Computer gives the kindest cut

November 02, 1995|By CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Now, a debate over the best method to lead students through one of the most touchy areas of science education is under way across the country.

The catalyst is an emerging library of laserdisc and CD-ROM programs. They can replace the slice of a scalpel with the click of a mouse for students who are squeamish or morally opposed to pulling back the skin of a bullfrog in a quest of oviducts and eggs.

Another factor in the push for computer dissection -- a tool that until recently was available only at leading medical schools -- is a heightened awareness about endangered species and strong opinions about animal rights among young people.

But that is not real enough, say critics.

"For me, there's no substitute for having your hands inside a dead organism," said Wayne Carley of the National Association of Biology Teachers.

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