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Ohio Board Hears Debate on an Alternative to Darwinism

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS December 12, 2002

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 11 - The state school board unanimously approved on Tuesday standards that more strongly advocate the teaching of evolution while letting students fully criticize the legitimacy of the theory.

The standards do not require the teaching or testing of the alternate "intelligent design" theory, which says a higher intelligence guides the universe. The vote was 18 to 0, with 1 absence.

The board has worked since January on the guidelines, which teachers will be encouraged, but not required, to follow. They will be the basis of new tests that students have to pass to graduate. Evolution will be the sole origin-of-life theory on the tests, meaning that schools that avoid teaching Darwinian theory may put their students at a disadvantage.

Local districts may decide to teach intelligent design, the idea that life must have been designed by a nonspecified higher power because it is so complex, or other theories. The current standards to teach science to the 1.8 million students in Ohio do not mention the word "evolution." They recommend teaching "change through time," but do not specify what that involves.

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