Ohio Education Board Reverses Course on Promoting 'Intelligent-Design' Creationism

Article excerpt

The Ohio Board of Education Feb. 14 voted 11-4 to remove "intelligent design" from state science standards, heading off for now threatened legal action by Americans United.

Attorneys with Americans United have repeatedly urged the board to drop its promotion of science standards that singled out evolution for so-called "critical analysis." The standards also included a lesson plan that AU and other critics charged would have allowed the study of intelligent design and given misleading information about the validity of evolution.

Americans United, which had worked with the pro-evolution group Ohio Citizens for Science, welcomed the board's action. "This is a great victory for Ohio public school students," said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "The board had conflated religion with science in a manner that poorly served the young people of Ohio."

The vote came about five weeks after Ohio Gov. Bob Taft surprised political observers in the state by coming out strongly against teaching ID. Although Taft appointed some of the board members pushing ID, he said Feb. 5 he does not support dumbing down instruction about evolution in Ohio's schools.

"There were cases in which I didn't ask the right questions, in some cases where I supported someone for election or appointment," Taft told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Taft added, "I think we ought to be teaching evolution. I think intelligent design should not be part of the standards and should not be tested."

Critics charged that the Ohio standards, while not mentioning intelligent design directly, promoted creationist concepts by calling for "critical analysis" of evolution, a frequent goal of creationists who insist that the biblical account in Genesis is scientifically accurate. …