Intelligent Design Update

Ken AshfordEducation, GodstuffLeave a Comment

I was going to do a good news/bad news post, but Tristero at Hullabaloo beat me.  What follows is (mostly) his:

Win Some, Lose Some

Good news:

All eight members up for re-election to the [Dover] Pennsylvania school board that had been sued for introducing the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in biology class were swept out of office yesterday by a slate of challengers who campaigned against the intelligent design policy.


The election will not alter the facts on which the judge must decide the case. But if the intelligent design policy is defeated in court, the new school board could refuse to pursue an appeal. It could also withdraw the policy, a step that many challengers said they intended to take.

"We are all for it being discussed, but we do not want to see it in biology class," said Judy McIlvaine, a member of the winning slate. "It is not a science."

Bad news:

The fiercely split Kansas Board of Education voted 6 to 4 on Tuesday to adopt new science standards that are the most far-reaching in the nation in challenging Darwin’s theory of evolution in the classroom.


Among the most controversial changes was a redefinition of science itself, so that it would not be explicitly limited to natural explanations.


"This is a sad day, not just for Kansas kids, but for Kansas," Janet Waugh of Kansas City, Kan., one of four dissenting board members, said before the vote. "We’re becoming a laughingstock not only of the nation but of the world."


In the standing-room-only crowd in the small board room for Tuesday’s session were two dozen high school students fulfilling an assignment for government class by attending the public meeting. They shook their heads at the decision.

"We’re glad we’re seniors," said Hannah Teeter, 17, from Shawnee Mission West, a high school in Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City. "I feel bad for all the kids that are younger than us that they have to be taught things that aren’t science in science class."

The Kansas story is both amusing and sad.  A school board redefines what "science" is?

I’m going to run for school board and redefine "algebra" as the giving out of candy . . . to me.

UPDATE:  Crooked Timber has the same idea:

According to CNN, in addition to mandating that students be told that some basic Darwinian ideas “have been challenged in recent years by fossil evidence and molecular biology,” the board also decided to help themselves to a bit more, too:

In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.

Priceless. Unfortunately they didn’t adopt my suggestion that science be further redefined to include sitting at home drinking a beer and watching the game on TV. This would have greatly enhanced my weekend contributions to science.

But seriously, folks, religious liberal Amy Sullivan weighs the Dover, PA and Kansas stories . . . and is, on the whole, optimistic:

Dover is not some bastion of liberal politics; it’s more like Kansas than parts of Kansas are. If I had to make a prediction, I’d say that’s a better indication of where the intelligent design fight is going than the Kansas decision. It’s not a court striking down intelligent design, but voters taking matters into their own hands and deciding enough is enough.