Darwinists Trick Themselves in Texas
From my Discovery Blog
The New York Times got the preview story wrong, and the Washington Post editorial writer probably was too rushed to question the charges of "creationism" coming from the National Center for Science Education, the Darwin-only lobby. So this week's important decisions by the Texas State Board of Education (TSBE) on how to teach evolution were predicated in the media by the big question of whether teachers should provide both "strengths and weaknesses" of Darwin's theory. Those words might sound benign, readers were told, but they really are "code words" (take the press' word for it) for creationism and religion.
To the media left, any questioning of Darwin is reserved for denizens of Dogpatch.
So, what did the TSBE do? Well, it turns out that they are fairly adroit politicians. They did remove language providing for "strengths and weaknesses" and then added new language--quite a lot of it--providing that students will learn, for example, to "analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations...including examining all sides of scientific evidence... so as to encourage critical thinking by the student." Perfect! A policy distinction without a difference! In fact, the new standards are just fine, an improvement, in fact. Now teachers can tell the kids about the scientific evidence in a variety of fields that seems to contradict the Darwinian account as well as the supposed evidence in support.
Once again the NCSE was too-smart-by-half. It ran blogs making fun of religion, while organizing public speakers who gave fulsome testimony to their Christian faith and how compatible it is with "evolution" (meaning Darwinian evolution). To the purists like Richard Dawkins and P.Z. Myers it probably makes them look like toadies.
In the end, the rhetoric meant to evoke fundamentalist cranks was mixed with pious statements doing the very kind of religious posturing the Darwinists project onto their foes, and reminding me of the church scenes from Blazing Saddles. It all backfired.
By demonizing specific words--and making the elimination of them the test of "science"--the NCSE and its state distributor, the Orwellian-named Texas Freedom Network, simply allowed the Board to do the obvious word shuffle. Okay, no "strengths and weakness, " but instead, we'll pass similar ideas in different words, and everyone will be happy. Except, of course, the NCSE and the TFN.
Don't expect the media to figure this out from the NCSE Talking Points memo, but the insiders get the picture. Dawkins must be enjoying a caustic chuckle at the expense of the NCSE.