Tuesday, March 15, 2005

A front-page story in the Washington Post on intelligent design had a few howlers that are worth examining.

First of all, it's important to note that 99.99% of the people in favour of teaching intelligent design to students are not scientists.

Battle on Teaching Evolution Sharpens
Mon Mar 14, 3:26 PM ET

Top Stories - washingtonpost.com
By Peter Slevin, Washington Post Staff Writer

A prominent effort is underway in Kansas, where the state Board of Education intends to revise teaching standards. That would be progress, Southern Baptist minister Terry Fox said, because "most people in Kansas don't think we came from monkeys."

Well, you can think what you want, but the evidence is we did.

"It's an academic freedom proposal. What we would like to foment is a civil discussion about science. That falls right down the middle of the fairway of American pluralism," said the Discovery Institute's Stephen C. Meyer, who believes evolution alone cannot explain life's unfurling. "We are interested in seeing that spread state by state across the country."

Yes, it is an academic freedom issue. It would be nice if academics had any evidence in support of intelligent design, but they don't.

Sen. Rick Santorum (news, bio, voting record) (R-Pa.), a Christian who draws on Discovery Institute material, drafted language accompanying the law that said students should be exposed to
"the full range of scientific views that exist.""Anyone who expresses
anything other than the dominant worldview is shunned and booted from the academy," Santorum said in an interview. "My reading of the science is there's a legitimate debate. My feeling is let the debate be had."

Santorum is wrong. There is no debate that evolution is wrong, or that intelligent design has a chance of succeeding. I think the debate should be had -- among scientists, not high school students.

That approach appeals to Cindy Duckett, a Wichita mother who believes public school leaves many religious children feeling shut out. Teaching doubts about evolution, she said, is "more inclusive. I think the more options, the better."
"If students only have one thing to consider, one option, that's
really more brainwashing," said Duckett, who sent her children to Christian schools because of her frustration. Students should be exposed to the Big Bang, evolution, intelligent design "and, beyond that, any other belief that a kid in class has. It should all be okay."
And for the final howler, Mrs. Duckett wants her children to have more than option, yet she sends them to Christian school to get away from other options. Hypocrisy? Yes, and nicely done!