Tuesday, February 27, 2001

Evolution supplement urged

By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ANDERSON TWP. — A group of parents and former students from Forest Hills School District wants the board to include “intelligent design” as a supplement to science textbooks that teach evolution.

        Joel Roadruck of Anderson Township, one of nine people who spoke to the Forest Hills Board of Education Monday night, asked the board to consider teaching from an additional textbook that focuses on intelligent design to explain the origins of life.

        Intelligent design says:

        • The world is too complex for it to just naturally evolve.

        • There had to be an intelligent designer who had a hand in creating the world.

        Essentially, it offers scientific evidence to support the idea of an intelligent designer, Mr. Roadruck said, whoever that designer might be.

        Group members said they did not intend to establish religion in schools.

        “We're not saying don't teach evolution,” Mr. Roadruck said in an interview before the meeting. “If it's a good theory, then it should be able to stand with views that are counter to it. To not tell children there are other ideas on the subject of origins is wrong. You're limiting free speech and thought.“

        New textbooks for grades K-12 were approved at Monday's meeting. The texts include primarily a study of evolutionary biology — standard fare for most public schools.

        The textbooks were selected after a year and a half of study by a committee of science teachers, department chairmen and administrators.

        Superintendent John Patzwald recommended the text books be approved but said that does not preclude use of supplemental material and openness of discussion in science classes.

        Three high school and middle school science department chairpersons, who spoke at the meeting, said they already allow open discussion, but do not teach intelligent design.

        Board member Winifred Clayton said she didn't find balance regarding the origin of life in the new textbooks.

        “I'm not getting into any philosophical ideas here. I'm talking about science. I think students need to know scientists don't all agree, and they (students) don't get that at all from these textbooks.”

        She abstained on the textbook vote, which passed 4-0 with her abstention.

        After the meeting, Mr. Roadruck said the dialogue needs to continue. “We will continue to petition the board to have a balance here.”


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