Legal eagles flutter on

Following the Dover shipwreck, frantic salvage P.R. work is going on at the Discovery Institute, much of it at the expense of lucidity. Can the slightly different ID tactics in Kansas, Ohio and Georgia escape the precedent set by Judge Jones’s decision? In Ohio in particular, things may be reaching a critical point as we speak. Instead of reassessing their approach, in a last-ditch attempt to stave off another defeat the DI resorts to some good old-fashioned disinformation tactics.

In the wake of a judge’s ruling banning intelligent design from the Dover, Pennsylvania school district, special interest groups opposed to teaching the controversy about Darwinian evolution are trying to pressure the Ohio State Board of Education to repeal an Ohio state science standard which requires students to be able to “describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.” The standards clearly state that they “do not mandate the teaching or testing of intelligent design.”

“The Dover ruling clearly has no relevance for Ohio,” said Luskin. “Ohio is not teaching intelligent design, making this a completely different issue.”

“The sad truth is that there are some Darwinists out there who want to impose dogmatism in the curriculum, and don’t want students to know all there is to know about Darwinian evolution,” Luskin added. “It is critically important that students learn about all the most current scientific evidence both for and against the theory.”

Alas for Luskin and the DI, this is not a “completely different issue”, and putting on the “controversy” tutu isn’t enough to make the ID warthog look like a ballerina.

Judge Jones already explicitly recognized and exposed this strategy in the Kitzmiller ruling:

Moreover, ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous, and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM is not to encourage critical thought, but to foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with ID. Kitzmiller v DASD, Memorandum Opinion, p 89

Quite obviously, the “teach the controversy” approach, and its close cousin the “critical analysis curriculum”, are all one and the same with Intelligent Design: same arguments, same proponents, same sources. As Jones notes, ID and “teach the controversy” also share the same ultimate goal: to introduce in science classes, as if it were a valid scientific hypothesis, the (explicit or implicit) possibility that a putative, empirically undetectable supernatural agent is a better explanation for biological diversity than known naturalistic mechanisms.

If there is one thing that the Kitzmiller case should have taught ID advocates, is that clumsy cosmetic surgery operations do not change the substance of ideas, and that it is wishful thinking that these stratagems would fool an attentive and objective observer. Just like the history and track record of ID linked it inexorably to Creation Science, so are these new school-targeted anti-evolution strategies linked to ID in both spirit and content. Jones could see right through it, and so can pretty much everyone else.