a statement saying that there are other viewpoints. Intelligent design is never Read More ›

Ever evolving textbook sticker issue

Scrappleface.com has skewered last week’s federal court ruling on Cobb Co.’s textbook disclaimers with a clever bit of satire. “U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper ruled that the old labels could “confuse” public school students, who are not accustomed to thinking critically.” Indeed! The Scrapplers report that the newly evolved stickers now in textbooks read: “This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a fact, not a theory, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with childlike trust, accepted obediently and defended vigorously against the attacks of ignorant monotheists.” Read the entire ScrappleFace satire here (and yes, the Cooper quotations are pure fiction).

After Court Ruling, Students Can STILL Think Critically

The rather confusing “[e]volution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things” language proved a primary component in the undoing of the textbook sticker at issue in Selman v. Cobb County School District — decided yesterday in an opinion handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Cooper. Pessimism about the outcome peppered my previous post about this case (see here, where you can also find the sticker’s text). Yet, a genuine understanding of the case requires attention to the details of the Judge’s opinion, and it is important to keep in mind some of the most positive aspects of the ruling. (Important critiques of portions of the Judge’s opinion will follow in a subsequent posting, Read More ›

Will ACLU Science Censorship Efforts Succeed in Court?

With nearly two months since closing arguments in Selman vs. Cobb County School District (North Atlanta, GA), the public awaits the decision of United States District Judge Clarence Cooper. At issue in the case is the school board’s adoption of the following sticker (drafted by the school district’s attorney): This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered. This seemingly innocuous, lawyer-drafted disclaimer may not be a satisfying statement about the scientific controversy over biological evolution and the chemical origin-of-life from a technical standpoint, yet it is bizarre to think that the sticker would amount to Read More ›

Kansas to review science standards

The Kansas State Board of Education will take up science education when it reviews standards and policies for teaching evolution. A group of scientists and educators, who are members of the science standards writing committee, have submitted proposed revisions that would follow in the footsteps of Ohio, Minnesota and New Mexico and require students to learn both the strengths as well as the weaknesses of Darwin’s theory. One can only hope that the media take the time to actually read the proposed revisions, and don’t just resort to rehashing the stereotypes that so dominated the media when this was an issue in Kansas in 2000. The proponents of these proposed revisions have set up their own website: www.kansasscience2005.com.