Ohio BoE still stalling

| 9 Comments

The word out of Ohio today is that the Ohio Board of Education is still stalling on its prior commitment to have an up-or-down vote on a “replacement policy” for the ill-fated “Critical Analysis of Evolution” benchmark and lesson plan which were defeated back in February. This is in marked contrast to a recent report in the press in which a board member claimed the debate template was “dead”.

For the history, see these previous posts. Evidently the situation is that the creationists don’t have the votes for their plan to survive an actual vote, so they are stalling in the hope that circumstances will change or the Ohio science community will lose interest and stop lobbying for quality science education in their state. Good luck with that. I am also sure that Discovery Institute lobbying and promotion of the “Controversial Issues Debate Framework” will help the creationist cause on the Board. It’s a bit like wearing a T-shirt that says “Covert attempt at religious establishment underway!” on the front.

In other news, intelligent design has nothing to do with religious apologetics either, especially not in the new ID video Case For a Creator which is allegedly just peachy for public schools. I’m sure the video is much different than the Case for a Creator book upon which it is based, by professional apologist Lee Strobel. I’m sure it is also dramatically different from Strobel’s dozens of other books, including The Case for Faith, The Case for Easter, The Case for Christmas, The Case for Christ, The Case for Christ for Kids, The Case for a Creator for Kids, The Case for Faith for Kids, Off My Case for Kids: 12 Stories to Help You Defend Your Faith, The Case for Faith Miniature Edition, and Caso de Cristo, El. Strobel and his business have every right to keep doing what they are doing, of course, but they don’t have any more right to governmental endorsement of their religious view than, say, the Vedic Foundation did.

9 Comments

I think the “strategy” at this point is to get the right to have an inch, so that they can use selective enforcement to grab a mile.

It sounds entirely possible that this Craig guy really does not care about science standards; he cares about getting elected. He has made a calculated assessment that in his district, pushing forward with his promised agenda would probably cost him more votes than just ducking the issue and changing the subject. If a clear majority of his district wanted Voodoo or Druid doctrine taught as science, sounds like Craig would be glad to oblige.

So I think the claim that Craig is a creationist is probably misguided (despite the resounding track record for dishonesty creationists have earned). He sounds genuinely baffled that the scientists and the creationist can’t just find some nice compromise and go away so he doesn’t have to take the risk of adopting any specific position. He’s following the age-old (utterly necessary) political dictum that Thou Shalt Not Adopt Controversial Stands Before Elections.

Re “He’s following the age-old (utterly necessary) political dictum that Thou Shalt Not Adopt Controversial Stands Before Elections.”

A corollary of the eleventh commandment, huh? (“Thou shalt not get caught.”)

Henry

Is Craig a creationist? That depends on how you define creationist, doesn’t it? If you’ve accepted, mostly because you can’t be bothered to study it yourself, that the creationists must have some science on their side because their PhDs sure do sound impressive, and therefore their views must be presented in public school science classes, then yes, you are a creationist. Craig is supporting the teaching of religious doctrine as science. If he has some delusion that he’s just being a good politician by seeking the middle ground between two extremes then he’s miscaculated on where the middle ground is.

Mike:

The middle ground for a politician has nothing to do with science, and perhaps nothing to do with Jeezus either. It has to do with maximizing the number of votes YOU get, while minimizing the number of votes for your opponent. Whatever that takes. If it takes teaching religion as science, do it. If it takes putting voters in your district to sleep because a big turnout, all by itself, favors your opponent, then do it. (There is some evidence that large turnouts favor science.)

I didn’t read that Craig is “supporting” the teaching of religious doctrine as science. I read that Craig genuinely doesnt’ care what they teach in science class, so long as he gets re-elected. You don’t need to know what they’re fighting over to have the sense to try to stay out of it yourself.

Now, in my infallible opinion, you could make a strong case that those who most desire to hold public office are ipso facto least appropriate for the positions, and that being gifted at getting elected probably works against being responsible afterwards. But the fact remains, in an electoral system, the sine qua non of politics is *getting elected*. If you can’t clear that hurdle, it simply doesn’t matter how masterfully you could negotiate all the rest.

So there is only one way to tell whether Craig has miscalculated the middle ground, and that’s by counting the votes next election. If he has the most of them, his calculations worked. Yeah, a pro-science candidate who ALSO happens to be gifted at luring voters would be great. But the voters come first. In politics, everything else MUST be second. Think evolution: policy is made by whoever survives the political process. Those who go extinct (lose the election) are irrelevant anymore.

Flint Wrote:

I didn’t read that Craig is “supporting” the teaching of religious doctrine as science. I read that Craig genuinely doesnt’ care what they teach in science class, so long as he gets re-elected. You don’t need to know what they’re fighting over to have the sense to try to stay out of it yourself.

Thing about Craig is, as co-chair of the Achievement Committee, he’s not staying out of it; he’s actively pushing to prevent the “critical analysis” proposal from being scrapped. He’s ended meetings early to prevent it from being put to a vote which would almost certainly have finished it. If he wanted to stay out of the fight, he could simply let it go to a vote, abstain or even vote for it, then shrug when it dies anyway. Nobody would blame him.

I agree, Craig’s probably not particularly motivated by religious fervor (and for that matter some of the pro-science Board members are self-labeled “creationists” themselves; but thank God, they just don’t think it’s justifiable/constitutional/legally safe to stick creationism in the curriculum.) But at this point he is actively helping the creationist cause.

But at this point he is actively helping the creationist cause.

It seems you’re right. On the face of it, he’s not sure that “nobody would blame him”. He might be blameless for letting it die, but that’s not the same thing at all.

Seems like the underlying problem in Ohio is the same as in Kansas: School curricula are determined at least partially by political processes, and a majority of the citizens really do want Jeezus in the science class (and in every other class). So it’s not like a minority of wingnuts are trying to pull a fast one on a somnolent majority; the pro-science people in these states don’t have the votes for brute force, they (we) need to finesse it, game the committees, threaten litigation, and generally bob and weave hoping to win on points if the judges are honest. An uphill battle.

Flint Wrote:

Now, in my infallible opinion, you could make a strong case that those who most desire to hold public office are ipso facto least appropriate for the positions,…

“To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone capable of getting themselves made President should by no means be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.” - Douglas Adams - Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Which is why they decided to take the person who LEAST wanted to rule the universe and put him in charge of it. Poor guy.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on October 9, 2006 8:16 PM.

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