11 January 2009

Fisking a Discovery Institute letter

Over at the San Antonio Express News, one Robert Crowther from The Discovery Institute makes a few interesting claims about the review of K-12 science standards. (Crowther is responding to an earlier editorial.)

Crowther correctly points out that viewed narrowly and literally:
The [Texas State Board of Education] is not considering religious, non-scientific beliefs, nor creationism, and certainly not intelligent design for inclusion in science classes. ...

The controversial issue before the SBOE is whether the TEKS will retain language calling for students to learn about both the scientific “strengths and weaknesses” of scientific theories.

Not all people view things narrowly and literally. This is why people object to the inclusion of wording like "strengths and weaknesses," particularly when the chairman of the Board of Education admits is is applied selectively to one theory (evolution).

Crowther then makes two incorrect statements.
Some have proposed removing that language from the TEKS entirely, while others have suggested that good science education that encourages critical thinking should apply to all aspects of the curriculum, especially to the teaching of controversial scientific theories like neo-Darwinian evolution.

Evolution is not controversial science. It's astonishingly well-supported, and the controversy around it isn't scientific, but social.
Furthermore, Lane’s absurd assertions that intelligent design advocates at the Discovery Institute are trying to usher in “a theistic fundamentalist Christian nation” are also false. As a libertarian agnostic who works at Discovery, I can attest to the fact that neither the institute’s motivations or aims includes Protestant fundamentalism, as Lane falsely claims.

I wonder how Crowther explains the Wedge document? It says, in part:
Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

Maybe not Protestant, but definitely Christian, definitely theistic, and a damn good case can be made for it being fundamentalism.

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