- http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/360/nation/Pa_school_district_statement_sparks_evolution_debate+.shtml Pa. school district statement sparks evolution debateMessage 1 of 1 , Dec 29, 2002View Source
Pa. school district statement sparks evolution debate
By Bill Bergstrom, Associated Press, 12/26/2002
HILADELPHIA - Officials at a suburban school district say new wording in the system's mission statement is provoking discussion of evolution and other issues that are often in dispute.
Phoenixville area school district Superintendent David R. Noyes said he doubts the new language will have a big effect on how evolution is taught in the district. But Noyes said he does expect teachers to encourage ''critical thinking and divergent thought and higher order thinking.''
The mission statement was altered at the urging of the school board vice president, David M. Langdon. He had sought a statement urging the teaching of ''intelligent design'' as an alternative to evolution.
The board instead added to the mission statement in November a line that says ''critical thinking, along with objective and thorough investigation of data and theories in all areas of study is necessary to ensure the success of the educational program.''
Backers of the intelligent design theory say it is a scientific alternative to the theory of evolution. They say the complexity of the biological world can be explained better by an intelligent cause than by Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, which they view as a mechanism of chance.
Critics argue intelligent design is actually creationism, which the US Supreme Court has prohibited from public schools as a violation of the separation of church and state. Intelligent design supporters deny that, saying that no designer is specified.
Langdon's original proposal was modeled after a resolution adopted by the Cobb County School District in Georgia. While denying it was intended to promote religion, that board said ''discussion of disputed views of academic subjects is a necessary element of providing a balanced education, including the study of the origin of species.''
The Ohio Board of Education adopted standards Dec. 10 calling for the teaching of evolution and critical analysis of it. The standards do not require the teaching or testing of intelligent design.
Langdon said he believes in the biblical account of creation.
''My opinion is that evolution has some problems with it that the scientific community doesn't want to talk about,'' Langdon said.
This story ran on page A26 of the Boston Globe on 12/26/2002.
� Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.
Christopher W. Ashcraft
Creation Science Resource