What exactly is Dover design? Far from intelligent - Evolution News & Views

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What exactly is Dover design? Far from intelligent

The York Daily Record is reporting on the first ever reading of a statement about intelligent design to Dover School District ninth graders in biology classes. The story raises the issue of whether or not students are even learning about intelligent design theory, and seems to conclude that they are not.

According to YDR the statement read to students says i part:

"Intelligent design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's views. The school leaves the discussion of the origins of life to individual students and their families."
One has to wonder why the ACLU and others are so upset that someone read a statement saying that there are other viewpoints. Intelligent design is never explained or even defined in the statement. So, then one has to wonder why the school board is so insistent that this statement be read, and then that the issue be ignored for the next 19 days of instruction on Darwinian evolution.
YDR reports:
"Dover Area School District's Web site says ninth-grade biology students will spend 19 days studying natural selection, the mechanism of evolution and the origins of biodiversity. According to the instruction guide:
• Students will be able to list evidences used to support Darwin's theory of the Origins of Species.
• Students will be able to make a timeline that demonstrates evolutionary changes during the history of Earth.
• Students will be able to define natural selection and artificial selection and demonstrate the process.
• Students will be able to describe how speciation takes place, using Darwin's finches as an example.
• Students will be able to list how species change due to reproductive isolation."
So, where is it that students actually learn about intelligent design?
Apparently not in the classroom. No discussion of the issue is even allowed, let alone encouraged.
"After students heard the statement, they were told that if they had any questions, they should speak to their parents or contact district administrators, students said. They were also told they could refer to one of 60 copies of the book, "Of Pandas and People," kept in the high-school library."
In the AP story, Martha Raffaele reports:
"Students who sat in the classroom were taught material which is religious in content, not scientific, and I think it's unfortunate that has occurred," said Eric Rothschild, a Philadelphia attorney representing the plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit."
Say what? Doesn't seem to me they were taught anything with that statement, religious or otherwise.

Instead of mandating the teaching of intelligent design (never mind that they don't seem to be teaching it at all in Dover), school boards should follow the lead of Ohio and incorporate the critical analysis of evolution into their biology curriculum. The Ohio State Board of Education adopted science standards that require students to "Describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory." Then they adopted a model lesson plan to show teachers how to discuss both the evidence that supports Darwin's theory, as well as some of the scientific challenges to Darwinian evolution.

Instead, in Dover, students will learn how to "list evidences used to support Darwin's theory of the Origins of Species." No wonder they're being sued.

One final note to correct the YDR story. YDR inaccurately states:

"While West said Discovery opposes the teaching of intelligent design in public schools, he said if Dover wants to get the concept into the curriculum, then it should be fully discussed as opposed to merely mentioned."
I'm absolutely sure that CSC Associate Director John West said that Discovery opposes mandating the teaching of intelligent design. Our position has always been that it is permissable to teach intelligent design theory in public schools, but that we do not believe that government should be forcing it to be taught.