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Vote Against 'Extremist Thinking' Candidates

Letter to the Editor

I have lived in the Stevenson High School district for over 10 years and look forward to my now 7th and 4th grade children being able to attend one of the best high schools in Illinois, if not the nation. I find it ironic that the new ‘125’ school board candidates are in part running on a platform of less taxation. It’s hard to argue against lower taxes, or motherhood or apple pie for that matter. However, these particular candidates are not only vague on how they plan to lower our tax bills, but they are also vague about exactly who they are, what they believe and what they wish to promote.

Their own web site (http://vote125for125.org) does have some ‘red flags.' With regard to the curriculum (the most important issue for me), they state that they “seek a common ground approach that exposes students to both the strengths and weaknesses of neo-Darwinian and chemical evolutionary theories.” This specific wording has been used as ‘code language’ for over 20 years as a back door method to get creationism taught in public school science classses, so much so that the phrase itself has its own Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strengths_and_weaknesses_of_evolution).

While evolution is indeed a theory, it's a scientific one, just like relativity, gravity and quantum mechanics. Whatever your theological beliefs, creationism has no business being taught as science in public schools, and it’s against the Constitution to do so. Furthermore, two of the three candidates belong to a church whose own web site (http://www.hbclz.org) proudly quotes from past sermons on creationism, including frankly incendiary comments like "Today our duty is to destroy the myth of evolution”. To assume that teaching creationism in science is not part of their agenda would be foolish. And just imagine what would happen to your property taxes if a school board with this ideology was successful. The legal fees involved in defending the inevitable lawsuit would dwarf all other taxation concerns.

I encourage everyone to go to the polls on April 5 and vote against this kind of extremist thinking. Our children will be much better served by the candidacies of Moons, Lubin, Roberts and Weisberg (http://www.united4stevenson.org).

Carl Kalbhen, MD

Long Grove

Elizabeth Graupe March 14, 2011 at 09:40 PM
I also noticed that they had updated their website. I did not know that the poll had been commissioned by the Discovery Institute. In any case, I felt that the quote indicated a willingness to state statistics when they support the cause, but to ignore them when they don't. (80% of people may support this type of "skepticism," but essentially no biologists do, as you have pointed out in previous posts.) And while skepticism may indeed be an important factor in scientific research, there are still "givens" which are understood to be accepted science. (beating a familiar drum here, I know, so I'll stop) Thanks for all your great posts - I am a follower at this point. :-) Looking forward to the candidates' forum tomorrow night!
Carl Kalbhen, MD March 14, 2011 at 09:57 PM
Great point! If 80% of people deny the Holocaust, should we teach that in school? I care what the "experts" in their fields think (be they biologists, historians, mathematicians, etc.), not what Joe Public does.
SeriouslyFolks March 17, 2011 at 03:21 AM
Can anyone answer this question? Why are supporters of the incumbents so intolerant and hateful---and writing like bullies? If they're so sure they're going to win, why don't they sit back and let the truth play out? The truth ALWAYS comes out in the end. For that reason, I'm moving on and talking to people one-on-one. These blogs are a poor substitute for real community. And this community needs healing--- healing that will never happen if we all sit at home on our keyboards and rant.
Just Saying... March 17, 2011 at 05:14 AM
Does Cardella Want Creationism Taught At Stevenson? "Although denying creationism has a role in science classes, Cardella has said teachers should instruct students about the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution. He used the phrase in February when talking to the Daily Herald about the issue, and again Tuesday night during a public candidate forum at Stevenson High. “I believe students understanding both Darwin’s theory and also the strengths and weaknesses of that theory is important, based on what we’ve learned here just in the last 100 years,” Cardella said at the gathering. When asked about the phrase Wednesday morning, Cardella said he believes “any type of scientific theory” has strengths and weaknesses. Science has changed since Darwin’s time, he said. “Why shouldn’t students be informed — taught — about what we’ve learned (since then)?” he said. “Not everything in the theory is right. Not everything in the theory is bulletproof.” But some say the phrase — which dates back to the 1990s — is used by creationists to undermine the teaching of the theory that man evolved over the millennia. “It means that they want to teach creationism,” said Josh Rosenau, programs and policy director for the National Center for Science Education, a nonprofit group that defends the teaching of evolution in public schools." Read more: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110316/news/703169882/#ixzz1GpZ3Ylx1
Carl Kalbhen, MD March 17, 2011 at 05:34 PM
I've been reading more than posting of late, but I am excited that the Daily Herald has also picked up on the "strengths and weaknesses" topic (http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110316/news/703169882/). The DH article is great, but I really want to relay a quote from one of the commenters that I think is just outstanding (and no, it's not me using a pseudonym): "The remarks by Charles Cardella revealed both a discouraging ignorance of science, and also a worrisome political agenda. First, the original theory proposed 150 years ago by Charles Darwin has advanced tremendously. There are just three of his ideas left; inheritable variation, reproductive selection, and common descent. We don't teach Darwin anymore, so criticism of Darwin is wasted classroom time. On the political front, how can anyone remotely qualified to serve on a school board not know about creationist efforts to illegally inject religion into science classrooms? The Dover, Pa School Board lost a million dollars that way. So, I conclude that Mr. Cardella is either unqualified, or he is lying. I would also recommend against voting for a liar."

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