Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ohio science

Thanks to the Ohio Citizens for Science, a story from The Columbus Dispatch:
[N]ewly released memos show how Gov. Bob Taft’s office struggled to manage the issue three years ago.

The behind-the-scenes maneuvering doesn’t match public statements made by the Taft administration at the time.

One e-mail shows that even as the administration was denying reports that it was pressuring the State Board of Education, Taft’s then-Chief of Staff Brian K. Hicks was directing an aide to line up board members’ support for Taft’s position — allowing "intelligent design" to be taught alongside evolution in Ohio’s science curriculum.

Intelligent design says that a higher, unnamed intelligence must have played a role in the development of living things.

In November 2002, after the board unanimously approved its intent to adopt science stan- dards and just weeks before its final vote, Hicks wrote Elizabeth Ross, then Taft’s education liaison:

"You should call (Carl) Wick, (Jim) Craig and (Sam) Schloemer and let them know that the Gov. strongly supports the science standards that passed with a 17-0 vote. He does not want to see changes to the proposal and hope that these members will not support any changes to the standards.

"Let me know if I need to call anyone . . . we don’t want this thing to unravel."

A few hours earlier, Ross had informed Hicks that the board’s leading advocate for intelligent design had called and was livid about an attempt to return to evolution-only standards.

Patricia Princehouse, an evolutionary biologist at Case Western Reserve University, said the e-mails among Taft staffers prove what was long suspected by her and others opposed to including intelligent design in the standards — that the administration was in regular contact with key board members and tried to influence the board’s vote.
At least the Kansas governor wasn't secretly pushing IDC either time this came up. Of course, Taft just got indicted in an unrelated probe, so he's no role model.

I'd love to see the emails that went between Board members here. Their public statements were looney enough.