Evolving standards: Intelligent Design advocates ask Ohio to broaden origins discussion in public schools

Opponents say the movement is trying to do an end run around science
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Ohio has become the latest front in the national battle over the teaching of origins in public schools. Advocates of Intelligent Design (ID) theory are urging the Ohio State Board of Education to allow high school science teachers to present design theory alongside evolution. The board will vote on new guidelines in December.

Intelligent Design theory says that the complexity of plant and animal life suggests that a higher intelligence, rather than evolution, brought them into being. It does not attempt to name the intelligence.

William Dembski, author of The Design Inference, told Christianity Today that a challenge to evolution based on scientific rather than religious principles would "puncture [evolution's] myth of invincibility." Dembski is associate research professor in the conceptual foundations of science at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Phillip Johnson, a lawyer and author of Darwin on Trial, agrees. "The important thing is the recognition by a state board of education that freedom of thought and freedom of speech apply to this subject," Johnson told CT.

The debate in Ohio has intensified as the vote approaches. Lawrence Krauss, chairman of the physics department at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, says the idea is "poorly formulated" and has not been scrutinized in scientific journals. "It's been promoted by people who have philosophical leanings and wish to disguise them as science," Krauss told CT.

Ohio would be the first state to add ID to its science standards, although similar debates have arisen in Kansas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Nebraska. The state's current standards call for science students to study "changes over time."

The science standards were up for a routine review when Robert Lattimer, ...

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