Dispatches from the Creation Wars

No, this is not a repeat from last year. Or the year before that. Or the year before that. A lot of people thought that the good guys won the last big battle over Texas science education standards because the new standards did away with the “strengths and weaknesses” language that was in there before. But as I pointed out then, it was a partial victory at the very most — and quite possibly a loss.

In the place of that general language about strengths and weaknesses, the board placed a whole bunch of very specific language that all but begged for the inclusion of creationist materials. This is what I wrote in April 2009:

The “strengths and weaknesses” language turned out to be a big distraction. While we managed to close that door up front, they were busy opening up the big double doors in the back of the building so trucks could drive through and deliver loads of creationist propaganda.

And that is exactly what is happening now. The Texas BOE is now considering new instructional material for science classrooms and some of the material under consideration is loaded with creationist language. The Texas Freedom Network and the National Center for Science Education have put out a fact sheet on web-based material offered by International Databases Inc., and this is pure creationism. For instance:

“Since such materialistic, self organization scenarios now have a history of scientific insufficiency for explaining the Origin of Life on Earth, the Null hypothesis (default) stands. This allows for the testing of the legitimate scientific hypothesis……Life on Earth is the result of intelligent causes.”

Creationism is the null hypothesis? Wow. Wow, wow, wow.

“Many scientists have adopted an unproven hypothesis upon which to build their theories regarding the origin of life and its’ diversification. This ‘foundation’ is called scientific materialism, naturalism, and so forth… There are other scientists who have adopted the unproven hypothesis that an intelligence is necessary to explain both the origin, and diversification of life on Earth. This view follows from the human experience that teaches order (complexity) results from intelligent action.”

This is pure “teach the controversy” nonsense, treating evolution and creationism as equally scientific theories. It’s still one big god of the gap argument — not evolution, therefore God…err, sorry….therefore “intelligent causes” (wink, wink).