Is intelligent-design creationism making a comeback?

The ever-vigilant Dan Phelps has sent us a couple of links from West Virginia, where their Senate education committee approved a bill that would allow the teaching of intelligent-design creationism in the public schools. The WV News noted that

The new bill would allow teachers to discuss theories about the origins of the universe or life. School boards, superintendents, or principals wouldn't be able to prevent teachers from discussing these topics.

The idea for the intelligent design bill came from a science teacher. This teacher wanted to discuss intelligent design in their class, but they were worried about the possible consequences. They stated that intelligent design isn't based on religion. Instead, it's the thought that a conscious entity designed the universe. This belief doesn't dispute the theory of evolution's explanation of the universe's origins. The bill aims to promote fair education by supporting free speech, religious freedom, and not being prejudiced against people's beliefs.

Note the buzzwords, free speech and religious freedom. We hope that the incorrect assertion that the theory of evolution explains the origin of the universe was due to the reporter and not the science teacher. We are bemused by the idea that intelligent-design creationism is not based on religion, yet should be taught in the name of religious freedom.

According to WV Public Broadcasting, two high school students, Haden Hodge and Hunter Bernard, argued that intelligent-design creationism is not a religious argument. Mr. Hodge said that intelligent design

is not a religious argument. I am not advocating for Biblical Creationism, or Adam and Eve, or the Muslim and Jewish narrative. This is not a biblical argument.

Odd that he said he was not advocating for the Muslim and Jewish narrative, yet left out the Christian narrative. Mr. Hodge and Mr. Bernard further testified that teachers were prohibited from teaching about a designer and feared repercussions if they did.

Mr. Phelps, who is from Kentucky and has been fighting this kind of nonsense for years, adds, “Let us hope that this doesn’t spread to Kentucky; our legislature would fall for ID creationism very quickly.”

Added February 2, 2024, at about 10:00 MDT:

It appears as though the answer to the initial question, “Is intelligent-design creationism making a comeback?” may be a qualified “Yes.” Specifically, NCSE Monitor, a weekly newsletter published by the National Center for Science Education, today noted several “intelligent design” bills besides those in West Virginia:

  • Maine: A proposal to encourage middle school science teachers to teach about genocide, eugenics, and the Holocaust. Maybe we should "encourage" middle school history teachers to teach evolution.
  • Oklahoma: A Senate bill to require public or charter school teachers to teach "the concepts of creationism and/or intelligent design" if they teach evolution. NCSE points out that teaching "intelligent design" has been deemed unconstitutional by a Federal court because it is a religious view [quotation marks in original]. Two similar bills have been prefiled in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
  • And finally, West Virginia: According to NCSE, the Senate bill has passed and now states that "[n]o public school board, school superintendent, or school principal shall prohibit a public school classroom teacher from discussing or answering questions from students about scientific theories of how the universe and/or life came to exist."

Stay tuned!