Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ohio Board of Ed: Just Say No To Critical Thinking

The Ohio Board of Education recently decided to get rid of science standards and a model lesson plan that allowed students to hear the scientific evidence for and against macroevolutionary theory. Now kids in Ohio will go back to hearing only the evidence for macroevolutionary theory. In other words, a great boost for obscurantism and dogmatism.

I have previously argued that it is ridiculous to claim that it is unconstitutional for kids to learn about the Cambrian Explosion fossils in science class. It is also bad public policy to deny them the opportunity to learn about these fossils and decide for themselves whether they pose any problems for Darwinism.

Here is a roundup of blog posts worth considering:

The initial post on this topic at the Evolution News blog is here. A post that gives lots of helpful background on the decision of the Board is here. A post on the testimony of a biologist who helped draft the model lesson plan is here.

An interesting post lamenting the fact the public school kids are not encouraged to think critically is here, and begins:
Ohio has decided its children should not think critically about science. See here. This twisted logic has profound implications for America’s ability to compete with societies whose scientists are encouraged to think outside the box.
The post contains interesting informal interviews with a private school student and a public school student. It is a very sad reflection on the state of our public schools, but it is encouraging to think that more and more kids are being challenged to think for themselves in alternative environments, including home schools.

This post discusses why so many in the scientific community are so passionate about stamping out any attempts to encourage critical analysis of macroevolutionary theory. I discussed similar themes here. In addition to the reasons given in these two posts, let's not forget that many scientists are also motivated by politics, by the fear of losing their investment in their careers, by raw emotion, and by numerous other factors other than scientific evidence.


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