TEXAS' UNINTELLIGENT DESIGN
God created the earth in six days and all forms of life, including human beings, were created in the forms that now exist; the Bible says so. It's called Creationism, but has been morphed to appear scientific and now most often goes by the name of Intelligent Design, claiming that many things in nature, such as an eye, are far too complex to exist without a designer. Enter God.
Texas Governor Rick Perry believes it should be taught in public school science classes and so does the Don McLeroy, appointed by Perry last July to be chair of the state's elected board of education. According to the watchdog group Texas Freedom Network "McLeroy will now be in charge of the board's scheduled revision of the state's science curriculum standards, an area where he has already cast his lot with extremists who want to censor what our schoolchildren learn."
Then in December, Christine Castillo Comer was fired as the science education director of the Texas Education Agency (TEA) allegedly because she forwarded an e-mail announcing a speech by a critic of teaching Creationism/Intelligent Design. Comer's only message was "FYI." Some not-so-intelligent Intelligent Design types claimed she was bashing people's faith. Her real "crime" was that she is dedicated to having actual science, not religion masquerading as science, taught in science classes.
People in the Texas science community believe the TEA wanted her out before the upcoming struggle over revision of science education standards. Since the Texas school system is statewide and is so huge, its textbook standards affect what publishers put out. And this affects what is purchased by school districts nationwide.
Some scientists have compared the teaching of Intelligent Design with teaching that the earth is flat. After all, there are people out there who really do believe the earth is flat. According to the editor of the journal of the Federation of American Societies for
Experimental Biology, Dr. Gerald Weissmann: "The bottom line is that the world is round, humans evolved from an extinct species, and Elvis is dead."
The American Association for the Advancement of Science recently took on the threat of false science and stated, among other things, "Whereas, to date, the ID movement has failed to offer credible scientific evidence to support their claim that ID undermines the
current scientifically accepted theory of evolution...Therefore be it resolved, that the lack of scientific warrant for so-called 'intelligent design theory' makes it improper to include as a part of science education.
"Understanding evolution is essential to identifying and treating disease," said Harvey Fineberg, president of Institute Of Medicine. "For example, the SARS virus evolved from an ancestor virus that was discovered by DNA sequencing. Learning about SARS' genetic
similarities and mutations has helped scientists understand how the virus evolved. This kind of knowledge can help us anticipate and contain infections that emerge in the future." Modern medicine would be impossible without a scientific understanding of evolution. One wonders if the backers of Intelligent Design/Creationism have stopped
going to medical doctors.
However, these pseudo-scientists also want to do their misdeeds at the college level. The Institute for Creation Research in Dallas wants to train future science teachers in Texas as they have done in California, using an online curriculum and granting a master's degree
in science education. The ICR has the know-nothing audacity to claim that their approach to education is needed because of "the harmful consequences of evolutionary thinking on families and society (abortion, promiscuity, drug abuse, homosexuality, and many others) are evident all around us even infiltrating our churches and seminaries."
Just imagine how many of us who accept the validity of evolution must have become homosexuals and started using dangerous drugs!!! "They teach distorted science," said Eugenie Scott, executive director of the California-based National Center for Science
Education, which opposes teaching creationism in public schools. "Any student coming out from the ICR with a degree in science would not be competent to teach in Texas public schools."
The U.S. Department of Education claims "America's schools are not producing the science excellence required for global economic leadership and homeland security in the 21st century." So even to meet the government's misguided goal of controlling the world economy and spying on its own citizens in the name of homeland security, it will fail if, a la Bush, it continues to push non-scientific Intelligent Design.
TEACH THE CONTROVERSY
The campaign to promote the anti-evolutionary agenda is headed by the Discovery Institute in Seattle. Their strategy is one of deception and outright dishonesty. They have developed what they call "The Wedge Strategy" which they admit is designed to defeat Darwinism and propagate a notion of science "consonant with Christian and theistic convictions." They try to get around the First Amendment and Supreme
Court decisions prohibiting the promotion of religion in public schools.
One of the reasons the creationist movement has morphed itself several times is found in the 1987 Supreme Court ruling that teaching "creation science" in the science classroom is unconstitutional. Then in 2004 the Dover, Penn. School board ruled that Intelligent Design be discussed in public school science classes. When parents and others sued, Judge John E. Jones III ruled in 2005 that Intelligent Design is not science, but religion.
The founder of the Discovery Institute, Phillip E. Johnson, has stated to his colleagues that "The objective (of the Wedge strategy) is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to 'the
truth' of the Bible and then 'the question of sin' and finally 'introduced to Jesus.'"
Johnson has also stated that "Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools."
In the furtherance of that approach, those promoting this dishonesty have developed the "Teach the Controversy" tactic. An article will be written viciously attacking a scientific proponent of evolution and then when the scientist reacts angrily over the fallacies of the
article, the supporters of Intelligent Design say, "See, there's a controversy here. And we all agree that a good science education involves studying controversies in the scientific arena. We aren't about teaching religion; we just want scientific controversies to be
studied. That's only fair."
This devious approach of talking about a non-existent controversy among scientists has gotten over on students who quite honestly want to look at both sides of any real controversy. But as Bill Maher has said about the "Teach the Controversy" ruse, "You don't have to teach both sides of a debate if one side is a load of crap."
THE ROLE OF GEORGE BUSH
George W. Bush, the former Governor of Texas, pushed that "load of crap" as President in August 2005 when he said that schools should discuss Intelligent Design alongside evolution as two different schools of thought.
World Can't Wait believes that people have a right to their own religious views, but we have continually fought the Bush regime's attempts to attack and alter legitimate science, whether it be by rewriting government reports on global warming, teaching "abstinence
only" which has led to an increase of unwanted pregnancies, or trying to get nonscientific views opposing evolution taught in the public schools.
It is important that we keep our eyes on Texas as the actual controversy develops. It's a tough battle. Christine Comer, the fired Texas Education Agency science advisor, says that teachers from all over Texas tell her that they have been forced to teach creationism in their science classes. When she asks them why they don't do anything, they tell her, "Come on. What can I do? It's Texas."
So, informed and progressive people in Texas and elsewhere must not
only be on guard against the current regime's attempts to destroy good
science, but must make our voices known in large numbers. We cannot
let a generation of children grow up without scientifically
understanding the world, both the biological world and the socio/
political world. The more we understand the way the world actually
works and develops, the more armed we will be to change it for the
betterment of all humanity.
You can keep abreast of this struggle for real science by logging on
to the Texas Freedom Network.
“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” - Voltaire