Recent News on Evolution Disclaimers

A couple of recent happenings concerning evolution disclaimer stickers in science textbooks. In the Cobb County case, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has asked the two sides in that dispute to meet with a mediator to see if they can reach a settlement in the case rather than having to have a full appellate trial. Neither of the attorneys in the case think that any settlement is likely, and neither do I. There really isn't much room there for compromise.

Meanwhile, a school district in Shelby County, TN is trying to place its own disclaimers in biology textbooks. PZ Myers has a post with details at the Panda's Thumb. The Shelby County proposed disclaimer is far worse than the Cobb County disclaimer and there's no way it would survive a court challenge. It states:

This textbook contains material on scientific theories about creation. There are many scientific and religious theories about the nature and diversity of living things. All theories should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.

The specific mention of "creation" and "religious theories" makes that one a complete non-starter legally. The local paper likewise reported, "County school board member Wyatt Bunker, who believes the Bible is the inerrant word of God, said he's concerned that students are being taught only scientific theories such as evolution and the Big Bang." Well yes, Mr. Bunker, students are indeed being taught only scientific theories. That is, after all, why we hold science classes. And yet another backwoods school board decides to waste a bunch of money defending a case they are destined to lose.

More like this

It seems some creationists are upset at the IDers for not being gawdly enough.
Oh, it's true. There have been articles flying back and forth between Henry Morris, Bill Dembski and Jonathan Sarfati. The YECs don't think the IDers are dogmatic enough about a literal interpretation of Genesis. But all of the arguments for ID are taken directly from earlier YEC arguements against evolution, they just take out the biblical basis for them.

Don't forget about Ken Ham. From Ken Ham is president of Answers In Genesis, an organization that promotes the idea that the earth is no more than 10,000 years old. He believes that ID proponents are only "adding some kind of intelligence to evolution, but it's still a secular viewpoint. They're not giving evidence of who the Designer is. Speaking philosophically, their creator has to be an ogre, whose creation is full of mistakes, death and disease." ID advocates, he concludes, are "doomed to failure because they have no biblical perspective."

I wonder--does Ken Ham have a brother? Name of Smithfield?

Sorry, couldn't resist the pun.

On a serious note, it seems to be fairly evident that these culture wars are going to end public education in large parts of the US. Intelligent people should prepare themselves for it. And also prepare themselves for opposing taxpayer-funded fundie education--including vouchers.

And they should also seriously consider buying Euros or Euro-denominated investments. And learning a foreign language. Vielleicht Deutsch.

For compromise, how about a secondary disclaimer: "Most scientists believe the above disclaimer is a load of horse manure"