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View Full Version : New evolution spat in schools goes to court


tybee204
09-24-2005, 09:10 PM
http://www.cnn.com/2005/EDUCATION/09/23/life.evolution.reut/index.html

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (Reuters) -- A new battle over teaching about man's origins in U.S. schools goes to court for the first time next week, pitting Christian conservatives against educators and scientists in a trial viewed as the biggest test of the issue since the late 1980s.

Eleven parents of students at a Pennsylvania high school are suing over the school district's decision to include "intelligent design" -- an alternative to evolution that involves a God-like creator -- in the curriculum of ninth-grade biology classes.

The parents and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) say the policy of the Dover Area School District in south-central Pennsylvania violates the constitutional separation of church and state, which forbids teaching religion in public schools.

They also argue that intelligent design is unscientific and has no place in a science curriculum.

Intelligent design holds that nature is so complex it must have been the work of an God-like creator rather than the result of natural selection, as argued by Charles Darwin in his 1859 Theory of Evolution.

The school board says there are "gaps" in evolution, which it emphasizes is a theory rather than established fact, and that students have a right to consider other views on the origins of life. In their camp is President George W. Bush, who has said schools should teach evolution and intelligent design.

The Dover school board says it does not teach intelligent design but simply makes students aware of its existence as an alternative to evolution. It denies intelligent design is "religion in disguise" and says it is a scientific theory.

The board is being represented by The Thomas More Law Center, a Michigan-based nonprofit which says it uses litigation to promote "the religious freedom of Christians and time-honored family values."

The center did not return phone calls seeking comment.

The trial begins on Monday in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and is expected to last about five weeks.

More at link

Maral
09-24-2005, 11:06 PM
This should be an interesting case to watch.

I don't have a problem with exposing students to different ideas. Where I would have a problem is having the theory of intelligent design being taught alongside the theory of evolution in science classes. Evolution is based on science and intelligent design is based on faith. Intelligent design theories should be discussed in comparative theology or philosophy classes, IMO.

Nova
09-25-2005, 04:13 AM
This should be an interesting case to watch.

I don't have a problem with exposing students to different ideas. Where I would have a problem is having the theory of intelligent design being taught alongside the theory of evolution in science classes. Evolution is based on science and intelligent design is based on faith. Intelligent design theories should be discussed in comparative theology or philosophy classes, IMO.

Perfectly stated, Maral.

But now that the Christian Right is so committed to teaching opposing sides of an issue, will we now see classes comparing sexual abstinence and use of condoms? Saying "no" to drugs v. drug use in moderation? I certainly hope so.

Cypros
09-25-2005, 06:02 AM
I have no probelm with the Christian Right teaching their religious ideologies (ie. Intelligent Design) in THEIR schools. That would be the same schools that, according to another tread, expel students for the terrible sin of being raised by two mothers. That is exactly the atmosphere that their anti-Science agenda belongs.

Linda7NJ
09-25-2005, 09:55 AM
My question is how can intelligent design be taught? I thought it was summed up rather well in one sentance!

quote from the post:


"Intelligent design holds that nature is so complex it must have been the work of an God-like creator rather than the result of natural selection, as argued by Charles Darwin in his 1859 Theory of Evolution."

What else is there to know?

Amraann
09-25-2005, 12:55 PM
If I want my children taught about God in school I will send them to a private school.


As for expanding their minds well that is what college or parents are for.

These schools need to focus on teaching our kids to read and write lets master that in our schools then we can debate the rest.

JBean
09-25-2005, 01:12 PM
The only way I was able to make up my own mind as to which theory makes the most sense to me, was to be exposed to as many as possible.

GonzoReiter
09-25-2005, 08:13 PM
OPEN LETTER TO DOVER HIGH SCHOOL BOARD

Dear Sir(s) and Madam(s):

I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.

It is for this reason that Iím writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories. In fact, I will go so far as to say, if you do not agree to do this, we will be forced to proceed with legal action. Iím sure you see where we are coming from. If the Intelligent Design theory is not based on faith, but instead another scientific theory, as is claimed, then you must also allow our theory to be taught, as it is also based on science, not on faith.

Some find that hard to believe, so it may be helpful to tell you a little more about our beliefs. We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it. We have several lengthy volumes explaining all details of His power. Also, you may be surprised to hear that there are over 10 million of us, and growing. We tend to be very secretive, as many people claim our beliefs are not substantiated by observable evidence. What these people donít understand is that He built the world to make us think the earth is older than it really is. For example, a scientist may perform a carbon-dating process on an artifact. He finds that approximately 75% of the Carbon-14 has decayed by electron emission to Nitrogen-14, and infers that this artifact is approximately 10,000 years old, as the half-life of Carbon-14 appears to be 5,730 years. But what our scientist does not realize is that every time he makes a measurement, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is there changing the results with His Noodly Appendage. We have numerous texts that describe in detail how this can be possible and the reasons why He does this. He is of course invisible and can pass through normal matter with ease.

Iím sure you now realize how important it is that your students are taught this alternate theory. It is absolutely imperative that they realize that observable evidence is at the discretion of a Flying Spaghetti Monster. Furthermore, it is disrespectful to teach our beliefs without wearing His chosen outfit, which of course is full pirate regalia. I cannot stress the importance of this enough, and unfortunately cannot describe in detail why this must be done as I fear this letter is already becoming too long. The concise explanation is that He becomes angry if we donít.

You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature:
http://www.frozzbozz.net/images/noodly2.gif
In conclusion, thank you for taking the time to hear our views and beliefs. I hope I was able to convey the importance of teaching this theory to your students. We will of course be able to train the teachers in this alternate theory. I am eagerly awaiting your response, and hope dearly that no legal action will need to be taken. I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence.

Sincerely Yours,

Bobby Henderson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster) ,
concerned citizen.

P.S. I have included an artistic drawing of Him creating a mountain, trees, and a midget. Remember, we are all His creatures.
http://www.frozzbozz.net/images/noodly1.gif

Cypros
09-25-2005, 09:57 PM
Thanks Gonzo. I needed a good laugh! :crazy:

Cypros
09-25-2005, 10:11 PM
If I want my children taught about God in school I will send them to a private school.


As for expanding their minds well that is what college or parents are for.

These schools need to focus on teaching our kids to read and write lets master that in our schools then we can debate the rest.

MaryKate, I agree with you wholeheartedly that the schools need to spend MUCH more time on the basics of reading and writing. There are far too many young adults entering college in need of remedial tutoring. However, I do believe that students need to be taught about critical thinking BEFORE they graduate from high school. Otherwise only those who can afford a college education (fewer and fewer) will be exposed to this crucial concept. Science (real science) is an important avenue for teaching critical thinking. Inserting the religious ideology of Intelligent Design into science classes with only confuse the matter.

The argument that students need to have exposure to Intelligent Design as an alternate to evolution makes me laugh. Our young people are not being educated on human evoluton. Most schools and teachers avoid the subject completely in order to avoid complaints from fundamentalist parents. Our public schools are prisoners to the Christian Right. I find it interesting that the most of the undergraduate students who describe their education on human evolution in high school say that this was not done in a science class. It seems to be a popular topic for teachers who want to offer a lesson on debate. However, the students have not learned the history of evolutionary theory, Darwin's natural selection, the mechanisms for genetic evolution, nor the fossil record. They are expected to debate something they know nothing about! I am pleased that most of these young people are eager to FINALLY have an opportunity to actually LEARN about evolution so that they CAN make up their own minds.

Amraann
09-25-2005, 11:30 PM
Perfect gonz!!!!


I love it!!

CyberLaw
09-25-2005, 11:36 PM
Was there already a trial many, many years ago called the Scopes trial that decided this issue already........

Keep Science in Science class and religion in a church.......evolution is a fact, intelligent design is a theory put forth by the "intelligent" George Bush..........