View Full Version : Dover Voters Oust Intelligent Design Supporting School Board

11-09-2005, 01:28 PM
Dover voters oust intelligent design supporters
As federal trial continues, 8 school board members lose their seats


Updated: 10:37 a.m. ET Nov. 9, 2005

DOVER, Pa. - Voters came down hard Tuesday on school board members who backed a statement on intelligent design being read in biology class, ousting eight Republicans and replacing them with Democrats who want the concept stripped from the science curriculum.

The election unfolded amid a landmark federal trial involving the Dover public schools and the question of whether intelligent design promotes the Bible’s view of creation. Eight Dover families sued, saying it violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

Dover’s school board adopted a policy in October 2004 that requires ninth-graders to hear a prepared statement about intelligent design before learning about evolution in biology class.

Eight of the nine school board members were up for election Tuesday. They were challenged by a slate of Democrats who argued that science class was not the appropriate forum for teaching intelligent design.

“My kids believe in God. I believe in God. But I don’t think it belongs in the science curriculum the way the school district is presenting it,” said Jill Reiter, 41, a bank teller who joined a group of high school students waving signs supporting the challengers Tuesday.

A spokesman for the winning slate of candidates has said they wouldn’t act hastily and would consider the outcome of the court case. The judge expects to rule by January; the new school board members will be sworn in Dec. 5.

School board member David Napierskie, who lost Tuesday, said the vote wasn’t just about ideology.

“Some people felt intelligent design shouldn’t be taught and others were concerned about having tax money spent on the lawsuit,” he said.

Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by some kind of higher force. The statement read to students says Charles Darwin’s theory is “not a fact” and has inexplicable “gaps.”

A similar controversy has erupted in Kansas, where the state Board of Education on Tuesday approved science standards for public schools that cast doubt on the theory of evolution. The 6-4 vote was a victory for intelligent design advocates who helped draft the standards.

© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

11-09-2005, 01:32 PM

11-09-2005, 01:38 PM
On the other side of the spectrum...

Kansas State Board Votes to Teach Intelligent Design in Schools


Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) -- The Kansas State Board of Education approved a proposal to teach intelligent design along with evolution as a scientific explanation of how life began.

The board voted 6 to 4 in favor of the guidelines, which say schools should teach that doubt exists about the validity of evolution, a theory that originated with British biologist Charles Darwin in the nineteenth century.

The debate about teaching intelligent design, which says life is too complex to have happened through evolution, has led to a federal lawsuit in Pennsylvania and the introduction of legislation in Michigan. President George W. Bush told a group of reporters visiting the White House on Aug. 1 that the theory should be taught alongside evolution, according to Knight Ridder.

Board Chairman Steve Abrams and members John Bacon, Kenneth Willard, Kathy Martin, Connie Morris and Iris Van Meter voted in favor of the guidelines, said Nicole Corcoran, a spokeswoman for Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius. The issue was raised by these members amid an effort to overhaul the Kansas school system that began in February 2001.

Janet Waugh, Sue Gamble, Bill Wagnon and Carol Rupe opposed it. The board members didn't immediately return e-mail requests seeking comment.

The move drew immediate criticism from Sebelius, a Democrat.

``This is just the latest in a series of troubling decisions by the Board of Education,'' Sebelius said in a statement e-mailed to reporters. ``If we're going to continue to bring high-tech jobs to Kansas and move our state forward, we need to strengthen science standards, not weaken them.''

Opponents of intelligent design, including the National Academy of Sciences and the National Association of Biology Teachers, say the theory is an offshoot of the Biblical story of creation in which God made the world in six days.

The National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Teachers Association said in a joint declaration on Oct. 27 that the Kansas board has specifically targeted evolution.

``The use of the word controversial to suggest there are flaws in evolution is confusing to students and the public and is entirely misleading,'' they said in a statement. ``While there may be disagreements among scientists about the exact processes, the theory of evolution has withstood the test of time and new evidence from many scientific disciplines only further support this robust scientific theory.''

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings' office had no comment on the issue, said spokeswoman Susan Aspey. She said the board's decision was a local affair and the federal education department wouldn't get involved.

Setting Standards
The proposal before the Kansas board doesn't aim to promote intelligent design, according to documents on the education board's Web site.

``The curriculum standards call for students to learn about the best evidence for modern evolutionary theory, but also to learn about areas where scientists are raising scientific criticism of the theory,'' the proposal said. ``While the testimony presented at the science hearings included many advocates of Intelligent Design, these standards neither mandate nor prohibit teaching about this scientific disagreement.''

Wayne Carley, executive director of the 7,500-teacher National Association of Biology Teachers in Reston, Virginia, rejects the Kansas measure.

``They are undermining the education of their students,'' Carley said in a telephone interview. ``Intelligent design is a version of creationism and is clearly a religious doctrine and not a scientific principle, theory or even a hypothesis.''

The fight to inject intelligent design into science curriculum isn't going to stop in Kansas, said Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education at a press conference today in Topeka. The conference was sponsored by the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, which describes itself as a group with 25,000 members that wants to combat the religious right, spokeswoman Jessica Smith said.

``This action is likely the playbook of creationism for the next several years,'' Scott said. ``We predict this fight taking place not only on the state level but on the local level as well.''

11-09-2005, 01:43 PM
Not so classic