One of the standard talking points from ID advocates these days is that us evolution advocates are just plum crazy to even suggest that policies requiring schools to teach “critical analysis of evolution” are a way to get intelligent design into the classrooms. DI shill Casey Luskin even coined a phrase in February when he claimed that those who think this way are suffering from “false fear syndrome” and exhibiting paranoia. Luskin writes:
This is simply another instance of Darwinists attempting to oppose critical analysis of evolution by pretending that it is equivalent to teaching intelligent design. This is a political tactic based upon misinformation, misrepresentation, emotions, and false fears.
Now, anyone who’s watched the ID movement since its start laughs at this ridiculous claim and knows full well what’s really going on. Luskin knows full well that the “critical analysis” language is designed specifically to get ID into science classrooms. Whether it’s mandated by the state is absolutely irrelevant. And a few years ago, they were happy to admit that.
In 2000, the Ohio state school board voted down a proposal for a “dual model” curriculum that would have taught both evolution and intelligent design in public schools in that state. The DI had put signifant resources into Ohio to get that measure passed, but it failed 9-4. So in 2002, they came back with a different proposal – rather than teaching intelligent design, they wanted to “teach the controversy” concerning “scientific criticisms of Darwinism.” This has now become the standard policy choice nationwide, and the DI is now pushing it in several states, including Kansas and Michigan.
The trick here is that they claim such a policy doesn’t mandate the teaching of intelligent design, it just allows it – as if that somehow makes a difference in terms of the legality. Whether it’s mandated by the state, or whether they merely encourage it through “critical analysis” language and leave it up to local school districts to actually implement the policy, teaching ID is unconstitutional; the Kitzmiller ruling made that very clear. Here’s what they were saying in 2002 when Ohio passed the first such policy. First, Stephen Meyer admitted that this policy change was suggested and advocated by the DI:
Recently, while speaking to the Ohio State Board of Education, I suggested this approach as a way forward for Ohio in its increasingly contentious dispute about how to teach theories of biological origin, and about whether or not to introduce the theory of intelligent design alongside Darwinism in the Ohio biology curriculum….First, I suggested–speaking as an advocate of the theory of intelligent design–that Ohio not require students to know the scientific evidence and arguments for the theory of intelligent design, at least not yet.
Note that he also implies that this is just a first step to what they really want with the “at least not yet” comment. He further admits that while the policy does not mandate the teaching of ID, it does allow it:
Ohio’s new evolution standard does not require teaching the theory of intelligent design. “In recent weeks some have mischaracterized the new language as an effort to mandate teaching the theory of intelligent design in the classroom, but that is not accurate and is not what we asked for,” said Dr. Meyer. “The new standard requires students to learn about the evidence for and against Darwin’s theory. It does not mandate that students be tested about the theory of intelligent design, though it does leave teachers free to discuss it.”
John Calvert of the ID Network acknowledges that such language allows schools not only to teach ID, but to test on it, in a press release titled “Ohio State Board adopts Science Standards that permit the discussion of intelligent design”:
The Board also added the following clarifying statement to the benchmark and indicator: “The intent of this indicator does not mandate the teaching or testing of Intelligent Design.” This has major significance since the implication of the statement is that the “teaching or testing of intelligent design,” is permitted.
So the ID apologists are simply relying on this false distinction between mandating the teaching of ID and allowing the teaching of ID. The critical analysis language is designed, intelligently or otherwise, to allow the teaching of ID and encourage local school districts to incorporate ID into their lesson plans. This essentially leads them into what we call a Dover Trap – encouraging schools to do what has already been declared unconstitutional in Federal courts. The costs of falling into that trap as quite high, of course.