Tuesday, January 24, 2006
The Right Stuff
Alternately decrying the course for mixing intelligent design with young earth and Biblical creationism, risking "a dangerous legal precedent set which could threaten the teaching of intelligent design on the national level" and accusing "Darwinists" of trying to ban all mention of Intelligent Design in public schools, the DI then had the temerity to try to lay the onus of developing a constitutional course in ID onto its opponents.
Well, here is a huge head start from Charles C. Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center. He begins his article, "Class over: Anti-evolution forces lose another round," by setting the stage:
Have Darwin's foes become their own worst enemy?
Consider the school board in the El Tejon Unified School District in rural California. On New Year's Day they approved a month-long course called "Philosophy of Design," a thinly disguised attempt to challenge evolution by promoting intelligent design and creationism.
Getting it right takes work. There's plenty of material to choose from: Arguments for design have a long history in theology and philosophy. All of the world's religions have something to say about human origins. And philosophy of science is a major field of study with a broad range of thinkers for students to consider. Readings from any or all of these sources could form the basis for an outstanding course of study. But to be constitutional, such a course must include a variety of perspectives presented in an objective manner by a qualified teacher.
What's especially sad about these misguided efforts is how much they hurt education. In the best of all possible schools, students would be engaged in learning something about the history and philosophy of science, the ongoing dialogue between religion and science, and what religions have to say about creation and human origins. But that's not likely to happen as long as school officials in places like Dover and El Tejon put their opposition to evolution above what's best for the kids.
Why do I suspect that the DI won’t bite?
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