Martha Wise

LETTER from Martha Wise

EDITORIAL from The Morning Journal

NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 2-22-06, By Julie A. Short

``Wise leads charge to keep Intelligent Design out of science [education]

AVON -- Martha Wise is making the most of her remaining months as a member of the Ohio State Board of Education. She has served as a member for 27 years, and along the way has been recognized for her numerous accomplishments. Because of term limits implemented in 1995, this will be Wise's last year on the state board (she is currently running for state senate in the 13th District). Most recently, Wise was has been the driving force to eliminate language in the state's science standards that would have opened the door to teaching Intelligent Design.

On Feb. 14 [2006], the board voted 11-4 to delete the lesson during it meeting in Columbus. Last month, Wise had sponsored a motion to delete the lesson, but it was voted down 9-8. The members also directed the achievement committee to study whether a replacement is needed.

Wise, an Avon resident who represents the State Board's 2nd District, which covers Lorain, Erie, Huron, Lucas, Wood and parts of Ottawa and Seneca counties, was excited about the outcome.

"I'm not a scientist," Wise said. "I believe in God and I'm a creationist. But I believe true science should be taught in science class, and Intelligent Design, based on faith in God or religion, can be taught in other classes such as English, philosophy or great books."

The Intelligent Design movement has been gaining momentum over the years peddling its theory that a higher authority may have created life. Wise was quick to refer the recent case in Pennsylvania, where a federal judge barred a school system in Dover, Pa., from teaching Intelligent Design al ongside evolution in high school biology classes. The judge said Intelligent Design is religion "masquerading as science and that teaching it alongside evolution violates the separation of church and state."

"There are many cases out there that ... you should not teach religions or the Bible in science," Wise said. "The Edwards vs. Aguillard case of 1987 is a prime example."

The 1987 case involves the United States Supreme Court decision striking down a Louisiana law that required if evolution is taught in public schools, then creationism must also be taught. This 7-2 decision ended any prospect of public schools in the United States being legally forced to teach ... creationism. One consequence of this case was that some antievolutionists choose to use the term "Intelligent Design" instead of "creationism."

In approving Wise's motion, the board rejected a competing plan to request a legal opinion from the state's attorney general on the constitutionality of the science standards ...

Other groups that contributed to the effort include the Ohio Citizens for Science, which commented on its web site (www.ohioscience.org), "The Directors and members of Ohio Citizens for Science applaud the Ohio State Board of Education for removing the creationist material from the State Standards and Model Curriculum. We are pleased that members of the Board have affirmed the importance of honest science education in Ohio public schools, and we stand ready to assist the board however we can in advancing that effort."

"When a person takes a seat on the state board of education, we raise our right hand and swear to uphold the constitution of the state of Ohio and of this nation," Wise said. "I feel that I am complying with the laws of this nation. I also feel that I'm saving the taxpayers of Ohio millions of dollars."

"This is a great decision for science, a great decision for the students and a great decision for the state of Ohio," she continued. "I've always thought my greatest achievement on the board has been raising student achievement and this is another way to do it."''

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LETTER from Martha Wise, 2006

Mrs. Martha Wise is an elected member of the state board of education, representing the counties of Erie, Huron, Lorain, Lucas, Wood, part of Ottawa, and part of Seneca. Her term ends this year [2006]. She is also the Republican candidate for Ohio Senate District 13: Lorain, Huron and eastern Seneca counties.

``I believe in God the Creator. I believe in Freedom. I believe in America, and the state of Ohio, and the Republican Party, fiscal conservatism, fairness and honesty.

These values guided me last week to lead the Ohio Board of Education to remove creationism from our state's Science Standards and Model Curriculum.

You may ask: Why would being a creationist make me want to remove ... "intelligent-design" creationism from the standards? It's simple, really:

It is deeply unfair to the children of this state to mislead them about the nature of science.

The future of Ohio's prosperity depends on a well-educated workforce that understands science. The future of religious freedom in this country depends on the electorate understanding that modern science is not a threat to faith. Atheists who say science disproves God are misrepresenting science just as badly as the most disingenuous "creation-science" peddlers.

Creationism is religion and deserves to be respected as religion, and protected. Creationists do not all believe exactly the same thing. This may be the best-kept secret in the whole creationist movement. So if we were going to teach Creationism or other religious concepts in school, how would we decide whose view to teach? How can we be fair to all people of faith? The founding fathers came to the conclusion that the only way to protect religion was for the government to keep its nose out of it. I believe the founding fathers were right.

Creationism is not science. A gazillion court decisions have shown that. Most recently, at last year's "Pennsylvania Panda Trial," PA's answer to Tennessee's "Scopes Monkey Trial" the judge made clear that Intelligent Design and its stand-in "teach the controversy" are religion, not science.

Christians, Jews, scientists, and parents convinced the conservative federal judge John Jones, a Tom Ridge protégé recommended for the bench by Rick Santorum and appointed by George W. Bush, that good science is not a red state - blue state issue.

The judge ruled that evolution is good science; it's not atheism; it's accepted by many religious people; and that the elected officials who promoted Intelligent Design repeatedly lied to conceal their true agenda, imposing their own religious view about creation on public school students with diverse religious beliefs.

"It is ironic," Jones remarked of board members, that "these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks".

Jones upheld American Freedom by ruling that "teach-the-controversy" is illegal; the so-called "controversy" is a lie. Henceforth the board is prohibited from "requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution" ...

Judge Jones said Intelligent Design and other manufactured controversies are "a mere re-labeling of creationism." He said school board officials are lying when they claim they're attacking evolution so kids can learn "critical thinking."

Until last week, Ohio had its own re-labeling program for creationism, using the term "critical-analysis" instead of Intelligent Design.

If it had gone to court here in Ohio, some of the evidence would have come from the Freedom of Information Act documents that Ohio Citizens for Science (www.ohioscience.org) and Americans United for Separation of Church and State (www.au.org) collected from the Dept of Education. These documents demonstrate 4 things:

1) At least one backer of "critical analysis" on the board expressed religious motivation. Not only did this policy start out as a motion to put Intelligent Design in the standards, allegations that evolution is atheism have been part and parcel of this the whole way along.

2) Evolution was singled out, specifically targeted for disparaging and denigrating treatment, in the words of Judge Jones. Other sciences were not.

3) The science lesson writing committee was packed with creationists. The co-authors of the "critical-analysis" lesson plan are on record being cross-examined by a lawyer at the Kansas creationism hearings in 2005. Are these the science experts you'd want to go to court with?

4) Department staff reported during the process that the material in the lesson was wrong. It was not science. It was religion. It was creationism. They said, and I quote: "wrong", "inaccurate", "non-scientific", "horrible", "a lie", "crackpot", "religious", "intelligent design", "creationism", etc. Outside reviewers said it was "an insult to science." ...

Our board had to decide whether to waste millions of taxpayer dollars to hear a federal judge tell them the same thing Judge Jones told the Dover, PA board: "It's religion masquerading as science; it's a breach of public trust; it's a lie; and it's illegal."

We chose to stand up for kids, for the state of Ohio, for freedom of religion, and for the integrity of science.

The public trusts us to uphold first-class standards and to protect democracy and religious freedom. So, we set aside our differences and did the right thing for Ohio and Ohio's children.''

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EDITORIAL from The Morning Journal, 2-17-06

``Hats off to Martha Wise of Avon for rescuing Ohio's science teaching standards from the tall weeds where science was in danger of getting mixed up with religion.

We hope it's the last time such action is necessary.

Wise is this area's representative to the Ohio Board of Education. This week, she led the board in removing a science teaching standard and related lesson plan adopted in 2004 that encouraged children to seek evidence for and against evolution. That standard was inserted following intense pressure by supporters of intelligent design, a modernized version of old-fashioned, non-scientific creationism.

Creationism supports the literal biblical creation story of the origin of the world in which we live. Intelligent design says the complexity of the world requires an intelligent designer behind the rise of life. Evolution, based on scientific studies, holds that life developed over billions of years through random biochemical events. Evolution does not require involvement of a god as the designer of life, but some evolution supporters also note that it does not preclude the existence of God or His influence in the rise of life ...

The board's action also removes the possibility of a court challenge. A federal judge ruling in a Pennsylvania case last year [2005] declared that intelligent design is religion disguised as science and teaching it in public schools violates separation of church and state. Ohio Gov. Bob Taft recently called for a legal review of the Ohio standard that the state school board has now eliminated ...

Evolution is science. Creationism and intelligent design are in the realm of religion. Only science belongs in Ohio's science teaching standards and lessons. The state school board has expended far too much time and energy on this issue.

Ohio's children would be much better off if the board members instead united in demanding that lawmakers heed the Ohio Supreme Court's order to replace the unconstitutional school funding system based on property taxes with a totally new, fair system. Levy funding is Ohio's true education crisis, and it can't be ignored any longer.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 2-15-06, From staff and wire reports

``State board eliminates disputed science lesson

COLUMBUS -- The Ohio Board of Education voted yesterday to eliminate language in the state's science standards that critics had said opened the door to teaching intelligent design.

The Ohio Board of Education decided 11-4 [on 2-14-06] to delete a science standard and correlating lesson plan encouraging students to seek evidence for and against evolution. Members also directed a committee to study whether a replacement is needed.

Board member Martha Wise, an Avon resident who represents the 2nd State Board District, which covers Lorain, Erie, Huron, Lucas, Wood and parts of Ottawa and Seneca counties, pushed to eliminate the material and said the board took the correct action to avoid problems posed by the science standards, including the possibility of a lawsuit.

''It is deeply unfair to the children of this state to mislead them about science,'' Wise said.

The board vote represents the latest setback for the intelligent design movement, which holds that life is so complex it must have been created by a higher authority.

[Where is there any evidence for Intelligent Design, in some benign sense?

We, the Lords of Creation, have backs that are often unsuited for bipedalism, immune systems that kill or cripple us with their defensive response, and -- above all -- a moral sense that glorifies murder in the name of whatever. This last defect may result in our extinction after a relatively short run as a species. If these defects are not the result of random accidents, then are we the product of Malevolent Design?

The evidence advanced to support the concept of Intelligent Design only supports the idea that an evil intelligence rules the universe. Are we the play things of a Monster that likes making butterflies so that It can tear their wings off?]

In December [2005], a federal judge barred the school system in Dover, Pa., from teaching intelligent design alongside evolution in high school biology classes. The judge said intelligent design is religion masquerading as science and that teaching it alongside evolution violates the separation of church and state.

Yesterday's vote was a reversal of a 9-8 decision a month ago to keep the lesson plan. But three board members who voted in January to keep the plan in place were absent yesterday, and supporters of the science standard pledged to force a new vote to return the material ...

In approving Wise's motion, the board rejected a competing plan to request a legal opinion from the state's attorney general on the constitutionality of the science standards ...

Only one member changed his vote from January: Jim Craig, an elected member from Canton, said he wanted the board to stop the ongoing fight before it spilled into other policies ...''

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