Springboro Update

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Kelly Kohls, the nutritionist and school board member in Springboro, Ohio, who advocated teaching creationism in that district, has revised her position. She now says that she

…wants parents of students in public schools to have options if they want their children to learn about theories like intelligent design.

and that

… parents should have the choice of using state funds to send their children to other schools if they want to learn about creationism and intelligent design.

A potential route, she thinks, is school vouchers, where state money is paid to parents to send their children to private, often sectarian, schools.

Read more in the Dayton Daily News. One parent quoted there has exactly the right idea:

Tina Gangl, who has a daughter in Springboro elementary school and a son at the nearby Catholic Bishop Fenwick High School, said public schools should not teach religion.

“We need to educate our children about science,” Gangl said, “If I want to teach my religion to my kids I’ll send them to a religious school. There is no place for it in public school.”

171 Comments

I should also mention that the Columbus Dispatch had a strong editorial on the topic this morning. A couple of excerpts:

Teaching “creation science” would imperil taxpayers, who would be dragged into a costly legal fight, as well as students, whose education would be hobbled by being taught theology as science. Teaching creationism does not further the understanding of biology any more than a horoscope explains astronomy.

and

Science seeks explanations. Creationism begins with the conclusion. C.A. Colson, a chemist and devout Christian, spoke to this point when, in the 1950s, he said, “When we come to the scientifically unknown, our correct position is not to rejoice because we have found God; it is to become better scientists.”

Kelly Kohls, the nutritionist and school board member in Springboro, Ohio, who advocated teaching creationism in that district, has revised her position.

I find that encouraging – it means she’s noticed the rising uproar and did so fairly quickly. I would suspect she will continue to revise her position until it becomes an ineffectual statement of aspirations with no trace of a plan.

The teabaggers with their school vouchers and homeschooling are insidious. It’s going to cause us to have a generation of idiots.

Kohls is expressly advocating the use of school vouchers in order to teach creationism with public funding. Doesn’t this nicely illustrate that tax or education vouchers can be used to violate separation of church and state? And doesn’t this show the lie behind the Zelman v. Simmons-Harris decision in the Supreme Court?

Here’s a simple solution: How about interested churches set up a collection of creationist or ID books that members can borrow. They could call it their “church library”. Motivated churchgoers could purchase and donate the books.

Why should taxpayer money be involved *at all*?

Most likely, the concern is that, gosh, this plan wouldn’t reach the residents who don’t go to a creationist church. Well, tough. Get cracking and convince people to start attending.

The position in this country is somewhat as Ms Kohls wishes it. The Government runs schools directly - these are called “State schools”, because the expression “public school” is ambivalent - but it also subsidises private schools, which are mostly Church schools. In fact, the State system could not possibly accommodate all students. 35% of students attend private schools.

The subsidy to private schools covers a large part of their costs, but they still charge fees, the better equipped the school, the higher the fee. Somewhat like the “gap” fee for medical services. The top private schools - confusingly called “public schools” - can charge $12000 per year in tuition fees alone.

But the State subsidy - which in practice no school can do without - comes with a condition and a compulsion. The school must submit to inspection, and in both elementary and secondary education must offer a mandatory science program which must include at least the basics of the Theory of Evolution. It must teach these to the State standards, and its students must perform well enough in tests to satisfy this.

I was astonished to learn that my son’s biology teacher was a closet creationist. Had I known at the time, I would seriously have considered withdrawing him from that school, which was a (liberal) Christian one. But it did not come to my attention. In the first place, my son did not opt for biology in years 11 and 12, taking physics and chemistry instead, in a math-heavy program, so he only did biology up to year 10. In the second, that teacher did a pretty reasonable job of teaching evolution, and as far as I can discover, never mentioned his fundamentalist beliefs in a science class. There was a Bible on the bookshelf in that classroom - there was one in all the classrooms. The English Literature teacher sometimes referred to it, because the class was studying Milton and Blake, and I have no problem with that at all.

I have no doubt that in the further wildernesses of the private Schools, out among those run by the kookier Christian sects, and possibly the Muslim ones, there are “biology” teachers who don’t dissemble their creationism and only teach a wink-wink nudge-nudge version of biology. I also know from listening to a friend in the Education Department that the more ‘way out there the sect is, the more carefully their school is inspected, and especially its science department. And it either teaches the State science curriculum to an acceptable standard, or the governing body doesn’t get a licence to run a school.

Home schooling is a very rare option here - it’s only allowed for some classes of special students and the very isolated in remote areas. But in theory at least, the very few home-schoolers must also meet the State curriculum standards, and their child is tested against them.

I realise of course that the vast majority of Americans attend what we would call “State schools” for their elementary and secondary education. But I wonder if the rise of “home-schooling” in the US could be addressed by such a system as described above. The content of “home-schooling”, I understand, is widely various. Is it Constitutionally possible for the State to subsidise private schools that teach their own religious views, observances and practices, on condition that they also teach acceptable science? If so, would this deprive the whackos of oxygen?

Dave Luckett said:

I realise of course that the vast majority of Americans attend what we would call “State schools” for their elementary and secondary education. But I wonder if the rise of “home-schooling” in the US could be addressed by such a system as described above. The content of “home-schooling”, I understand, is widely various. Is it Constitutionally possible for the State to subsidise private schools that teach their own religious views, observances and practices, on condition that they also teach acceptable science? If so, would this deprive the whackos of oxygen?

The community in which I live in the US is a mixture of essentially moderate and very conservative churches in the North. There are a number of Reformed type churches that draw their materials from the likes of Ken Ham. Many of these churches supported Duane Gish’s attempts to intimidate biology teachers when he lived and worked here.

And every now and then, we have a flare-up in the stealth teaching of creationism in various schools in the surrounding districts. There was a messy and expensive incident here during the time that the trial was going on in Dover, PA.

It is “officially” opposed here; but teachers who insist on including evolution as the backbone of their courses are routinely tag-team harassed by parents over many years as the children of these parents pass though these courses. And while there is nominal support from administrators, the teachers themselves frequently complain that dealing with such parents year after year after year begins to take its toll on their enthusiasm and dedication.

Complaints like this come especially from teachers I know who teach in accelerated programs for gifted and talented high school students taking college level courses.

So the “official” policies of the various school districts hide much of what is taking place beneath the surface and doesn’t come to the attention of the general public. The curriculum and the general success of the students do not reflect the routine harassment of teachers who actually teach evolution.

I also know some people who home school their children. They use Beka Books apparently because the home schooling network around here pushes this stuff.

Chris Lawson said:

Kohls is expressly advocating the use of school vouchers in order to teach creationism with public funding. Doesn’t this nicely illustrate that tax or education vouchers can be used to violate separation of church and state? And doesn’t this show the lie behind the Zelman v. Simmons-Harris decision in the Supreme Court?

There is something unsavory to me about a public school board member actually advocating that money actually be taken from public ed and given to private schools.

Two other board members, Scott Anderson and Gentry Ellis, both agreed the debate was a distraction, but said they would support an elective class on world religions similar to courses taught at the college level that would allow students to explore other beliefs about creation.

Kohls said she might support such a class. “If my board thinks that would increase the boundaries of the topic, I think so,” she said. “I think my board is very enlightened and has the children’s best interest at heart.”

This has been a viable option for creationism since Edwards v. Aguillard (1987) but no school districts that I know of have ever tried the honest and viable option. The problem is that the goal of most of the rabble rousers is to not educate their kids, but keep them as ignorant as possible. The last thing that they want is their kids exposed to other religious beliefs. They want only their religious beliefs to be covered in the public schools. These same people can’t get the concept of separation of church and state. It is there to protect them as well as other people that do not share their religious beliefs.

Kohl is also now claiming that intelligent design theory may be viable to teach. The same reason that no schools have tried the honest and viable option is the main reason that we have never seen an intelligent design lesson plan for the public schools written by the ID perps at the Discovery Institute. An honest lesson plan teaching the most scientific intelligent design science would tick off their most rabid creationist support base (and would still be laughable in the science department). Any IDiot that doesn’t believe this, just has to try to get such a lesson plan from the ID perps, or make one up and submit it to the ID perps for evaluation and get back here with the results. Why is it that in all the years that the ID perps have been lying about the science of intelligent design that no IDiots ever question why no ID lesson plan has ever been put forward to demonstrate that there is any intelligent design science worth teaching? It should seem strange that none of the IDiot supporters wants to know exactly what would be taught and how it would be taught. Really, what is the purpose of the ID creationist scam? What is the best ID science available and how would it be taught?

Ron Okimoto said: The problem is that the goal of most of the rabble rousers is to not educate their kids, but keep them as ignorant as possible.

Didn’t the goal used to be that parents wanted their kids to be better educated? How did that social value get turned around?

The last thing that they want is their kids exposed to other religious beliefs.

The fundagelicals seem to prefer that their kids don’t know that there are alternatives - they don’t want their kids exposed to the fact that there are other religious beliefs.

Paul Burnett said:

Ron Okimoto said: The problem is that the goal of most of the rabble rousers is to not educate their kids, but keep them as ignorant as possible.

Didn’t the goal used to be that parents wanted their kids to be better educated? How did that social value get turned around?

The last thing that they want is their kids exposed to other religious beliefs.

The fundagelicals seem to prefer that their kids don’t know that there are alternatives - they don’t want their kids exposed to the fact that there are other religious beliefs.

Just look at the “teach the controversy” ploy that the ID perps have had to use as the switch scam in the bait and switch because they don’t have any ID science worth teaching? The only goal of the ploy is to blow enough smoke over the issue in order to keep the kids as ignorant ans possible. There is no positive reason for it. They can’t mention that their religious beliefs have any place in any scientific explanation for these controversies. It is just whining to be whining.

Just take the Ohio model lesson plan. What were the kids supposed to learn from the lesson and how were the teachers going to evaluate if they learned what they were supposed to have learned?

Nay saying just to be nay saying is stupid and dishonest.

http://www.ohioscience.org/lesson-plans.shtml

They have the draft and the final version at this site. The draft version was pretty pathetic. They got caught including the lie about no moths on tree trunks straight out of Well’s claptrap book. They also were stupid enough to put in creationist web links in a lesson that was supposed to be about the science. All mention of the Discovery Institute was deleted out of the final version. They didn’t even cite Wells’ book even though it was apparent that they still got the junk from the book. The book “Icons of Evolution” obviously needs a sticker in it to warn creationist rubes that the book is not suitable as a teaching resource for the public schools. The Ohio IDiots learned that the hard way.

IDiots should try to figure out what the students were supposed to learn from this lesson. Remember this is what the ID perps feed the IDiots instead of giving them any ID science to teach. The bait and switch has been going down for over 9 years. It is a bogus scam that the ID perps are not running on the science side, but on their own creationist supporters. What do the IDiot rubes get from the ID perps instead of any ID science?

Mike Elzinga Wrote:

They use Beka Books apparently because the home schooling network around here pushes this stuff.

The operative word is “pushes.” Over the last 50 years I have noticed a distinct inverse correlation between the quality of a product/service and how hard the salesperson “pushes” it. The reason ought to be obvious: the less a product/service has going for it, the more one needs to resort to half-truths to “get it out the door.” Thus without even considering the evidence, evolution must be a high quality item because there’s no effort at all to hide any of its weaknnesses (the real ones, such as that it doesn’t claim to explain how life originated). If anything, evolution is “undersold,” yet manages to “sell itself” like the highest quality products and services usually do.

On that note, one of my biggest complaints to fellow “Darwinists” is that when the subject of censorship comes up, invariably by anti-evolution activists accusing us of advocating it, the typical response is merely to show that that accusation is baseless. That the anti-evolution activists might the effective censors, is not even considered, even though it is demonstrably true. Every time they “push” their “alternative science” they deliberately censor the fatal lack of evidence and mutual contradictions that plague it, as well as the refutations of their constanly recycled misrepresentations of evolution and the nature of science.

Ron Okimoto Wrote:

The book “Icons of Evolution” obviously needs a sticker in it to warn creationist rubes that the book is not suitable as a teaching resource for the public schools.

Yet it is a great resource for a non-science class, to show how peddlers of pseudoscience snake oil operate. Of course it would have to be accompanied by a point-by-point rebuttal by those who actually produce the results in those fields. If these scam artists truly wanted critical thinking, that’s what they would demand. But of course they would not be caught dead demanding that.

BTW, if the ID scammers really wanted to put their money where their mouths are with the “ID is not creationism” whine, all they have to do is put a sticker in books like “Icons,” “Darwin’s Black Box” etc., stating clearly that the book does not contain any evidence whatsoever in support of a young Earth, young life or independent origin of “kinds.”

Ron Okimoto Wrote:

[And elective class on world religions] has been a viable option for creationism since Edwards v. Aguillard (1987) but no school districts that I know of have ever tried the honest and viable option.

But they could (and probably do) defend their avoidance of that option using the same excuse that they use for their “science” class - that their “theory” is not religious. The excuse may be lame, but it sells to “fence-sitters,” and that’s all they need. But they don’t have even a lame excuse for avoiding the option I suggested - a class on pseudoscience and how it fails.

There is no place for it in public school.”

I also disagree that there’s no place for teaching religion in a public school. You just don’t teach it in a science class, but you can teach it in some world religions class. You can learn that a minority of Christians endorse a literal 6-day creation 6000 years ago as well as learning the creation accounts (and beliefs) of other religions. I expect the public schools to provide a well-rounded education (art, music, science, world religions–I’d also like them to teach critical thinking skills, logical fallacies, and as long as I’m wishing, free unicorns for all).

Ron Okimoto said:

The problem is that the goal of most of the rabble rousers is to not educate their kids, but keep them as ignorant as possible.

Actually, I suspect the goal is not to educate their own kids, which they could easily do themselves, but to beat some ol’ time religion into everyone else’s godless, devil-spawned brats. Somehow, it’s believed that making kids study the Bible and recite the Protestant version of the Lord’s Prayer each morning teaches them not to grow up into latte-sipping, Prius-driving queers, vegetarians or Democrats.

Dave Luckett said -

The top private schools - confusingly called “public schools” - can charge $12000 per year in tuition fees alone.

The tuition and fees for top private schools in the US are at least double to triple that, likely quadruple or more in many cases. Many of the most prestigious are technically but loosely affiliated with a liberal Protestant denomination. Some have scholarship programs. Catholic schools have a tradition of relatively low tuition, although this is breaking down.

I don’t know what fundamentalist schools charge; one reason for the creationist obsession with public schools is that given the large number of sects, the rural location of many congregants and the large number of low income co-religionists, fundamentalist private schools aren’t as widespread as other types of private schools.

Paradoxically, the US public school system produces excellent results by international standards, except in very low income areas. The people who use expensive private schools are the same ones who have access to the best public schools. However, there are explanations for that, not necessarily directly related to academics.

The function of the private schools is variable. A common theme of the very top ones is that they help get less gifted or more troublesome children of the elite through school and into the best possible university for the individual case; a large part of the implicit function is remedial/disciplinary.

(Another, completely different, type of fancy private school is the type that provides “loosely structured” or very artistically enriched education; these tend to be laughed at but overall have an excellent track record; their secret may be that they use rigorous entry tests; they end up with motivated, gifted children from enriched environments to begin with.)

Bigdakine said

There is something unsavory to me about a public school board member actually advocating that money actually be taken from public ed and given to private schools

Other than our disagreement about various peoples’ political rhetoric, I’ve tended to agree with your comments.

I am personally totally opposed to any government funding of private or religious schools whatsoever, and this story illustrates why. If a school in any way shape or form promotes ID/creationism, that is strong discrimination against non-fundamentalists and deception of fundamentalists. I support the right of private religious schools to teach mythology as fact. If this is done to the exclusion of science, their graduates may not qualify to take certain university courses without remedial material first, or may not qualify legally as high school graduates without remedial material. However, as long as the minimum mandatory education requirements are met (and no jurisdiction legally requires a high school diploma), I support their right to express their religious beliefs. But not with tax dollars.

For example, I have no problem with teaching “about” ID/creationism in social studies class, EXCEPT that this could be and probably would be used as a ruse. “Your science teacher was ‘required by the government’ to teach evolution, but I just want to tell you that hundreds of scientists reject evolution and favor Intelligent Design, yuk, yuk, yuk”. Inaccurate depiction of sectarian religious dogma as science in ANY class, in ANY school that receives ANY direct tax funding, is something I oppose.

Kohls seems to openly propose using taxpayer-provided vouchers for schools that in some way or form teach creationism as science, whether directly, or through the use of a cheap trick like teaching evolution “by the book” in science class and then teaching that “maybe what you just learned in science class is wrong, wink, wink” in another class. That is religious discrimination and a waste of public resources, and should not be permitted.

https... Wrote:

You can learn that a minority of Christians endorse a literal 6-day creation 6000 years ago…

John_S Wrote:

Actually, I suspect the goal is not to educate their own kids, which they could easily do themselves, but to beat some ol’ time religion into everyone else’s godless, devil-spawned brats.

You’re both right, which it’s why it’s extremely important to be clear as to which demographic we are referring to, and to resist lumping them all under a wishy-washy “creationist” label - which alone only helps the scam artists prop up the big tent. Here are some numbers that I have obtained from many sources over the years:

Approx % of adult Americans that:

1. Either has doubts of evolution or thinks it’s fair to teach “both sides” in science class: 70.

2. Will not admit evolution under any circumstances: 25.

3. Believes that the Earth - not just its life - is less than 10,000 years old: 20.

(note: 2 and 3 don’t completely overlap, so the stereotypical hopeless YEC is maybe 15%)

4. Actively promote long-refuted arguments against evolution: less than 1.

Group 4 almost exclusively home schools their kids or pays for a fundamentalist education. But they are on a mission to “save” others’ children. On the taxpayers’ dime. From what I can tell, most of group 4 does not think that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old. But they are increasingly skilled at evading questions about what they think happened, and when, instead of “Darwinism.”

Ron Okimoto said:

Why is it that in all the years that the ID perps have been lying about the science of intelligent design that no IDiots ever question why no ID lesson plan has ever been put forward to demonstrate that there is any intelligent design science worth teaching? It should seem strange that none of the IDiot supporters wants to know exactly what would be taught and how it would be taught. Really, what is the purpose of the ID creationist scam? What is the best ID science available and how would it be taught?

Just reading anything that Dembski writes can get us the answer to that question.

There is so much irony-filled whining in ID/creationist screeds that I suspect even an inexperienced student can compare this kind of crap against what appears in a real science textbook and determine which one is full of crap.

Dembski pathos is always good for a laugh; but why waste good class time to go wallow in creepy, maudlin whining?

Mike Elzinga said: Dembski pathos is always good for a laugh; but why waste good class time to go wallow in creepy, maudlin whining?

I tend to identify Dembski more with “snark”. Behe doesn’t seem to be such a bad sort personally – get onto RATE MY PROFESSORS and his students seem to find him agreeable enough – but calling Dembski a jerk is just a statement of fact, and given how determined he is to convince people he’s a jerk, there’s the outside chance that he finds it flattering.

Mike Elzinga said:

Ron Okimoto said:

Why is it that in all the years that the ID perps have been lying about the science of intelligent design that no IDiots ever question why no ID lesson plan has ever been put forward to demonstrate that there is any intelligent design science worth teaching? It should seem strange that none of the IDiot supporters wants to know exactly what would be taught and how it would be taught. Really, what is the purpose of the ID creationist scam? What is the best ID science available and how would it be taught?

Just reading anything that Dembski writes can get us the answer to that question.

There is so much irony-filled whining in ID/creationist screeds that I suspect even an inexperienced student can compare this kind of crap against what appears in a real science textbook and determine which one is full of crap.

Dembski pathos is always good for a laugh; but why waste good class time to go wallow in creepy, maudlin whining?

Dembski should be viewed as evil incarnate especially in light of his false accusation of eminent University ecologist Eric Pianka as a potential bioterrorist back in 2006 to the Federal Department of Homeland Security (Pianka was investigated.), for stealing the Harvard University cell animation video produced by the CT-based scientific animation firm XVIVO, and for other mendacious and larcenous acts. In stark contrast, Stephen Meyer and Michael Behe are near saints compared to Dembski.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/n2WhMtEQrvsR[…]DNMct2#93ec7 said:

There is no place for it in public school.”

I also disagree that there’s no place for teaching religion in a public school. You just don’t teach it in a science class, but you can teach it in some world religions class. You can learn that a minority of Christians endorse a literal 6-day creation 6000 years ago as well as learning the creation accounts (and beliefs) of other religions. I expect the public schools to provide a well-rounded education (art, music, science, world religions–I’d also like them to teach critical thinking skills, logical fallacies, and as long as I’m wishing, free unicorns for all).

Agreed, but a course on comparative religions would be most suitable, including not only Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism but also Pastafarian and Klingon Cosmology.

John_S said:

Ron Okimoto said:

The problem is that the goal of most of the rabble rousers is to not educate their kids, but keep them as ignorant as possible.

Actually, I suspect the goal is not to educate their own kids, which they could easily do themselves, but to beat some ol’ time religion into everyone else’s godless, devil-spawned brats. Somehow, it’s believed that making kids study the Bible and recite the Protestant version of the Lord’s Prayer each morning teaches them not to grow up into latte-sipping, Prius-driving queers, vegetarians or Democrats.

This may be true of the leaders of the ID scam (just read the wedge document). Guys like Johnson, Dembski and Behe likely aren’t into the dishonest politics to keep their own kids as ignorant as possible. They likely have spent enough time brainwashing them on their own. These guys have lost their moral compass and seem to have the notion that the world will go to hell unless the unwashed masses can get their morals out of a book. The morals from the book obviously aren’t meant to restrict their ID perp behavior, but it is necessary for those that need it to insure that the world that they want to live in is perpetuated. These guys literally want to take us back to the dark ages where they think that the church had the moral power that they see as slipping away. By Behe’s own reckoning the 15th century would be about right, when you could still burn the trouble makers at the stake (ID is equivalent science to astrology of the 15th century).

For most of the creationist cannon fodder that the ID perps feed on, Laurie Lebo probably had it right. Most of them do it out of fear for the ones that they love. They would rather lie to themselves and go into denial as deeply as needed in order to keep the ones that they care about from becoming a potential stray. This is their immortal souls that they want to save.

Kind of sad, but those are likely your two basic types that are involved in the ID scam.

I think the Darwinists are terrified at the prospect of ID positions on irreducible complexity and specified information etc.. even being discussed in the classroom because they know students will realize that ID is good science and evolutionism is a fraud.

Before anyone feeds, let’s remind ourselves that the person who “invented” the IC = ID scam not only conceded ~4 billion years of common descent, but never truly ruled ot “RM + NS” (the real version or his caricarure) as the cause of evolution of humans and their closest living relatives from the common ancestors. And that would be the same Michael Behe who called reading the Bible as a science text “silly” and admitted under oath at the Dover trial that the designer he claims to have caught red handed might no longer exist.

Atheistoclast said:

I think the Darwinists are terrified at the prospect of ID positions on irreducible complexity and specified information etc.. even being discussed in the classroom because they know students will realize that ID is good science and evolutionism is a fraud.

Not if they first explain what an “argument from ignorance” is.

Mike Elzinga Wrote:

There is so much irony-filled whining in ID/creationist screeds that I suspect even an inexperienced student can compare this kind of crap against what appears in a real science textbook and determine which one is full of crap.

I have no doubt that, if scam artists aren’t allowed to censor the refutations, that the only students who would fall for that scam would be the perps-in-training. And that group would be much smaller than the ~25% that heve been so brainwashed by their parents that they would not admit evolution under any circumstances. The truly hopeless Biblical literalist students (the rest of the ~25%) would reject the ID scam as conceding too much to “Darwinism.”

Frank J said:

Before anyone feeds, …

Yeah, kinda hoping no-one takes the bait. Yawn.

Atheistoclast said:

I think the Darwinists are terrified at the prospect of ID positions on irreducible complexity and specified information etc.. even being discussed in the classroom because they know students will realize that ID is good science and evolutionism is a fraud.

Then why is it that Intelligent Design proponents, yourself included, consistently refuse to demonstrate this alleged “good science” of Intelligent Design?

I mean, there is a reason why Phillip E Johnson said that Intelligent Design isn’t a science, and there is a reason why Bill Dembski refused to testify on ID’s behalf at Dover.

fnxtr said: Yeah, kinda hoping no-one takes the bait. Yawn.

Oh yeah – that’s gonna happen.

Back to the point where FL hijacked this discussion:

FL said:

Long story short, Kohls needs to consider going with the proven, sure approach:

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2008/0[…]c007391.html

The fact is that a LSEA-modeled science education policy, as written, works right now, and is Darwinist-proof, Dover-proof, ACLU-proof, even “Media”-proof, right here and now. Invincible at this time.

That’s the reality on the ground right now. If Kohls wants to do more than merely generate headlines at this time, she will HAVE to adopt the LSEA approach in terms of advocating for public policy changes.

At the same time, she use her public position to encourage churches, students, and concerned citizens to take a stronger lead on ID education advocacy within their own spheres of influence.

FL

If you look at scores for the 2011 Science and Engineering Readiness Index, (SERI) you’ll see that my beloved Ohio has a SERI score of 2.64, which puts Ohio in the “Average” category. Louisiana has a SERI score of 1.59, which is in the “Far Below Average” category.

Why on earth would Ohio want to emulate Louisiana?

FL said:

Here’s what you left out Eric. Try to respond to it.

Actually, here is what YOU have left out: any kind of substantive, credible alternatives to the currently accepted scientific explanations for those natural phenomena that challenge your religious beliefs.

Why is it that you flee from opportunities to describe such alternatives?

If you look at scores for the 2011 Science and Engineering Readiness Index, (SERI) you’ll see that my beloved Ohio has a SERI score of 2.64, which puts Ohio in the “Average” category. Louisiana has a SERI score of 1.59, which is in the “Far Below Average” category.

Why on earth would Ohio want to emulate Louisiana?

Everybody knows that Louisiana has always been among a group of 11 or 12 bottom-tier states in terms of low scores.

But nobody–and especially nobody in this forum–has been able to substantiate Stanton’s original “academic hellhole” claim that the Louisiana Science Education Act has any causal connection to those low scores.

Despite multiple requests, there’s not been one shred of published or documented or online evidence, nothing to document any quantifiable and LSEA-derived drops in Louisiana student science scores, within the past three years.

FL

FL said:

If you look at scores for the 2011 Science and Engineering Readiness Index, (SERI) you’ll see that my beloved Ohio has a SERI score of 2.64, which puts Ohio in the “Average” category. Louisiana has a SERI score of 1.59, which is in the “Far Below Average” category.

Why on earth would Ohio want to emulate Louisiana?

Everybody knows that Louisiana has always been among a group of 11 or 12 bottom-tier states in terms of low scores.

But nobody–and especially nobody in this forum–has been able to substantiate Stanton’s original “academic hellhole” claim that the Louisiana Science Education Act has any causal connection to those low scores.

Despite multiple requests, there’s not been one shred of published or documented or online evidence, nothing to document any quantifiable and LSEA-derived drops in Louisiana student science scores, within the past three years.

FL

Nor has there been any increase above “far below average”. A stunning success. Just exactly what you wish for all other states I’m sure. Way to champion good science education Floyd. But then, we knew that “far below average” was your goal all along.

FL said:

If you look at scores for the 2011 Science and Engineering Readiness Index, (SERI) you’ll see that my beloved Ohio has a SERI score of 2.64, which puts Ohio in the “Average” category. Louisiana has a SERI score of 1.59, which is in the “Far Below Average” category.

Why on earth would Ohio want to emulate Louisiana?

Everybody knows that Louisiana has always been among a group of 11 or 12 bottom-tier states in terms of low scores.

But nobody–and especially nobody in this forum–has been able to substantiate Stanton’s original “academic hellhole” claim that the Louisiana Science Education Act has any causal connection to those low scores.

Despite multiple requests, there’s not been one shred of published or documented or online evidence, nothing to document any quantifiable and LSEA-derived drops in Louisiana student science scores, within the past three years.

FL

I have not claimed that LA’s problems are a consequence of LSEA.

Perhaps you’ll answer my question, though. Why should Ohio, as you propose, take suggestions about education policy from a state that is less effective in educating its children?

I have not claimed that LA’s problems are a consequence of LSEA.

But Stanton did, and that’s the proposition that some of your comrades have been attempting to defend.

If you are suggesting that Ohio should not emulate Louisiana specifically in terms of emulating Louisiana’s generally low test scores, that’s fine.

But the reality is that LSEA doesn’t have anything to do with those low scores, and nobody in this forum has provided (either print or online) any documented evidence to the contrary.

FL

FL said:

I have not claimed that LA’s problems are a consequence of LSEA.

But Stanton did, and that’s the proposition that some of your comrades have been attempting to defend.

If you are suggesting that Ohio should not emulate Louisiana specifically in terms of emulating Louisiana’s generally low test scores, that’s fine.

But the reality is that LSEA doesn’t have anything to do with those low scores, and nobody in this forum has provided (either print or online) any documented evidence to the contrary.

FL

You explicitly recommended that Ohio adopt a policy like LSEA. I’m asking you why we should take advice from a state that’s doing worse than we are (as opposed to adopting practices from a state that’s doing better than we are)?

FL said:

I have not claimed that LA’s problems are a consequence of LSEA.

But Stanton did, and that’s the proposition that some of your comrades have been attempting to defend.

If you are suggesting that Ohio should not emulate Louisiana specifically in terms of emulating Louisiana’s generally low test scores, that’s fine.

But the reality is that LSEA doesn’t have anything to do with those low scores, and nobody in this forum has provided (either print or online) any documented evidence to the contrary.

FL

But the reality is that LSEA doesn’t have anything to do with improving those low scores, and nobody in this forum has provided (either print or online) any documented evidence to the contrary. The act did absolutely nothing to bring the scores up to acceptable levels. It didn’t let teachers do one thing that they could’t already do. Why on earth would anyone try to defend such an ineffective ploy? obviously, anyone who did would have some other reason for defending the act. Perhaps that reason is actually the one they most vociferously deny.

You explicitly recommended that Ohio adopt a policy like LSEA.

Yes. I still do. It’s well-written and rationally defensible. But If you are suggesting that Ohio not adopt a science-education policy/law modeled after the LSEA merely because the LSEA law was written and approved by the low-scoring state of Louisiana, that is simply not rational.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with Ohio generally taking its policies from a higher-scoring state, if those policies are rationally supportable and defensible.

But if you disagree with the LSEA, your disagreement should be rationally based on the quantifiable, documentable, evidential, merits or demerits of the LSEA itself.

NOT merely because you personally don’t like lower-tier Louisiana test scores in general with no rational connection to the LSEA.

FL

It didn’t let teachers do one thing that they could’t already do.

Unfortunately for you, Eric’s link to the previous Louisiana standards provided an opportunity to visibly show that the LSEA indeed included some new measures and new permissions for science teachers that were clearly NOT included in the previous Louisiana standards.

Hence your statement is refuted.

FL

FL said:

So Stevaroni wrote,

It (the LSEA) allows teachers to teach religious, anti-science propaganda.

Actually, more accurately, you can leave anti-science out of it.

It allows teachers to teach religious, anti readily-demonstrable-physical-fact propaganda.

How so, exactly? Well, Stevaroni says that it’s this part of the LSEA:

C. A teacher shall teach the material presented in the standard textbook supplied by the school system and thereafter may use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials…

So let’s check that out.

***

Okay. According to Stevaroni, Subsection “C”, (the part Stevaroni highlighted), ALLOWS science teachers to teach “religious propaganda.” Steve is saying this DIRECTLY; there is no use denying that.

Now, just go here on the LSEA:

D. This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

This is not legally optional. This is not legally negotiable. NO religious anything may be taught in Louisiana science and biology classes at anytime, regardless of Stevaroni’s opinion. This would include biblical creationism.

So, this specific part of the LSEA law clearly WIPES OUT Stevaroni’s claim that any kind of religious material, “religious propaganda”, or religious anything is being “allowed” by the LSEA.

***

Now, look at the second half of what Stevaroni said.

(LSEA supplement paragraph allows)

…”anti-science propaganda”

…”anti readily-demonstrable-physical-fact” propaganda

Again, Steve makes this claim DIRECTLY. Can’t go back and move any goalposts now.

***

Now, I’m sure that a lot of material within the biology text chapter WRT prebiotic evolution, and the evo-claim of humas origins, is actually NOT “readily demonstrable physical fact.”

But aside from that observation, what does the LSEA actually say? Again, here’s the text:

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2008/0[…]c007391.html

So what you need to remember from that LSEA text WRT Stevaroni’s claim there, is explained in plain English by Robert Crowther:

Teachers are still required to follow the standard curriculum, and school districts would still need to authorize what teachers are doing in order for the law to come into operation. Moreover, any teaching or supplemental instructional materials would have to be consistent with the **prohibition** of the promotion of religion in Section 1D of the bill. Finally, any inappropriate instructional materials could be disallowed under the bill by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

• Upon the request of a local school board, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be required to “allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.” Assistance from the State Board in this area now will “include support and guidance for teachers regarding effective ways to help students understand, analyze, critique, and objectively review scientific theories being studied.”

• Teachers will be permitted to “use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner.”

But teachers using supplemental resources must first “teach the material presented in the standard textbook supplied by the school system,” and the State Board of Education reserves the right to veto any inappropriate supplemental materials.

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2008/0[…]r008401.html

In short, Louisiana science teachers do NOT get to arbitrarily start reading Genesis 1 in biology class, nor do they got to arbitrarily start discussing anything that is “anti-science” or otherwise non-scientific in science class, and THEN bring their moves up for local/state vetting. NOPE—doesn’t work that way. LSEA expressly prohibits any religious stuff in science classes anyway.

Instead, each science teacher MUST FIRST clear their request to teach their critical thinking supplemental information, with their local school board, which also means clearing it with their own school admins and principal.

IF their request gets the nod after all that local admin/board vetting, THEN the local school board makes the request to the state board under the LSEA law for the science teacher to proceed with their stated supplemental information.

AND the science teacher has to teach the canned biology textbook material FIRST, even if the State Board grants official permission to teach the supplemental material afterwards.

So Stevaroni’s fears, though sincere, are clearly baseless when compared to the LSEA requirements.

There’s some real reasons why evolutionists and ACLU lawyers refuse to go to court on LSEA as it’s currently written. There’s some real reasons why pro-evolution efforts to repeal LSEA (including high school media sensation Zack Kopplin’s efforts) utterly failed.

***

Finally, Stevaroni appealed to history (the Freshwater incident, for example) in trying to defend his claims. So I’ll appeal to history as well.

In over THREE YEARS since LSEA became law, NONE of the three “in practice” examples described by Stevaroni has taken place WRT Louisiana public schools. Nowhere in the state has any of those three been reported. Not even one. Not even once. ZERO allegations in the media. ZERO accusations by the Louisiana ACLU.

Grade Card: LSEA’s historical track record is a solid A-Plus. Disprove it baby!

FL

let me distill this down to the essense - could a teacher use “Of Pandas and People” or similar supplimental materials from the Discovery Institute as “supplimental materials” under LSEA, or not? what about material from AiG?

who decides if those materials are appropriate? it appears from the wording of LSEA that the instructor gets to decide if “Pandas” would be ok or not, and then could use LSEA as a ‘shield’ if/when sued.

FL said:

You explicitly recommended that Ohio adopt a policy like LSEA.

Yes. I still do. It’s well-written and rationally defensible. But If you are suggesting that Ohio not adopt a science-education policy/law modeled after the LSEA merely because the LSEA law was written and approved by the low-scoring state of Louisiana, that is simply not rational.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with Ohio generally taking its policies from a higher-scoring state, if those policies are rationally supportable and defensible.

But if you disagree with the LSEA, your disagreement should be rationally based on the quantifiable, documentable, evidential, merits or demerits of the LSEA itself.

NOT merely because you personally don’t like lower-tier Louisiana test scores in general with no rational connection to the LSEA.

FL

Should you take your financial advice from chronically poor people? That’s probably not wise.

Should you study music with someone who’s tone-deaf? That’s probably not wise.

For science education policy, the smart money is on emulating the states that are doing better than we are, not on emulating one of the worst states in the nation.

who decides if those materials are appropriate?

According to the LSEA text:

1) the state school board, who retains final veto power

2) the local school board, because they have to ASK PERMISSION of the state school board for the teacher to use critical-thinking supplemental information or handouts

3) also the School-Admins, because they have to ASK PERMISSION of the local school board to petition the state board.

FL

Also, according to LSEA, no religious stuff at any level.

FL said:

Also, according to LSEA, no religious stuff at any level.

So you finally agree that it rules out intelligent design/creationism.

FL said:

You explicitly recommended that Ohio adopt a policy like LSEA.

Yes. I still do. It’s well-written and rationally defensible. But If you are suggesting that Ohio not adopt a science-education policy/law modeled after the LSEA merely because the LSEA law was written and approved by the low-scoring state of Louisiana, that is simply not rational.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with Ohio generally taking its policies from a higher-scoring state, if those policies are rationally supportable and defensible.

But if you disagree with the LSEA, your disagreement should be rationally based on the quantifiable, documentable, evidential, merits or demerits of the LSEA itself.

NOT merely because you personally don’t like lower-tier Louisiana test scores in general with no rational connection to the LSEA.

FL

What is so great about the LSEA policy if the scores of the students under its direction show such poor aptitude for science? How is it even remotely rational to adopt a policy that clearly isn’t helping the students? How else would you evaluate such a policy anyway?

The irony is that the LSEA, which FL so zealously defends, can allow teachers to promote critical thinking techniques that can actually lead some students to debunk Creationist bullcrap, Biblical dogmas, right-wing and Conservative politics, nationalist and racist bigotries, and “free-market” capitalist bunk. Oh, the arguments it will trigger among students!

Mike Elzinga said:

FL said:

Also, according to LSEA, no religious stuff at any level.

So you finally agree that it rules out intelligent design/creationism.

circleh said:

The irony is that the LSEA, which FL so zealously defends, can allow teachers to promote critical thinking techniques that can actually lead some students to debunk Creationist bullcrap, Biblical dogmas, right-wing and Conservative politics, nationalist and racist bigotries, and “free-market” capitalist bunk. Oh, the arguments it will trigger among students!

Mike Elzinga said:

FL said:

Also, according to LSEA, no religious stuff at any level.

So you finally agree that it rules out intelligent design/creationism.

Those teachers who will use this law to inject ID/creationism into their courses – and we know that there will eventually be some; otherwise why the law? – will not be the teachers who will encourage this kind of debunking.

This law is predicated on the new meme being propagated by the DI that ID/creationism is not religion; and that is the position that FL will no doubt take.

But then the question comes up about “supplemental materials” and where these come from and how they are vetted. We know from experience how this will go down. Those teachers who will exploit this law for what it was intended to do will get these materials from the usual sources at the DI, AiG, and the ICR.

The very fact that they do this means that they themselves already have all those fundamental misconceptions about physics, chemistry, and biology that all ID/creationists have; and they will have already passed these misconceptions on to their students. These are not the kinds of teachers who participate in the kinds of professional development that the best and most knowledgeable teachers participate in routinely.

The students will not have the ability to pick up on the subtle nuances of these misconceptions, and from what I know from many years of experience with AP exams, such subtle nuances are not picked up by these exams. The AP physics exams, for example, do not pick up on the misconceptions regarding entropy and the second law of thermodynamics.

And even the AP courses don’t give the full impact of what our understanding of the laws of nature says about the evolution of the universe and living organisms. At these beginning levels, there remains enormous latitude for misinformed teachers to inject serious misconceptions into the course material.

And that is exactly what this law permits without holding the teachers who do this professionally accountable.

FL has no clue about the professional responsibilities of teachers; and his only concern is to have a law that protects the professionally incompetent and irresponsible.

ID/creationism is sectarian pseudo-science; it cannot be divorced from its sectarian roots. And there is no way that FL can justify ID/creationism as a science. It is pseudo-science to the core, and it is pseudo-science with the unmistakable DNA of sectarianism.

FL said:

who decides if those materials are appropriate?

According to the LSEA text:

1) the state school board, who retains final veto power

2) the local school board, because they have to ASK PERMISSION of the state school board for the teacher to use critical-thinking supplemental information or handouts

3) also the School-Admins, because they have to ASK PERMISSION of the local school board to petition the state board.

FL

could a teacher use “Of Pandas and People” or similar supplimental materials from the Discovery Institute as “supplimental materials” under LSEA, or not? what about material from AiG?

could a teacher use “Of Pandas and People” or similar supplimental materials from the Discovery Institute as “supplimental materials” under LSEA, or not? what about material from AiG?

The only people who would know the straight Yes or No answer to those questions would be the Louisiana State Board of Education. They get to make the final call, according to the LSEA.

Also, you’d have to be very specific if you were to ask them, just as a Louisiana science teacher would have to be. Not merely ask, “Of Pandas and People”, but also what chapter, what page.

For example, the origin-of-life chapter of the second ediiton of Pandas (1993) has never been scientifically refuted, not in this forum, and not even by the old darwin-dinosaur Judge Jones. So it WOULD make a difference what chapter and what page (and even what paragraphs) you specified, regardless of the source.

You do know that if the item you ask about is religious, then LSEA prohibits it no matter what. However, just arbitrarily labeling an item “religious” merely because it has the potential of creating a few possible scientific doubts regarding a years-old high school biology textbook evolutionary claim, might not be sufficient to convince everyone that the item is indeed “religious.”

You might need to provide some rational proof that the supplemental information in question, was demonstrably religious. Would you be up for that?

FL

What did the creationists do when they could enforce LSEA? They tried to get creationism and intelligent design supplements into science textbooks. It was their first chance to test the law and what did they do? This is history. There is no doubt what LSEA was meant to do. No blather about wording or some pie in the sky intent. We already know what the bill was meant to do. What supplements were the supporters of LSEA trying to get into the textbooks? Who were the supporters? This happened just last December and guys like FL can still lie to themselves about reality.

http://www.theind.com/cover-story/7427-devolve

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on August 6, 2011 4:24 PM.

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