Friday, December 09, 2005

Disingenuous Mendacity

Earlier this week, Laurie Goodstein wrote a piece for the New York Times headlined "Intelligent Design Might Be Meeting Its Maker." In the piece, Ms. Goodstein used the following line:

"In Kansas last month, the board of education voted that students should be exposed to critiques of evolution like intelligent design."

The ID scam artists don't want you to know that. In fact, they will deny it with every fiber of their being.

"Actually, the Board did no such thing," wrote John G. West of the Discovery Instutute in answer to the Times story. "The Kansas science standards encourage students to learn about scientific criticisms of Darwin's theory. They do not ask for the teaching of alternatives to Darwin's theory such as intelligent design."

To what "alternatives" might the slippery Mr. West be referring? And what, pray tell, are those "scientific criticisms" of "Darwin's theory"? The Modern Synthesis is what is being taught pretty much everywhere these days. Between Huxley, Dobzhanski, and Mayr, among others, the work of Mendel and of Fisher has been pretty well integrated into Darwin's, plugging the "holes" in Darwin's version dreamed up in the fevered halucinations of glossolalics and snake handlers. Perhaps Mr. West is referring to the endosymbiotic theory advanced by Lynn Margulis? That's not really a challenge to Darwin, though Ms. Margulis has famously couched it in those terms.

If it's none of those -- or one or two other theories like the null mutation hypothesis that have been incorporated quite easily into the Modern Synthesis -- then what are the IDers on about?

Ms. Goodstein shows that everybody's got their number.

Derek Davis, director of the J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University, wishes the IDers would just get off it and admit that they are talking about God.

"[T]hey are, and everybody knows they are," said Mr. Davis in Ms. Goodstein's piece. "I just think we ought to quit playing games. It's a religious worldview that's being advanced."

Baylor, it will be remembered, is the Baptist school that hired on a new president in the '90s to try and get the school back to its No Dancin', Swearin', nor Chewin' roots. Part of that strategy involved hiring William Dembski to head the Polanyi Institute, an entity within the University dedicated to getting the school away from Bacon's position and back to Thomas Aquinus's. The furor and embarassment from within the facultyreached such a pitch that the Institute was folded, Dembski was given a make-work slot for the duration of his contract, and everybody prayed hard that their research dinero would not dry up completely in the mean time.


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