Now that the intelligent design (ID) debate is over in Dover (Pennsylvania), Darwinists are descending upon Ohio as their next target in the ongoing battle over teaching origins.

In the Dover case, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled that intelligent design is creationism in disguise and cannot be even mentioned1 in Dover Area School District science classes as an alternative to evolution. According to an article in The Plain Dealer of Cleveland (February 4), the groups that helped in the Dover lawsuit have vowed to take similar legal action if Ohio doesn’t eliminate the lesson plan called “Critical Analysis of Evolution.”

In an Associated Press (AP) article in the Cincinnati Enquirer (February 7), opponents claim the science lesson plan in Ohio contains inaccurate information about evolution and promotes intelligent design, the idea that life is too complex to have come about randomly and must have been created by some divine being.

In the AP article, Ohio Governor Bob Taft said he recommended a legal review of the state science lesson plan to ensure that Ohio was not vulnerable to a lawsuit.

In the same article, Taft said he supports the teaching of evolution in 10th-grade biology as well as the critical analysis of the theory called for in the state standards. However, his views on intelligent design are a different matter. He does not believe that ID should be part of the standards (and they are not in the standards).

Taft told the Plain Dealer that he would not order the Ohio Board of Education to seek a legal opinion on the controversial lesson plan, but planned to ask board applicants where they stand on the teaching of life’s origins in science class. According to various reports, Taft plans to make appointments for the four board seats that open December 31.

Rob Crowther, a spokesperson for Discovery Institute, an intelligent design think-tank, said in an Agape Press article (February 3) that “dogmatic evolutionists are trying to strong-arm the state Board of Education.”

“They don’t like the fact that [the “Critical Analysis” lesson plan] presents some of the criticisms of Darwin’s theory and they are being aided and abetted by groups like the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State,” Crowther said in the Agape Press article.

He also pointed out that the lesson plan under attack does not involve religion, creationism or intelligent design theory. Instead, he said, it is “merely based on ‘mainstream’ criticism of evolutionary theory that comes straight out of scientific literature.”

Yesterday, (February 8) twenty-three members of Ohio’s 2001 Science Content Standards Advisory Committee signed and sent a letter to Governor Taft that condemned the 2002 standards and the 2004 lesson plan that allows evolution to be critically analyzed.

According to an article in the Columbus Dispatch (February 8), the letter stated that the guidelines open the door to teaching religion in the public-school classroom. The letter went on to say that the lesson plan “embodies intelligent design creationism poorly concealed in scientific sounding jargon.”

Reports also indicate that critics have promised to continue their fight after the Ohio Board of Education voted 9–8 on January 10 to reject an attempt by a board member to reopen debate on the science standards or on teaching evolution critically.

Ohio is not the only battleground state being attacked by the Darwin defenders. There are signs that Kansas may be another target for what some are calling an all-out assault against anyone who even questions molecules-to-man evolution. In fact, one sign that things are heating up (again) in Kansas came in the form of a literal sign—a billboard on I-35 just outside of downtown Kansas City. This sign boasts the words: “Evolution Is A Fairy Tale For Grown-Ups” and directs people to the following website: www.ScienceProvesIt.com.

This billboard even made its way into a Science magazine article (February 3) that discussed the evolving strategies (such as the billboard) used by candidates who are preparing for Kansas school board races.

The writer of the Science article calls the website a “stark reminder of what science and educators face as they battle new state science standards that cast doubt on evolutionary theory and effectively open[ing] the door to intelligent design (ID) and creationist instruction in Kansas public schools.”

The Science article reports that the terms of four of the six-person majority on the Kansas state school board that adopted those standards three months ago will end this year. Defenders of evolution hope voters will choose moderates in their place who will work to have those standards thrown out.

As this battle continues to play out in school board elections, courtrooms and classrooms all across America, we need to continue to diligently pray for Christians in these states who are attempting to bring academic freedom to their public schools. Pray that those who cast doubt on Darwin won’t be cast out themselves.

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Footnotes

  1. The issue in Dover was over a short statement that was read to science students about intelligent design. ID was not a part of the actual coursework, however. Back