Ohio Academy of Sciences Criticized for Scare Tactics on Evolution

Staff
Discovery Institute
February 24, 2004

Ohio Academy of Sciences Criticized for Scare Tactics on Evolution

SEATTLE, FEB. 24 — The leadership of the Ohio Academy of Sciences (OAS) was sharply criticized today by Discovery Institute for trying to censor Ohio's new science curriculum on evolution through a campaign of fear and innuendo.

"The OAS leadership's scare campaign is more science fiction than science," said Bruce Chapman, President of Discovery Institute, the nation's leading think tank dealing with scientific challenges to neo-Darwinism.

Chapman was responding to a letter sent Monday to Ohio Gov. Bob Taft by OAS President Robert Heath. Heath urged Taft to pressure members of the Ohio State Board of Education to kill a model lesson plan on the "Critical Analysis of Evolution."

Heath alleged that adopting the lesson plan would result in the teaching of "creationism or Intelligent Design," and further claimed that the lesson plan was part of a plot by "fundamentalist Christian organizations" and supporters of intelligent design theory "to inject fundamentalist Christian beliefs into education."

Those charges were refuted by Dr. John West, Associate Director of Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. "The lesson plan does not even mention creationism. And the only time it cites intelligent design is in the following disclaimer reprinted directly from Ohio's science standards: 'The intent of this benchmark does not mandate the teaching or testing of intelligent design.'"

"Only in an Orwellian world could a statement about NOT mandating intelligent design be turned into the exact opposite," added West.

West urged reporters and citizens to read the lesson plan for themselves rather than rely on spin by the leadership of the OAS.

"Contrary to the OAS, the real focus of the lesson plan is to teach students more about evolution, including criticisms made in peer-reviewed science journals over major parts of evolutionary theory," said West.

For example, said West, the lesson plan has students explore debates over the fossil record and investigate different scientific views about whether microevolutionary processes (such as the development of anti-biotic resistance in bacteria) lead to macroevolution.

Regarding the OAS's hysterical claim that the lesson plan is part of a fundamentalist plot, West added: "What will OAS leaders claim next? That the lesson plan is pushed by people who want to burn witches? Such scare-tactics only serve to discredit the OAS leadership."

To speak with a spokesperson for Discovery Institute contact Rob Crowther at (206) 292-0401 x107 or by e-mail at rob@discovery.org.



About the Center for Science and Culture
Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture is the nation's leading think tank and research center examining scientific challenges to Darwinian evolution. Discovery Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, public-policy, think tank which promotes ideas in the common sense tradition of representative government, the free market and individual liberty. Current projects include: technology, the economy, regional transportation, and the bi-national region of "Cascadia." http://www.discovery.org/