The Texas State Board of Education is holding hearings right now on their science standards, and by all reports it is an embarrassment to the state: on the one side, we have the educated teachers and scientists, and on the other, a coterie of ignorant ideologues. Martin has been attending the meetings (it doesn’t sound like much fun), and he cuts to the heart of the creationist strategy:
This cannot be understated: Just as the anti-gay contingent of the Christian right sells its opposition to gay marriage as a “defense” of “traditional” marriage that can in no way be compared to opposition to interracial marriage or anything of that sort, so too are the creationists now abandoning the overt, lawsuit-bait language of “intelligent design” for “academic freedom” language that makes them seem like the ones encouraging students to use their minds to think about and evaluate ideas that are presented to them in class on their merits. Conversely, the pro-science side wants to shut this kind of inquiry down, and just require students to be obedient little sponges soaking up whatever the textbooks say.
Why this is a misrepresentation and gross misunderstanding of the opposition to such terms as “strengths and weaknesses” was, to his credit, appropriately explained by Texas Citizens for Science spokesman Steve Schafersman.
I suppose you could argue that “strengths and weaknesses” is a smart slogan to deploy when the evolution side has all the strengths, and the creationist side has nothing but weaknesses. It’s a way to pretend that they’ve earned a place in the curriculum, because the bad science is currently underrepresented…if you think the role of science education is to toss every failed idea in history at students.