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Evolution vs. Intelligent Design : Chesterfield School Board takes up debate on theories of life.
Richmond.com ^ | 06/05/2007 | Donna Gregory

Posted on 06/08/2007 10:45:45 AM PDT by SirLinksalot

How were the oceans, puppies and human beings formed? Was it through evolution, creationism or something in between?

It's a heavy topic that's generated debate for years. That discourse landed in Chesterfield School Board members' laps recently when they set about adopting new science textbooks for middle and high schools.

At issue was the concept of intelligent design, and why none of the proposed textbooks offered an alternative to evolution for how the universe came to be.

Intelligent design proponents urged the School Board to include that theory in the school system's science curriculum so students can consider differing viewpoints in the classroom. But, federal law requires school systems to remain neutral on the topic, making it illegal for teachers to prompt discussions involving intelligent design or creationism.

In the end, members unanimously approved the proposed textbooks, but issued a formal statement saying, "It is the School Board's belief that this topic, along with all other topics that raise differences of thought and opinion, should receive the thorough and unrestricted study as we have just articulated. Accordingly, we direct our superintendent to charge those of our professionals who support curriculum development and implementation with the responsibility to investigate and develop processes that encompass a comprehensive approach to the teaching and learning of these topics."

(To read the School Board's complete statement, visit www.chesterfieldobserver. com and click on the link for "special" in the menu on the left.)

Superintendent Marcus Newsome was also asked to ensure teachers are aware of federal laws regarding any discussions of religion in the classroom. Currently, any discussions of creationism or intelligent design must be raised by students – not teachers – and teachers must remain neutral on the topic.

But some proponents of intelligent design who spoke before the School Board last week believe limiting discussions to evolution is anything but neutral.

"Our children are not being educated; they are being indoctrinated," said Cathleen Waagner. "Let the evidence speak for itself and let [the students] draw their own conclusions."

Another speaker, Michael Slagle, presented a document containing 700 signatures of scientists worldwide who have questioned the validity of evolution.

"Students are being excluded from scientific debate. It's time to bring this debate into the classroom," he said.

On a personal level, some School Board members appeared to agree that discussions on the beginning of life should encompass more theories than just evolution. Dale District representative David Wyman said limiting discussions to evolution is "counterscientific" and said religious topics are already frequently touched on in classrooms. He cited the Declaration of Independence, the paintings in the Sistine Chapel and the Crusades as examples.

School Board Chairman Tom Doland stressed that students are not discouraged from discussing alternatives to evolution or any religious topic. "They do not leave their First Amendment rights at the door," he said.

"As individuals, as parents, we have the right to instruct our children, and we should never turn that over to someone else," he added.

Clover Hill District representative Dianne Pettitt reminded everyone that "teachers are agents of the government…Students are free to initiate discussions…but we do have to stay within the limits of the law. We cannot just do what we personally want to do."

Midlothian District representative Jim Schroeder said he didn't want those who attended the meeting to "walk out of here thinking, 'There goes the public schools kicking God out of the schools again.'"

"I believe God is the author of life, and I don't want anything taught in schools that denigrates that," he added.

Bermuda District representative Marshall Trammell Jr. was more cautious, saying he was afraid to have teachers deal with such issues in the classroom because they might infringe on students' personal religious beliefs.

"I don't want that in a public school," he said. "That is a matter for church and home."

Students will begin using the new textbooks this fall.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: chesterfield; crevo; evolution; fsmdidit; intelligentdesign; scienceeducation
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There's a new book out that seeks to improve the teaching of Evolution by the Inquiry-based approach. This will be based on arguments FOR and AGAINST Darwinism.

See here :

http://www.exploreevolution.com/

"The purpose of Explore Evolution, is to examine the scientific controversy about Darwin's theory, and in particular, the contemporary version of the theory known as neo-Darwinism. Whether you are a teacher, a student, or a parent, this book will help you understand what Darwin's theory of evolution is, why many scientists find it persuasive, and why other scientists question the theory or some key aspects of it.

Sometimes, scientists find that the same evidence can be explained in more than one way. When there are competing theories, reasonable people can (and do) disagree about which theory best explains the evidence. Furthermore, in the historical sciences, neither side can directly verify its claims about past events. Fortunately, even though we can't directly verify these claims, we can test them. How? First, we gather as much evidence as possible and look at it carefully. Then, we compare the competing theories in light of how well they explain the evidence.

Looking at the evidence and comparing the competing explanations will provide the most reliable path to discovering which theory, if any, gives the best account of the evidence at hand. In science, it is ultimately the evidence-and all of the evidence-that should tell us which theory offers the best explanation. This book will help you explore that evidence, and we hope it will stimulate your interest in these questions as you weigh the competing arguments"

1 posted on 06/08/2007 10:45:50 AM PDT by SirLinksalot
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To: SirLinksalot

If it’s a heavy topic that’s generated debate for years, then why the big fuss?


2 posted on 06/08/2007 10:52:39 AM PDT by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to.....otherwise, things would be different.)
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To: SirLinksalot
Liberal: The universe sprang from in infinitesimally small point called a singularity....

Conservative: We call that "And God said, "Let there be light and there was light".........

3 posted on 06/08/2007 10:53:43 AM PDT by Red Badger (Bite your tongue. It tastes a lot better than crow................)
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To: SirLinksalot
Strikes me as ironic that one of the trends in education is -- not to educate. For example, in Math class, when discussing division of fractions, many teachers do not "teach the algorithm" (they don't tell or show how to do the work). Instead, the allow the students to "discover it for themselves". Geometry is great this way -- Every 6th grader can be as wise as Euclid. Or not.

But in the area of Evolution, someone who says:

"Let the evidence speak for itself and let [the students] draw their own conclusions."

Is a reactionary who dares to indicate that there are people who question Evolution and its role in the origin of species. Letting students "draw their own conclusions" is (in this case) crippling them for life with a flawed ability to do science.

Uh huh. No urge to indoctrinate here. No sir.

4 posted on 06/08/2007 11:00:30 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Enoch Powell was right.)
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To: Red Badger

I never saw Evolution v. Creationism as a Liberal v. Conservative issue.

Do you have any evidence to support your theory or do you have data that show that most all scientists in the fields of geology, biology, chemistry and astronomy are liberals?


5 posted on 06/08/2007 11:01:24 AM PDT by trumandogz
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To: trumandogz

My theory?....I don’t have a theory......


6 posted on 06/08/2007 11:07:02 AM PDT by Red Badger (Bite your tongue. It tastes a lot better than crow................)
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To: Red Badger
I don’t have a theory......

Well that may be obvious.

Why do you think Evolution and Creation are liberal and conservative issues?

7 posted on 06/08/2007 11:12:47 AM PDT by trumandogz
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To: trumandogz
Why do you think Evolution and Creation are liberal and conservative issues?

They aren't.......

8 posted on 06/08/2007 11:15:50 AM PDT by Red Badger (Bite your tongue. It tastes a lot better than crow................)
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To: ClearCase_guy

So true. We seem to live in backwards land where the proven is taught as speculative, and the speculative is taught as proven.


9 posted on 06/08/2007 11:22:58 AM PDT by dan1123 (You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. --Jesus)
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To: trumandogz
do you have data that show that most all scientists in the fields of geology, biology, chemistry and astronomy are liberals?

""There was no field we studied in which there were more conservatives than liberals or more Republicans than Democrats." http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A8427-2005Mar28?language=printer
10 posted on 06/08/2007 11:28:59 AM PDT by dan1123 (You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. --Jesus)
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To: dan1123

That would be in academia.

I would like to see poll on political philosophy of scientists in the private sector.


11 posted on 06/08/2007 11:32:43 AM PDT by trumandogz
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To: SirLinksalot
ID proponents constantly claim that their mission is about science, not about theology. To turn their theology into science, they claim that their god is not necessarily the designer, just that the scientific evidence shows that the world must have been designed.

"I believe God is the author of life, and I don't want anything taught in schools that denigrates that,"

Liars.

12 posted on 06/08/2007 11:47:55 AM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: SirLinksalot

BTW, the site is a sham. It is ostensibly a balanced look at the Theory of Evolution, but it is run by the Discovery Institute, a religious organization with the stated goal of replacing science with Christian theology.


13 posted on 06/08/2007 11:57:53 AM PDT by antiRepublicrat
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To: SirLinksalot

So the school board included creationism, they get sued, they lose (as they should), they appeal, they cost the property owner/taxpayers millions of dollars. All because they won’t accept science.


14 posted on 06/08/2007 12:00:06 PM PDT by DaGman (`)
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To: DaGman
So the school board included creationism, they get sued, they lose (as they should), they appeal, they cost the property owner/taxpayers millions of dollars.

The language used by the participants guarantees that they will be perceived as having a religious motive. This is the same kind of language that sank ID in the Dover trial. A couple of school board members were cited (but not charged) for perjury.

If any action results from this debate, it will cost the school board big bucks in legal fees and court costs.

15 posted on 06/08/2007 12:07:25 PM PDT by js1138
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To: SirLinksalot; gobucks; mikeus_maximus; JudyB1938; isaiah55version11_0; Elsie; LiteKeeper; ...


You have been pinged because of your interest regarding news, debate and editorials pertaining to the Creation vs. Evolution debate - from the young-earth creationist perspective.
To to get on or off this list (currently the premier list for creation/evolution news!), freep-mail me:
Add me / Remove me



Do you think it's only a matter of time before another Dover case brews? Or do you think the threat of having coffers drained by the ACLU lawsuits will keep everyone quiet?
16 posted on 06/08/2007 2:54:55 PM PDT by DaveLoneRanger (As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.)
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To: trumandogz

Aren’t you up to speed? Scientists in the private sector are by default in the pocket of big business and biased toward whoever hires them. School boards will only trust university faculty.


17 posted on 06/08/2007 2:58:39 PM PDT by dan1123 (You are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. --Jesus)
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To: antiRepublicrat
Though The Discovery Institute's Jay W Richards is one of the authors of The Privileged Planet: How Our Place In The Universe Is Designed For Discovery. The other is is Guillermo Gonzalez, late of denied tenure at the University Of Iowa.

They make an extremely compelling case, and I have some science background, as I think one should in being able to discuss theology...particularly say, with Christopher Hitchens.

18 posted on 06/08/2007 3:27:32 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: SirLinksalot
Another speaker, Michael Slagle, presented a document containing 700 signatures of scientists worldwide who have questioned the validity of evolution.

NO, this just can't be! I mean the evos keep telling us that there aren't any "real" scientists out there who don't believe in evolution. I bet this puts a frown on their smiley faces.

19 posted on 06/08/2007 3:32:53 PM PDT by taxesareforever (Never forget Matt Maupin)
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To: trumandogz; Red Badger; dan1123
"Do you have any evidence to support your theory or do you have data that show that most all scientists in the fields of geology, biology, chemistry and astronomy are liberals?"

Strawman Alert No such assertion was made.

Geology and chemistry are science, while evolution is religion. Biology has been polluted with the illogical philosophy of the evolution/death culture. The death culture is distinctly leftist.

"I would like to see poll on political philosophy of scientists in the private sector."

Scientists are not the problem, it's the evolutionist/humanist philosophers and propagandists.

20 posted on 06/08/2007 3:58:22 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (Turning the general election into a second Democrat primary is not a winning strategy.)
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