Skip to comments.Evolution vs. Intelligent Design : Chesterfield School Board takes up debate on theories of life.
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.
See here :
"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"
If it’s a heavy topic that’s generated debate for years, then why the big fuss?
Conservative: We call that "And God said, "Let there be light and there was light".........
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.
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?
My theory?....I don’t have a theory......
Well that may be obvious.
Why do you think Evolution and Creation are liberal and conservative issues?
So true. We seem to live in backwards land where the proven is taught as speculative, and the speculative is taught as proven.
That would be in academia.
I would like to see poll on political philosophy of scientists in the private sector.
"I believe God is the author of life, and I don't want anything taught in schools that denigrates that,"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.