Ohio Group Lobbies for Standards Changes

Science Excellence for All Ohioans (SEAO), a group described on their web site as a project of the American Family Association of Ohio, claims that the biggest problem in science education in Ohio is the "censoring" of "evidence for design." Their mission includes lobbying for changes in the newly introduced statewide science standards to include intelligent design (ID). Also posted on their web site is a bill, not yet introduced in the Ohio legislature, calling for "both scientific evidence supporting or consistent with the theory [of evolution] and scientific evidence not supporting or inconsistent with the theory shall be included" in the science curriculum. State Representative Linda Reidelbach is listed as the bill's sponsor.

A similar bill was introduced in Ohio in 2000. HB 679 required that "evidence against evolution" be taught whenever evolution is taught. However it was not acted upon by the committee during 2000 and was not considered before the legislature adjourned. Concerned NCSE members reported that several legislators expressed their approval of the bill The bill's chief sponsor, Ron Hood, lost his bid for re-election in November 2000.

The proposed standards are on the web at and the site provides forms for citizens to provide feedback. SEAO is urging supporters to use the forms to file pro ID arguments by the January 31 cutoff date.

The changes SEAO proposes to the new standards include removal of a reference to the age of the earth, the introduction of intelligent design as a scientifically valid alternative to evolution, and references to William Paley (Natural Theology, 1802) and Michael Behe (Darwin's Black Box, 1996) to be added where discussion of Darwin, Mendel and Lamarck take place.

Ohio NCSE members are encouraged to contact the office for more details.

The National Center for Science Education is a nonprofit organization, based in Oakland, California, dedicated to defending the teaching of evolution in the public schools. On the web at www.ncseweb.org.

Skip Evans, NCSE Network Project Administrator.