Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Up to their usual tricks

Yes, it's the Discovery Institute playing word games again. This time they are weighing in on the Florida science standards. "In Florida the Debate over How to Teach Evolution Is One of Science" is a somewhat interesting article, but I have to cast a jaundiced view of it because of who is writing it. For the past couple of years, following their crushing defeat in Dover PA, the arguments of the Discovery Institute have stopped pushing the teaching of Intelligent Design, instead they are being much more subtle in their efforts to undermine evolution where possible. This is a typical strategy for them. If we can't win the war outright, nibble and chip away to open a wedge [pun intended for those of us familiar with their 'Wedge Strategy'].

They sound so reasonable, but give themselves away with lines like "But what if all the date isn't presented? What if only one side of the issue is presented?" They are still maintaining the falsehood that their point of view actually has a seat at the table. They are still trying to convince people there is another side to this debate and one with scientific credentials. "Although no one has proposed teaching intelligent design, and no one has suggested inserting anything about intelligent design into the standards . . ." Sure they aren't saying it, but they want that wedge opened up.

They are supposedly quoting a member of the Framers' Committee, the group that developed the standards who wants to include the following statement "Students should learn why some scientists give scientific critiques of standard models of neo-Darwinian evolution or models of the chemical origin of life." The very short memory of the Discovery Institute is forgetting that this type of statement failed the measure up in Ohio and comments like this tend to undermine education, not enhance it (Dover Trial). No one single theory in science should be held up for any special criticisms, scientific or other. Aside from this type of statement already being ruled against, aside from this statement using the word 'scientific', does anyone really doubt what sort of criticism the Discovery Institute would like to introduce to the conversation?

I'll keep saying that teaching students to be critical thinkers does not mean teaching anything other than science. They quote something I haven't been able to find in the Tallahassee Democrat, but I did find this "What we all lose while arguing over evolution" and the author, also a member of the Framers' Committee said that "As a member of the Framers' Committee working on the draft science standards, I can testify that my colleagues on the Framers' and Writers' Committees and I have done everything possible to help the State Board of Education lift the state's students to international-class achievement in science and to open the door to a world of economic opportunity."

Yup, the Discovery Institute has gotten a bit more slippery, but they are up to their usual tricks. Any opening they can exploit to weaken science education is one they will certainly stoop to.

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