Back to school

Dover science teacher, science education expert testify this morning

Bertha Spahr, the chair of the science department at Dover HS and a 40-year veteran of the district, and Dr. Brian Alters, a science education expert from McGill University in Montreal, testified this morning as the Intelligent Design Challenge, Week 3, kicked off in courtroom #2 at the federal building in Harrisburg.

Opposing counsel Patrick Gillen handled cross-examination of Mrs. Spahr, and it was, essentially, a rehashing of the facts regarding Mrs. Spahr’s various meetings with school board officials.

Dr. Alters has been involved in the controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution and regularly advises teachers on how to handle it. He is the author of five books, including Defending Evolution in the Classroom, which was published in 2001, and most of his peer-reviewed articles concern the teaching of evolution.

In direct questioning from Vic Walczak, our legal director, Dr. Alters stated that not teaching evolution in biology “would be the equivalent of teaching physics without teaching gravity.”

“Evolution is special culturally,” he said. “It is not special scientifically.”

Dr. Alters became especially animated when he launched into the statement that is read to 9th grade biology students before the evolution chapter begins. He testified that the statement “detracts from (good scientific education).”

We’ll have more on Dr. Alters’ analysis of the statement later this afternoon, but now this writer has to get back to class, errr, court.

Submitted by Andy Hoover, community education organizer, ACLU of PA

1 thought on “Back to school

  1. Perhaps the theory of evolution has made life miserable to all science teachers. I don’t get the point of being conservative in handling issues on that subject. To remedy this, the mode of teaching must be changed to avoid any errors.

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