Thursday, February 16, 2006

Ohio is OK

It's almost old news by this point: on Tuesday the Ohio Board of Education voted 11 to 4 to strike from their curriculum a biology lesson plan that mandated critical analysis of evolution. The decision, another setback for the intelligent design campaign, is an about face for a state which was the first to adopt special standards for criticizing evolution in 2002.

The decision is the right one - singling out evolution alone among scientific theories for critical analysis is clearly inappropriate. However, as I wrote last month, it's important for the champions of Darwinian evolution not to tip the scales too far in the direction of unquestioning acceptance of evolution. All scientific theories, including the theory of evolution, deserve to be critically analyzed by the students to whom they are taught. After all, it is that analysis that prompts the important, searching questions that help move science, including the science of evolution, forward.

No matter how many courtroom victories evolution claims, if it is ultimately taught in biology classrooms nationwide as a set of fixed, settled principles about which nothing more remains to be said, it will be a loss for science.

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