Not about Lott or guns

Chris Mooney has a very interesting article about the dubious techniques used by creationists to make it appear that there is strong public support for teaching creationism in schools alongside scientific theories. My favourite was this question:

Texas law requires students to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information. Should the state board of education apply this standard to how evolution is presented in textbooks?

People who agree with that are apparently agreeing that “intelligent design” should be taught beside evolution. I bet you’d get less support if you asked:

Should religion be taught in science classes in schools or should such teaching be left to the churches?

I can add an anecdote to this: A couple of years ago I was visiting my parents and there was a lively disscusion about how certain things had evolved. My brother’s girlfriend listened with rapt attention. When we were finished she spoke up: “Wow! That was amazing! They never taught me that stuff in school.” Turns out that she had gone to an Adventist high school and they had never taught her about evolution. I don’t know how the school pulled this off—presumably evolution was in their syllabus so they could get government funding. My guess is that they just skipped over that bit.


  1. #1 raj
    September 17, 2003

    Actually, it might be quite useful to teach “intelligent design” side by side with evolution, especially in regards the “as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information” part of the question. Particularly given that there is no evidence, scientific or otherwise, for “intelligent design.” And mention should also probably be made of the fact that the proponents of “intelligent design” have apparently made no effort to find evidence for it. All the proponents do is point to supposed lack of evidence regarding certain aspects of evolutionary theory, which is hardly evidence for ID.

  2. #2 ArchPundit
    September 17, 2003

    Please, don’t bait me into one of my other obsessions. I’m kind of like Paul Krugman on creationists–I just put my head in my hands and shake.

  3. #3 Clayton Cramer
    September 17, 2003

    In America, no religiously based primary or secondary school receives any government funding.

  4. #4 anon
    September 17, 2003

    That’s highly unusual that that girl had not learned about evolution at an Adventist academy. More common would be learning a great deal about evolution. I did at my academy, starting in the sixth grade.

  5. #5 James Buckingham
    March 15, 2004

    I found the comprehensive catalog of current books on Creation, Evolution and on Intelligent Design at http://www.torontochristianbooks/CREATION.HTM very useful in addressing scientific proofs and other arguments on this topic.

  6. #6 Tim Lambert
    March 15, 2004

    The books Mr Buckingham links to are entirely useless. You would learn more in five minutes at the archive.

  7. #7 Lever
    December 21, 2005

    September 2003…? Absolutely amazing. I didn’t realise that, with “Intelligent” Design, such bias and unfounded propoganda had been affecting people for so long as, to me, it seems like a recent phenomena. Having gone unchecked for all this time hasn’t this now reached epidemic proportions? There must be a cure for this…


    So let’s get this straight… If something can’t be explained then it’s proof that something unproven created it? Bizarre! Where the hell were these people on the day god created brains? ;)