Dispatches from the Creation Wars

The Texas State Board of Education has long been a key battleground in the evolution/creationism controversy and the Discovery Institute and their allies have long advised the board on how to handle the issue. This article in the Houston Chronicle looks like good news on the surface, but it really just shows what the next phrase of the anti-evolution movement is all about it. Here’s the alleged good news:

A majority of State Board of Education members said the theory of intelligent design should be left out of the science curriculum for public schools.

The board will rewrite the science curriculum next year and some observers expect backers of intelligent design to push for the theory’s inclusion.

In interviews with The Dallas Morning News, 10 of the board’s 15 members said they wouldn’t support requiring the teaching of intelligent design. One board member said she was open to the idea. Four board members didn’t respond to the newspaper’s phone calls.

Wow, a board that has long favored ID now says they don’t want ID in schools? A big victory, right? Nope. Look closer:

“Creationism and intelligent design don’t belong in our science classes,” said Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy, who described himself as a creationist. “Anything taught in science has to have consensus in the science community and intelligent design does not.”

McLeroy, R-College Station, said he doesn’t want to change the existing requirement that evolution be taught in high school biology classes. But he joined several of his colleagues in arguing that biology textbooks should cover the weaknesses of the theory of evolution.

This is the same strategy they tried in Ohio – “we don’t want ID taught, we just want the strengths and weaknesses of evolution taught.” But remember, folks, there is no ID theory. ID is nothing but a set of arguments against evolution. All of the major ID arguments, from Dembski’s explanatory filter to Behe’s irreducible complexity, takes the same form: evolution can’t explain X, thus an intelligent designer must have done it. All of them require the failure of evolution as the premise of their argument.

All of the other ID arguments, like those found in Wells’ Icons of Evolution are just old creationist arguments against evolution slightly updated. ID is nothing but a set of arguments against evolution and every single argument can be traced directly to earlier creationist writings. So when they say “we don’t want ID taught, we just want the arguments against evolution taught” all that really means is “we don’t want ID taught, we just want ID taught.” Welcome to phase 4.