The following is a letter to the editor that I sent to the St. Petersburg Times. Maybe they’ll print it, maybe they won’t.
In the St. Petersburg Times “Evolution’s Not Enough” article by Donna Winchester and Ron Matus, only those whose self-report of having at least some familiarity with the issues were part of the numbers reported concerning how “intelligent design” should be taught, if at all. The antievolution literature is a source of anti-knowledge, false things confidently stated as if true, and those whose only or primary familiarity with the issues comes from that source may well believe themselves to have some grasp of the issues while being worse off than those who have not been misled.
The recent decision in the Dover, PA case highlighted how advocacy of “intelligent design” led to the telling of numerous falsehoods by school board members there. And after weeks of expert testimony and sharp questioning by lawyers on both sides, Judge Jones found that “intelligent design” was not science, that it was, in fact, a sham designed to insert religious doctrines into the science classroom. Even the Discovery Institute, leading advocate of “intelligent design”, recognizes that there is no content there to be taught. Instead, the DI urges schools to teach the same old long-rebutted arguments against evolution under new catchphrases, like “teach the controvery”, “critical analysis”, “purposeful arrangement of parts”, “free speech”, or “academic freedom”.
With that knowledge, one can see that the question to be asked is not whether “intelligent design” should be taught, but whether we are willing to tell our science students falsehoods simply because they are popular. “Intelligent design” has been tried and found to be more like “intentional deception”.