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FWD:TheBeagle: Anti-science in Ohio

This was on the darwinia list... thought I might pass it on for those in the Ohio area and are interested.


"Vir sapit qui puaca loquitur."

Subject: TheBeagle: Anti-science in Ohio

Who Is Behind the Push for Intelligent Design in Ohio Science

A group called Science Education for All Ohioans (SEAO:
www.sciohio.org) is pressuring the Ohio Board of Education to
revise science standards to include Òintelligent designÓ
objections to evolution. SEAO is also advocating Ohio House
Bill 484, requiring that science education standards pertaining to
evolution be voted on by both houses, and House Bill 481,
requiring the teaching of a diversity of opinions about Òorigins
science.Ó These measures are specifically designed to
encourage presentation of anti-evolutionist material, in particular
ÒIntelligent DesignÓ (ID) arguments. According to HB 481, in
order to Òenhance the effectiveness of science education and to
promote academic freedom and the neutrality of state
government with respect to teachings that touch religious and
nonreligious beliefs, it is necessary and desirable that Ôorigins
science,Õ which seeks to explain the origins of life and its
diversity, be conducted and taught objectively and without
religious, naturalistic, or philosophic bias or assumption.Ó

Previous efforts to mandate teaching of creationism have been
thwarted as unconstitutional imposition of non-scientific
religious beliefs into science curricula, so the current effort
portrays Òintelligent designÓ as purely scientific and
non-religious. However the groups lobbying for inclusion of ID in
Ohio science standards and supporting House Bills 481 and
484 are all religiousÑin fact sectarian and Christian
fundamentalist. The primary intent of these efforts is narrowly
religious, not scientific or educational, and if implemented would
result in intrusion of religious beliefs of Òsupernatural causesÓ
into science classrooms.

SEAO describes itself as Òa project of the American Family
Association of OhioÓ (AFAO: www.afaohio.org). AFAO is explicitly
religious, a ÒmissionaryÓ group dedicated to promoting ÒBiblical
valuesÓ and ÒScriptural principles.Ó

AFAO is listed as a state affiliate of the national AFA. The AFA
website includes Eric BuehrerÕs article ÒEvolving Science
EducationÓ (www.afa.net/education/eb030201.asp#), which
advocates the teaching of ÒDesign TheoryÓ as a counter to

Don Wildmon, founder and president of the national American
Family Association, is also a member of the Coalition on Revival
(COR). AFA Ohio endorses and reprints the COR Christian
World View Documents. The COR document ÒScience and
TechnologyÓ lists Duane Gish of the Institute for Creation
Research as chairman. Robert Simonds, co-chairman of the
COR document on ÒEducation,Ó is well known as head of the
National Center of Christian Educators (NACE) and for his efforts
to help conservative Christians take over school boards across
the nation.

COR founding member Tim LaHaye was co-founder, with Henry
Morris, of the California fundamentalist college of which the
Institute for Creation Research is a spin-off, and he is co-author
of the best-selling apocalyptic Left Behind fundamentalist novel

AFAO is headed by Barry Sheets of Canal Winchester. Sheets is
also paid legislative assistant of Ohio State House
representative Twyla Roman, (R, Akron), a sponsor of both HB
481 and HB 484. SheetsÕ AFAO promotes and distributes
Jonathan SarfatiÕs book Refuting Evolution.

Sarfati is a key figure at Answers in Genesis (
www.answersingenesis.org ), a young-earth creationist group
dedicated to Òproclaiming the authority of the Bible.Ó The U.S.
headquarters of Answers in Genesis (there is an Australian
branch) is headquartered just south of Cincinnati in Florence,
Kentucky, and is led by Ken Ham, formerly of the Institute for
Creation Research. Ham, who wrote the foreword to SarfatiÕs
book, also writes books such as The Lie: Evolution that
denounce evolution as unscientific, literally Satanic propaganda.

Refuting Evolution is published by Master Books,
book-publishing arm of the Institute for Creation Research, the
worldÕs best-known center for Òcreation-scienceÓ and Biblical
creationism, and home of famed creationist leaders Henry
Morris (author of Scientific Creationism; Biblical Creationism;
Biblical Basis of Modern Science, etc.) and master debater
Duane Gish (Evolution: The Fossils Say No!).

SarfatiÕs Refuting Evolution is also praised by the Young Earth
Creation Club of Gahanna, Ohio ( www.creationists.org/), which
advocates inclusion of ÒscientificÓ arguments against evolution in
school curricula, insisting that these be presented to students or
evolution not be mentioned at all. The Young Earth Creation
Club of Ohio recommends the Institute for Creation Research
and Answers in Genesis for advice about dealing with the Board
of Education. Their website reprints an entire chapter from
Refuting Evolution.

For information contact Ohio Citizens for Science at
www.ohioscience.org , or call
Patricia Princehouse, 216-368-2810, pmp7@cwru.edu
@cwru.edu> ; or Pamela Keiper 216-231-4600, ext 211.