October 26, 2006
More on Ohio’s Fink tank
Just 75 more reasons why Deborah Owens Fink will fail in her efforts to take Ohio’s schools back to the Dark Ages:
In an unusual foray into electoral politics, 75 science professors at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland have signed a letter endorsing a candidate for the Ohio Board of Education.
The professors’ favored candidate is Tom Sawyer, a former congressman and onetime mayor of Akron. They hope Mr. Sawyer, a Democrat, will oust Deborah Owens Fink, a leading advocate of curriculum standards that encourage students to challenge the theory of evolution.
Elsewhere in Ohio, scientists have also been campaigning for candidates who support the teaching of evolution and have recruited at least one biologist from out of state to help.
Lawrence M. Krauss, a physicist at Case Western Reserve who organized the circulation of the letter, said almost 90 percent of the science faculty on campus this semester had signed it. The signers are anthropologists, biologists, chemists, geologists, physicists and psychologists.
The letter says Dr. Owens Fink has “attempted to cast controversy on biological evolution in favor of an ill-defined notion called Intelligent Design that courts have ruled is religion, not science.”
In an interview, Dr. Krauss said, “This is not some group of fringe scientists or however they are being portrayed by the creationist community,” adding, “This is the entire scientific community, and I don’t know of any other precedent for almost the entire faculty at an institution” making such a statement.
But Dr. Owens Fink, a professor of marketing at the University of Akron, said the curriculum standards she supported did not advocate teaching intelligent design, an ideological cousin of creationism. Rather, she said, they urge students to subject evolution to critical analysis, something she said scientists should endorse. She said the idea that there was a scientific consensus on evolution was “laughable.”
“Laughable” is certainly an accurate description of Owens Fink, who recently described the National Academy of Sciences as “a group of so-called scientists.” (“Dr.” Owens Fink, in turn, should probably be referred to as a “so-called” professor, since she has only associate status.) A long-time ID apologist, she was behind the 2001 nomination of Robert Lattimer, de facto leader of Ohio’s ID movement, to serve on the state’s educational science advisory committee. Since then, Owens Fink has been a tireless campaigner for the anti-science brigade—tireless and unsuccessful.
Sawyer will hopefully enable her to sustain that record of failure.
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