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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Telegraph article misstated testimony

Letter to the Editor

On Feb. 9, I testified before the New Hampshire House Education Committee on behalf of Discovery Institute, a Seattle think tank, in regard to science education bill HB 1457.

In short, I testified against the bill for originally requiring instruction in intelligent design; against the bill in its current form for urging general, indiscriminate skepticism toward scientific theory; but for its intent to protect the objective teaching of both sides of scientific controversy, such as arguments for Darwin’s theory and the scientific criticism of such.

This policy, embodied in Discovery Institute’s model academic freedom bill and backed by a sizeable majority of Americans, would allow students to better understand and practice scientific reasoning.

In his Feb. 10 article on the hearing, Telegraph reporter David Brooks misrepresented Discovery Institute’s position on science education policy and misstated my testimony ("Proposal would OK alternatives to evolution").

Specifically, Brooks wrote that we are “a prominent opponent to the teaching of evolution.” Actually, we want more evolution in schools, not less.

He wrote that we would grant teachers the “right to teach … ‘intelligent design.’” Actually, we oppose mandating intelligent design in public schools.

Lastly, Brooks said I said that “(t)here are non-creationist, skeptical alternatives to Darwinist theory that teachers could bring into their classroom.” Actually, I said alternatives to Darwin exist, which is trivially true, but not that “alternatives” to evolution belong in public schools.

New Hampshire deserves both sides of this story, as well as both sides of scientific controversy.

Joshua Youngkin

Program Officer

Discovery Institute

Seattle