May 9, 2006
Gateway to the worst
The IDiots try a different tack, this time in Missouri:
A little-publicized bill that would allow the teaching of intelligent design in Missouri classrooms never made it to the floor of the Missouri General Assembly this year. However, proponents of the Missouri Science Education Act say the issue will likely be back before lawmakers in 2007.
… The Missouri Science Education Act would require sixth- through 12th-grade science teachers to engage in “critical analysis” of evolution as a theory rather than teaching it as an accepted fact.
Sen. Bill Alter, R-Jefferson City, who introduced a similar bill in the Senate, said it was necessary to continue discussion of the issue. Alter said both evolution and intelligent design are theories and should be handled as such in the classroom.
“If it’s taught the same as any other science, I’m all for it,” he said.
The science education act also represents a subtle tactical shift by intelligent design proponents, said Jay Wexler, an associate professor of law at Boston University. Since a U.S. district judge in Dover, Pa., ruled in December that a resolution requiring the teaching of intelligent design violates the Constitution, proponents are more aggressively pointing out the gaps in evolutionary theory while attempting to change the definition of science in the classroom.
“Their strategies evolve over time,” said Wexler, who thinks the Missouri bill still raises constitutional concerns but says it is more likely to be accepted than the Dover resolution.
… Kenneth Miller, a professor at Brown University. Miller, who gave a series of lectures on evolution at MU in April, said the attacks on evolution as a theory obscure the fact that intelligent design lacks any scientific basis whatsoever.
“There is no controversy about evolution in the scientific community,” Miller said, “and this particular bit of misrepresentation is simply designed to undermine the teaching of evolution in a way that will aid religiously derived ideas such as intelligent design.”
Miller says that evolutionary theory has been subjected to rigorous scientific scrutiny and that if proponents think intelligent design is legitimate science, they should be willing to subject it to the same standard.
“The fact that they seek political means to inject their ideas into the science classroom shows just how threadbare their so-called theories really are,” Miller said.
UPDATE: Looks like the same battle is about to be fought in South Carolina schools, where the crazies are pushing for mandatory adoption of textbooks that teach creationism as part of the biology curriculum.
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