Ohio: Creationism’s Newest Battlefield

CREATIONISTS HAVE FAILED utterly in establishing a beach-head, or even a toehold, in the world of science — where evidence and experimental results are peer-reviewed. They have made no effort at all to penetrate the corporate world, where creationism would be as productive as astrology. But they are not content to preach their beliefs in their homes and churches. They want power.

The creationists have decided to concentrate on what they see as the soft underbelly of American society — the public school system, where education officials are elected and where scientific credentials aren’t required. (Interestingly, creationists are adopting the tactics of the extreme left. Stalinists chose the school system as one of their targets a few generations ago.)

Last year’s war against evolution — and science in general — was waged in state legislatures, where several states considered adopting the Discovery Institute’s misleadingly named Academic Freedom Act. That national legislative campaign was coordinated by the creationists. It included the release of Ben Stein’s “Expelled,” an anti-science “documentary,” a film which was produced by creationists. See: Ben Stein’s “Expelled” — A Canadian Conspiracy.

It was a devilishly clever campaign, but it failed everywhere — except in Louisiana, where that state’s moronic legislature passed an anti-science “academic freedom” law which was then signed by their creationist governor. We expect that such efforts will be revived in future years — hopefully without that ghastly film.

But that was just one campaign in a war that never seems to end. One can easily detect the rather obvious signs of yet another coordinated effort by the forces of theocracy to seize control of the nation’s schools and destroy the foundations of science.

We see continuous efforts by creationists, often using the same set of talking points (which, by “coincidence,” also show up in letters to the editor), running for office in states where they can control their schools’ curriculum and choice of textbooks. These are known as “down-ballot” races, rarely attracting any attention. Such elections are ideal for a coordinated, stealth campaign. The anti-science candidates are part of, and they can thus rely on, a nationwide, faith-based network. They are obedient, totally dedicated followers of creationist organizations. And they always lie about their objectives.

We’ve previously written about Kansas, which probably served as a pilot program for this campaign. That state continues to be in play, along with Texas, which remains quite vulnerable. Now we can see another front opening — in Ohio. In the Columbus Dispatch we read Issues add heat to state school board races

Here (with bold added for emphasis) are some excerpts:

By the end of the year, Ohio’s school superintendent and as many as 11 members of the state Board of Education will be stepping down, taking with them up to 80 years of experience.

[…]

The unprecedented turnover on the 19-member state board of education — 11 elected members and eight appointed by the governor — is the result of term limits and decisions by some to move on to new opportunities.

This sounds like the same setup they have in Kansas and Texas. Probably many — maybe most — states have similar arrangements. If so, any one election can swing the orientation of such boards from rational and pro-science to crazed and creationist. We read on:

With seven of the 11 elected seats up for grabs Nov. 4, the races are drawing increased attention from the unions representing Ohio teachers and school employees. For the first time, the Ohio Education Association, Ohio Federation of Teachers and Ohio Association of Public School Employees have joined forces to support candidates for the board.

“We’ve always endorsed, but we’re stepping it up this year,” said Bill Leibensperger, vice president of the Ohio Education Association.

Ah, so there are organized players besides the creationists. Continuing:

Board elections started drawing attention two years ago in the wake of an effort by some members to allow intelligent design or creationism to be taught in public schools.

The debate raged for months, drawing international attention, and led to the defeat of two board members who had headed the attack on evolution who then sought re-election. The campaigns against them were organized by university professors, high-school science teachers and other evolution supporters.

It didn’t start with this election cycle, nor the last. This is an age-old struggle. See Creationism: the Unending Crusade.

The article mentions the names of the candidates in the various districts, but it doesn’t mention which ones are creationists. We suspect that there are creationist candidates in every district, whether openly declared or not.

The creationists are making a play for the children of Ohio. And other states. Institutional ignorance and theocracy are coming. It’s inevitable — unless you wake up.

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