Friday, May 4, 2007

Ohio takes control of classroom discussions

Transcript of today's show:

A proposal before the Ohio Board of Education would mandate a formula teachers must use for classroom discussions on controversial issues such as evolution, global warming, cloning, and stem-cell research. Those who are against the plan say the proposal would allow for teaching intelligent design theory in schools. Supporters say the plan would simply allow for criticism of Darwinian evolution. More as this story develops. [source: Patricia Hawke, staff writer of Schools K-12]

Listen to the 1-minute broadcast of this story [mp3]

Sound Off: Science & Faith. Our point/counterpoint regulars Shelley (the voice of science) and Peter (the voice of faith), comment on the story.

The Voice of Science: Shelley Greene, Ph.D., comments:
Hmm, is it my imagination, or is this another well-intentioned, good-for-the-children injunction rife with nefarious consequences? My concern is not with the criticism of evolution, nor with the perceived need that controversial discussions must be closely supervised. Kids need to talk about these things, and they need to be free to ask lots of questions. However, I’m curious (concerned) about what the Ohio Board means by ‘mandate a formula’. Whose formula? What kind of formula? If the formula is supervised by a teacher with a particular point of view or, God forbid, an agenda, then the formula becomes a tool of indoctrination. Is this well-intentioned, good-for-the-kids yet another obfuscation from the Christian legislative soldiers?

The Voice of Faith: Peter Williamson, M.Div., comments:
Since we’re owning up to the fact that we cannot shield our children entirely from controversial discussions – and we should not -- it is high time we, as adults, parents and teachers, all get honest about it. The debate over the validity of evolution has been raging for 150 years. Even Darwin himself had doubts about his own theory. Healthy skepticism is indeed healthy. The lack thereof could be given any number of adjectives, such as delusional, pretentious, foolish, deceptive,… Reconciling the divergent views of secular science and biblical scripture is indeed a deeply sensitive subject for children who are exposed to science curriculum in their schools and also for older Christians trying to come to terms with the validity of their faith. In the context of debating and navigating these divergent branches of ‘truth’, Creation Theory and Intelligent Design should naturally be profferred as an alternative to Evolution.