Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Leonard Dissertation Committee Issues Statement

The Discovery Institute's Evolution News and Views blog has posted a statement by Robert DiSilvestro, a Ph.D. Biochemistry, Professor of Human Nutrition, and Glen R. Needham Ph.D. Associate Professor of Entomology, both of Ohio State University, and members of Bryan Leonard's dissertation committee.

Leonard was part of the intelligent design roadshow that performed in front of the credulous on the Kansas school board last May.

In June, The Lantern, the student newspaper at Ohio State University, reported that, "Ohio State doctoral candidate Bryan Leonard's dissertation is being investigated by the School of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education as a result of controversies surrounding Leonard's views on evolution, his use of human subjects for testing and his public association of his beliefs with OSU."

OSU professors Brian W. McEnnis, a mathematics professor, Jeffrey K. McKee, an anthropology professor, and Steve Rissing, a biology professor, wrote a letter to Carole Anderson, an interim dean in the graduate school, saying that, "There is evidence that Mr. Leonard's dissertation committee has been improperly constituted and that his research may have involved unethical human subject experimentation."

DeSilvestro and Needham, both intelligent design proponents assert in their statement that:
Although we have now learned of an apparent policy within T&L that there be two members from science education on science education dissertation committees, it does not appear that this policy is either widely known or consistently applied.

Although DeSivlestro and Needham say in their statement they know of instances when the policy has not been consistently applied, they offer no specifics.

The statement is also long on assertions that no one specifically told Leonard about the university's policy on dissertation committee composition, but is utterly silent on Leonard's responsibility to have read and understood them, himself. Ignorance of the law, as they say, is no excuse.

When RSR was a graduate student, there was a student handbook that covered such matters. We'd be very, very surprised to find that OSU's School of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education doesn't have such a document, too.


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