New Scientist Needs a Reality Check
New Scientist is up in arms over the successful passage of the Louisiana Science Education Act ("New legal threat to teaching evolution in the US"). NS Reporter Amanda Gefter devotes the article to the narrative of Barbara Forrest, portrayed as a weary warrior against the powers of darkness (that would be us, in case you're wondering). While this makes for an interesting, Alice-through-the-Looking-Glass foray into utter nonsense, the falsehoods and misinformation presented as historical fact need correcting.
The most obvious untruth is Gefter's regurgitation of the old myth that intelligent design came after Edwards v. Aguillard, the 1987 case where the Supreme Court ruled creation science unconstitutional. As a matter of historical record, intelligent design can be traced back to ancient Greece, and the modern theory of ID was born by the early 1980s, as Jonathan Witt recounts in "The Origin of Intelligent Design."
Of course, there are more subtle and pernicious problems with this article. Two scientists are included in the description of Barbara Forrest's league of LSEA opponents, but the four who testified in favor of academic freedom are never mentioned, because for Darwinists and the MSM reporters who "frame the issue," they must not exist.
Explore Evolution is portrayed as an intelligent design book which those clever little Discovery Institute minions designed to present ID arguments, hiding their intent by omitting any mention of intelligent design itself. In reality, Explore Evolution is a textbook devoted to the arguments for and against Darwin's theory -- nothing more and nothing less. The book doesn't mention intelligent design because the arguments it presents aren't about ID. (Check out the link and see for yourself.) Criticisms of Darwin's theory do not equal intelligent design.
While she doesn't interview many supporters of the bill, Gefter does manage to bring in some voices from the fringes, like Pepper Hamilton's ACLU lawyer Eric Rothschild, who paints the bill as a disingenuous religious bid which is "better camouflaged now," with "the final version" of the bill including "a statement that the law should not be taken as promoting religion."
Actually, the bill contained that language from its inception. The sample legislation available at AcademicFreedomPetition.com and mentioned in the article includes that language. It was never "added in" by anyone, but was always the stated purpose and intent of the bill:
Section 7. Nothing in this act shall be construed as promoting any religious doctrine, promoting discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promoting discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.
Gefter would better serve New Scientist's readers by researching the true history of both intelligent design and the LSEA for a dose of reality.