Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Every Which Way . . .
Luskin, an attorney and the DI’s point man on the El Tejon School District case in California, is quoted in an article dated January 18th in the Los Angeles Times as kvetching about the settlement the school board reached with Americans United for Separation of Church and State:
"What you have here is a small school district that essentially got bullied into an overreaching settlement by Americans United," said Casey Luskin, an attorney for the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, a public policy think tank that promotes intelligent design. "They want complete censorship of intelligent design from state-run schools. It's a problem, because intelligent design is a science. It's not a religious point of view." ...
[B]y promising to never again offer a course that promotes or endorses creationism, creation science or intelligent design, school officials had essentially "abdicated their constitutional right to present this scientific theory in schools," Luskin said.
But did Luskin manage to forget his own role in the case so soon? Here is what Mr. Luskin said when he appeared at the January 13, 2006 public meeting of the El Tejon School Board:
But if you do not cancel this course, and if you let this lawsuit go forward, you are going to lose and there will be a dangerous legal precedent set which could threaten the teaching of intelligent design on the national level.
But in a post entitled "Discovery Institute Praises School District for Withdrawing Class Misrepresenting Intelligent Design" on the DI’s blog, Evolution News & Views, dated January 17th, Luskin is quoted as saying:
We are pleased that the school district followed our recommendation to withdraw this class. From the very beginning this course was not formulated properly and was confusing students by including discussion of intelligent design with material that promoted young earth creationism as fact.
While we are pleased by the outcome in this case, we continue to believe that teaching objectively about intelligent design is permissible in public school science classes, and is certainly acceptable for philosophy or social studies courses. We offered to work with the district and with Americans United to create a philosophy course on origins which people on all sides agree would be acceptable and that they could re-teach next year.
Even allowing for the usual amount of both-sides-of-the-mouth verbalization by the Discovery Institute, this seems to be deeply conflicted policy on its part. Not able to resist turning it into a PR ploy, however, the article ends with Luskin throwing down this gauntlet:
If Americans United really believes that it's OK to teach about intelligent design in philosophy or social studies courses, we challenge them to join with us to come up with an objective course that can be taught in the El Tejon district. Otherwise, it will become clear that their real goal is the suppression of any discussion of intelligent design in any classroom anywhere in the country.
Speaking of put up or shut up . . .
Those of us favoring reality should adopt a slogan. I think a paraphrase of Cuba Gooding's character in Jerry McGuire would do. "Show me the science!"
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