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FW: Is it Science Yet? -- Forum on "Intelligent Design" at CWRU

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    ... From: Glenn Branch [mailto:branch@ncseweb.org] Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 8:10 PM To: Glenn Branch Cc: jxw87@po.cwru.edu Subject: Spam (Message
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 24, 2004
      For Ohio folks:
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Glenn Branch [mailto:branch@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 8:10 PM
      To: Glenn Branch
      Cc: jxw87@...
      Subject: Spam (Message score):Is it Science Yet? -- Forum on "Intelligent Design" at CWRU

      Dear Cleveland-area friends of NCSE,

      I am forwarding the following announcement of a forum on "intelligent design" to be held Thursday, February 26, at Case Western Reserve University, since it is likely to be of interest to you.


      Please forward widely
      Please attend on Thursday to show your support for good science!

      7:30 pm
      Thursday Feb 26, 2004
      Strosacker Auditorium
      On the Case Quad, Euclid Ave & Adelbert
      Case Western Reserve University
      Cleveland, OH
      For maps see www.case.edu
      The Case Center for Policy Studies is pleased to present a free forum:
      By STEVEN G. GEY
      ABCNews legal analyst, and the David and Deborah Fonvielle and Donald and Janet Hinkle Professor of Law at Florida State University College of Law

      Panel discussion with State Board of Education members Martha Wise & Virgil Brown will follow Gey's talk with lots of opportunity for audience

      Creationist Lesson Plan Draws Legal Fire

      - Law Expert and Board of Ed members to speak at CWRU Thursday evening
      - Says Ohio's Lesson Plan is "not only bad science; it is illegal"

      The Ohio Board of Education signaled their intent this month to adopt a controversial anti-evolution lesson plan that has drawn fire from scientists
      in Ohio and nationally. Now one of the country's foremost experts on religious liberties and free speech charges that the lesson plan is clearly
      unconstitutional. A final vote is slated for March 9.

      ABCNews legal analyst Steven Gey of Florida State University will explain his findings at a free Case Center for Policy Studies public forum Thursday
      Feb 26 at Case Western Reserve University's Strosacker Auditorium at 7:30 pm.

      Members of the Ohio Board of Education will comment, including Cleveland's Virgil Brown (district 11) who voted to adopt the lesson. Martha Wise
      (district 2 west of Cleveland) opposed adopting the lesson. Also invited to speak is new Board member Rob Hovis (district 5, east and south of
      Cleveland) who voted against the lesson stating he didn't feel he had enough information yet to vote for it.

      The forum is FREE and OPEN to the PUBLIC.

      In a statement released today by the Ohio Academy of Sciences, constitutional law expert Steven Gey stated: "Although the Ohio State Board
      of Education has removed a reference to Jonathan Wells' book Icons of Evolution, the concepts from Intelligent Design from his book and from
      references to websites containing Intelligent Design concepts are embedded in the current controversial lesson plan being considered by the Ohio State
      Board of Education. Accordingly, this plan is not only bad science; it is illegal."

      Referred to by critics as the newest form of creationism, and "creationism in a cheap tuxedo," Intelligent Design Creationism comes primarily from a
      conservative Christian "think tank" and lobbying center in Seattle called the Discovery Institute. Endowed with a grant from Christian
      Reconstructionist Howard Ahmanson, the Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture employs a staff of philosophers, theologians and
      scientists around the country who promote all kinds of criticisms of evolutionary theory. One of these is Unification Church minister and PhD
      biologist Jonathan Wells whose book, Icons of Evolution, "has nothing to do with intelligent design" according to the Discovery Institute. However, the
      Center's promotional posters clearly show Wells' book as literature of Intelligent Design Creationism. At the February 9 Standards Committee meeting, the Board deleted references to Wells' book, but did not remove any content from the lesson. This led to criticisms by scientists that the lesson was now, effectively, plagiarized since the lesson borrows material without citing its source.

      At the Board meeting Feb 10, 2004, new board member Robin Hovis said, "I support the science standards, but I simply cannot be sure this isn't an
      introduction to intelligent design.so I'm hesitant to put the backing of the state board behind this."

      Ohio Academy of Science CEO Lynn Elfner said he hopes Taft and other state leaders will intervene before the Board makes an expensive and illegal
      mistake. "There are senior level staff members at the Department of Education who are ready to revolt over this," he said. "They're being
      politically silenced. But they're having a hell of a time living with themselves at this point."

      In a letter to Board president Jennifer Sheets of Pomeroy, OH, scientist Bruce Alberts -- president of the National Academy of Sciences, America's most
      prestigious scientific society -- stressed that science and religion occupy separate realms and should not be confused: "Please understand that the
      National Academy of Sciences and, I would contend, the vast majority of scientists, are not asking people to choose between science and religion.
      What concerns us is that Intelligent Design is not scientific because its ultimate tenet that life on Earth is the result of the work of some intelligent being is scientifically untestable and therefore cannot be invalidated through scientific means."

      The "Critical Analysis of Evolution - Grade 10" Lesson Plan is Thinly Disguised Intelligent Design Creationism

      Numerous lines of evidence tie the "Critical Analysis of Evolution" Lesson Plan directly to Intelligent Design Creationism. Four of the five "aspects"
      in the Lesson Plan correspond to major topics in Jonathan Wells' Icons of Evolution, a leading Intelligent Design Creationist book, while the fifth
      "aspect" is related to a section (pp. 188-9) of Michael Behe's book Darwin's Black Box, another prominent Intelligent Design Creationist work. The
      "Challenges" raised in the Lesson Plan are not genuine scientific questions in evolutionary biology. They are specious issues raised by Intelligent
      Design Creationists. There are genuine scientific questions associated with some of those "aspects," but the Lesson Plan does not address those
      questions; it raises specious "Challenges." Two of the Web sites recommended as "Technology connections" for students are self-proclaimed Intelligent
      Design sites (www.origins.org and www.arn.org).

      Steven Gey

      Steven Gey holds a J.D. from Columbia University, 1982, and a B.A. from Eckerd University, 1978. Considered one of the country's leading scholars on
      religious liberties and free speech, Professor Gey is author of the casebook, Cases and Materials on Religion and the State (Lexis-Michie 2001).   He teaches a Church and State Seminar, Constitutional Law I and II, a First Amendment Seminar, Injunctions, and Public Interest Law, and has also taught
      Civil Rights Survey, Cyberlaw, and Federal Courts. Professor Gey has been named Professor of the Year by the Student Bar Association several times and
      has been a faculty advisor to Florida State University Law Review since 1987. Before joining Florida State University College of Law's faculty in 1985, Professor Gey was associated with the firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York City. He received his J.D. in 1982 from Columbia University School of Law, where he was editor of Columbia Law Review.

      For more information, contact Dr Joe White, Dept of Political Science, CWRU, 216-368-2426 jxw87@....


      Glenn Branch
      Deputy Director
      National Center for Science Education, Inc.
      420 40th Street, Suite 2
      Oakland, CA 94609-2509
      510-601-7203 x305
      fax: 510-601-7204

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