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Friday, December 09, 2005 

ID rumblings in Muscatine, Iowa

From The Muscatine Journal:
Although they don’t all agree on the merits of intelligent design, most members of the Muscatine School District Board of Education believe that students should know about it, and they agree that it will likely be discussed by the Board within the next two years.

Ann Hart, vice president of the Muscatine School Board, said she would not remove evolution from the school district’s curriculum, because of its scientific basis, but that students should also know about intelligent design.

“I think somewhere along the line, intelligent design should be brought up because a lot of people believe in it; and, otherwise, kids aren’t going to understand it as well as they should,” Hart said. “I don’t think we should go in-depth with it, just let kids know what it’s about and that it’s what some people believe and then go on to evolution. I believe in evolution, for sure, but we do need to let kids know this is something that people believe.”
I wonder if she's contemplated that there are thousands of things "that people believe" that are not taught in schools, and by opening the door to one of them, you're leaving a crack for all the other nutty ideas that are out there.
Muscatine School Board member Clyde Evans said he would not be opposed to the teaching of intelligent design in Muscatine’s schools, and agreed that it would probably be discussed when the science curriculum was being reviewed.

Evans compared the workings of the human body, universe and nature to a fine watch in their design and operation. “I think if you look at how very complicated and very sophisticated it is, there’s probably as much credit for (intelligent design) as for (evolution), and probably more,” he said.
Ah, yes, Paley's Natural Theology...which, of course, ID isn't, according to Gonzalez et al. What's not noted is that many people believe in evolution *and* give credit to God at the same time. Earlier in the article (that I snipped out for brevity), the reporter describes evolution as an "unguided" force, but theistic evolutionists have no problem believing God played some role in how things turned out. Maybe someone should ship the school board a copy of "Finding Darwin's God" as a Christmas gift.
Board member Tom Welk was also supportive of intelligent design in school curriculum, although he said he had not studied the subject to the extent that he had an exact definition of intelligent design.

“Personally, I’m a believer,” he said. “We have not discussed it as a Board, but I would probably be supportive of it being taught. Of course, I’d still need an exact definition of it.”
*Snicker* Good luck with that--even the ID supporters don't agree on an "exact definition" of it.
Welk said that should intelligent design be discussed, he expected Iowan’s reactions and thoughts to be similar to the residents of Kansas.
A comparison to Kansas is not a good thing, as they just received a big fat F on their science standards.
Board member Paul Brooks said he was still deciding his position on intelligent design.

“I know what I believe, but I guess my feeling is I don’t know if I want atheist people in teaching positions trying to talk about intelligent design,” he said. “If I could determine who the instructors were, that’d be different. Right now, I’m confident our teachers give students a fair assessment of the creation.”
Hmmm, what "assessment of the creation" are your teachers now giving?? Sounds like Mr. Brooks is saying that if his teachers agree to indoctrinate kids in the specific way he agrees with, he'd be OK with it--but none o' them atheist teachers telling the young-ins that ID's hokey, now, y'hear??
But at least one Board member, president Jerry Lange, said he would feel uncomfortable with intelligent design in school curriculum. Lange did agree that it was likely to be an issue in the next two years.

Lange believed intelligent design was an attempt to put religious doctrine into schools, and while he did think it would be acceptable to introduce the idea to students as far as explaining its purpose, he would not support any significant teaching of intelligent design.
Thank you, Mr. Lange, for being the voice of reason.

As mentioned yesterday, Iowa doesn't have state science standards, so each district sets their own curriculum. This is good and bad for us: good, because the national ID groups can't simply target a state school board to push for inclusion of ID, but bad, because instead of potentially fighting one battle, we could potentially have to deal with this in every district individually. For Iowans interested in these issues, I'll again mention that we now have a Iowa Citizens for Science organization in our state, so keep an eye on that website and email me at iowascienceATgmailDOTcom for more information.

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About me

  • I'm Tara C. Smith
  • From Iowa, United States
  • I'm a mom and a scientist, your basic stressed-out, wanna-have-it-all-and-do-it-all Gen Xer. Recently transplanted from Ohio to Iowa, I've spent most of my life in the midwest (with 4 years of college spent out east in "soda" territory). My main interest, and the subject of my research, is infectious disease: how does the microbe cause illness? What makes one strain nasty, and another "avirulent?" Are the latter really not causing any disease, or could some of those be possible for the development of chronic disease years down the road? Additionally, I've spent a lot of time discussing the value of teaching evolution, and educating others about "intelligent design" and other forms of creationism. My interest in history of science and medicine is also useful as a way to tie all of the above interests together. [Disclaimer: the views here are solely my own, and do not represent my employer, my spouse, that guy who's always sitting by the fountain when I come into work, or anyone else with whom I may be remotely affiliated.]
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