Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Discovery Institute Attempting Scam in Texas Science Standards

The Discovery Institute, with the cooperation of creationists in the Texas Board of Education, led by Don "I didn't come from no monkey" McLeroy, are attempting the same scam in Texas that they attempted previously in Ohio.

The scam goes like this: claim you aren't pushing intelligent design creationism, but instead just want a fair-and-balanced critical analysis of evolution. Then, supply as that critical analysis, all the bogus arguments and misinformation that comprise ID. Be sure to get sympathetic members on whatever board must approve the plan, proclaim them to be scientific experts, and viola! You've got creationism approved for use in the schools. Then recommend a book that follows that plan which was, by complete coincidence, written by the very same people who approved the plan in the first place. Cha CHING!

The DI's Robert Crowther has shamelessly pimped this strategy in an article that would offend readers of 1984 plenty. In Crowther's world, black is white, religion is science, and creationist lackeys are science experts.

"Three of six experts selected by the Texas State Board of Education to review a proposed update of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for science have recommended that the TEKS retain controversial language calling on students to examine the “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories in order to strengthen students’ critical thinking skills."

DIspeak to English translation:

"The three creationist shills planted into the TSBE review group to review a proposed update of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for science have implemented their predetermined plan and recommended that the TEKS retain controversial language calling on students to examine the “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories in order to insert through stealth, creationist arguments posing as scientific criticism."

DI hack Casey Luskin weighs in with his doublethink:

"Some activist groups are pressuring the State Board to cut that language from the TEKS in order to artificially shield Darwin’s theory from the normal process of scientific inquiry. However, as these three experts point out, examining the strengths and weaknesses of scientific theories is a core part of the scientific process, and abandoning such critical analysis merely to satisfy ideological demands of Darwinists harms students by giving them a false view of scientific inquiry."

Again, we translate the DIspeak into English:

"Scientists strongly object to the ideological insertion of creationist pseudoscience into the curriculum, so we'll employ projection as our strategy to win the political battle. We'll paint their objections as attempting to shield evolution from real scientific scrutiny, and of being ideologues themselves, and hope no one can tell the difference."

If you think that is bad, wait for Luskin to shamelessly take projection where no one else has gone with it before:

Luskin noted that despite efforts by Darwin-only activists to inject religion into the discussion of the TEKS for science, the expert reviews of Meyer, Garner, and Seelke all focused on scientific and pedagogical concerns, not religion. "None of the expert reviewers are calling for religion in science classes, and any suggestions to the contrary show just how bankrupt the Darwinists’ arguments are for insulating Darwin’s theory from honest analysis. Whenever Darwinists can’t respond to scientific or educational arguments, they try to change the subject to religion. Students in Texas deserve better."

Again, we translate:

"We will hide the religious underpinnings of our recommendations by speaking only sciency-sounding language. When scientists object to that, we'll accuse them of bringing religion into the discussion, refer to them by a religious-sounding name like 'Darwinists', and hope no one notices."

Make no mistake, this a major scam. Texas has allowed religious pseudoscientists to infiltrate the review process and skew the process to recommend books written by those same people! This will undoubtedly lead to a Dover-style lawsuit, from which the DI folks will run like arsonists from a burning building, and which will end up costing the Texas taxpayer millions of dollars. Indeed, students in Texas do deserve better!

Wesley Elsberry, who was involved in the Dover Trial, summed it up nicely in a retort to Robert Crowther:

"But “intelligent design” isn’t anything in itself, it is simply a collection of objections to evolution that have been made by religious antievolutionists for decades or centuries. “Irreducible complexity”, “specified complexity”, and various “anthropic principle” arguments have explicit expression of the concepts in the work of the Reverend William Paley in “Natural Theology” from 1802. If you want to impress folks in Texas, Rob, tell them that the Discovery Institute has repudiated those arguments entirely and doesn’t want anyone to use them anymore. Teaching children falsehoods, like the arguments made under the “intelligent design” label, has no secular purpose. We’ll wait for your clarification that the Discovery Institute thinks that all the arguments that were made under the “intelligent design” label were wrong and teachers in Texas should not use those as bogus “weaknesses” of evolutionary science.



Yeah, I didn’t think so.


Rob, you must think that the folks in Texas are significantly more stupid than the folks in Ohio who the DI hoodwinked for almost four years. When the Discovery Institute says that they want “weaknesses” taught, they mean the same old arguments that they used to call “intelligent design”."

No comments: