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FW: COMMENTARY: Argento: Did we mention that Dover's clueless?

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    ... From: Steven A. Edinger [mailto:Steven.Edinger.1@Ohio.edu] Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 5:14 PM To: Science Education Subject: COMMENTARY: Argento:
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3, 2005
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: Steven A. Edinger [mailto:Steven.Edinger.1@...]
      Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2005 5:14 PM
      To: Science Education
      Subject: COMMENTARY: Argento: Did we mention that Dover's clueless?

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      >From the York Daily Record at YDR.com

      Argento: Did we mention that Dover's clueless?
      MIKE ARGENTO

      Thursday, November 3, 2005

      HARRISBURG - Before I resurrect my effort to get the Dover Area schools
      to
      teach the theory that cows think in Spanish, let's take a look at
      exactly how
      that particular school district decides what to teach its kids.

      OK, maybe not teach. Mention. All right, not mention. Make aware.

      Or whatever it is they do up there in Dover. It's really hard to tell
      what
      they're doing because, as testimony in the Dover Panda Trial has
      demonstrated,
      we're learning that the people in charge of Dover schools really don't
      know
      either.

      That's not just some flip remark.

      They really don't know what they're doing.

      Let's consider the issue at hand - intelligent design, the latest
      incarnation
      of creationism.

      Now, when the school board decided to adopt it as part of the biology
      curriculum, it could have done a few things. It could have checked it
      out to
      see what it was all about. Board members could have read some books.
      They could
      have had one of the pushers of this stuff come to Dover and tell them
      about it.

      They could have done a lot of things.

      But they didn't.

      You want proof?

      Here's school board President Sheila Harkins.

      "I still don't have a firm explanation" of what intelligent design is,
      she
      testified Wednesday.

      She knows that the two words exist - intelligent and design - and they
      are
      sometimes placed next to each other, but that seems to be about it. She
      can't
      define it. She really has no idea what it is.

      But she thought it was a good idea to teach it to the kids.

      OK, not teach. She said they weren't teaching it; they were merely
      mentioning
      it. Or making kids aware of it. Or whatever they're doing up there.

      Making people aware of things by mentioning them, isn't that what
      teachers do?

      Oh, never mind.

      It really doesn't matter because Harkins really doesn't know what it is
      that
      teachers are, or are not, teaching. Actually, teachers aren't going
      anywhere
      near intelligent design and have forced administrators to take the leash
      of
      this sick puppy - something that Harkins said made her "sad." I don't
      know
      why. She just said it made her "sad."

      Not sick puppies. The other thing, the one she doesn't know about.

      She did do some research on intelligent design. She Googled it and
      learned,
      well, she didn't learn much of anything because she's still not sure
      exactly
      what intelligent design is. She looked at "Of Pandas and People," one of
      intelligent design's holy texts. She didn't actually read it. She looked
      at it
      and concluded it was science, apparently because it has a picture of a
      panda on
      the cover and we all know that all your best science books have pandas
      on the
      cover.

      That was it.

      Of course, checking intelligent design out thoroughly would have
      defeated the
      board's whole purpose. Board members would have discovered that
      intelligent
      design is merely the latest mutation of creationism and as such, would
      have to
      stay 500 yards away from public schools. And since their original intent
      was to
      get creationism into the curriculum, they couldn't have let a little
      knowledge
      get in the way.

      OK, it's one thing for a member of the school board to be clueless and
      it's
      another for a member of the administration.

      Meet Asst. Supt. Michael Baksa.

      "The only information I have on intelligent design is what I gleaned
      from
      reading 'Of Pandas and People,'" he testified.

      He said he "would rely on the science teachers and the scientific
      community" to
      determine whether intelligent design is a scientific theory.

      The science teachers, of course, said it wasn't and called it
      creationism, and
      the scientific community thinks intelligent design is neither
      intelligent nor
      designed particularly well. And the people who accept and promote
      intelligent
      design can only call it a scientific theory if, as its leading saint
      Michael
      Behe testified, they redefine science, a change that would promote
      astrology to
      science.

      Baksa, to his credit, thinks the school district shouldn't have put
      intelligent
      design in the biology curriculum.

      Still, it did, and the administration still refers students to "Of
      Pandas and
      People," even though the science teachers told the administration that
      the book
      contained bad science, was outdated and was poorly written.

      But it has that nice picture of the sad panda on the cover.

      So returning, for a moment, to the theory that cows think in Spanish. It
      has as
      much support in the mainstream (read: sane) scientific community as
      intelligent
      design. It has been the topic of just as many peer reviewed articles in
      scientific journals.

      And it clearly meets the strict criteria set by the Dover schools for
      what can
      get into the curriculum.

      There's already a controversy regarding it. A reader e-mailed to inform
      me that
      cows may think in French. His evidence was a Pepe Le Pew cartoon in
      which a
      French cow says, "Le meaux." My reply, of course, is thinking and
      speaking are
      separate issues.

      So if cows thinking in Spanish is too outside the box, maybe I can get
      Dover to
      teach the controversy.

      Mike Argento, whose column appears Mondays and Thursdays in Living and
      Sundays
      in Viewpoints, can be reached at 771-2046 or at mike@... more
      Argento
      columns at ydr.com/mike or at http://www.yorkblog.com -Argento's Front
      Stoop.



      Please see the Ohio Citizens for Science's web page at:


      http://OhioScience.org



      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      ---
      Steven A. Edinger, Physiology Lab Instructor

      064 Irvine Hall
      Department of Biological Sciences
      steven.edinger.1@...
      Ohio University Office: (740) 593-9484
      Athens, Ohio 45701-2979 Fax: (740) 593-0300
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      ---

      ******************************************************
      "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of
      evolution." Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1973
      ******************************************************




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      ******************************************************
      "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of
      evolution." Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1973
      ******************************************************
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