January 23, 2010

Typical creationist, talks out of both sides of his mouth

In his Jan. 3, 2010, blog entry "Should Intelligent Design Be Taught in School?", Dr. Jay Wile writes, "if a science teacher wants to teach what is clearly a science-related topic (either to promote it or oppose it), that teacher should be able to do so."

Apparently Wile thinks we should be letting science teachers in public school who happen to be Jehovah's Witnesses lie to their students that blood transfusions are a bad thing (because they consider blood transfusions to be sinful according to their religious doctrine).

So, no, Wile's comment here is just wrong. It depends on what is really going on. Is the teacher doing the right thing in regard to science considerations and educating his students about science, or is he playing games as motivated by his religious beliefs?

Of course, the problem is precisely that intelligent design isn't a science-related topic. It is anti-evolution pseudoscience cooked up by creationists as motivated by their religious beliefs and falsely portrayed as science. Where is the intelligent design science? Where are the research articles supporting intelligent design, with field work or experimental data and mathematical analysis, in the professional science literature?

Wile also writes, "many of those who want to forbid the teaching of intelligent design or creationism in schools aren't interested in academic freedom. They aren't even interested in strengthening education. They are simply interested in trying to defend an outdated, scientifically inaccurate view by censoring all other ideas."

Funny, funny. Previously Wile had said he didn't "necessarily" want intelligent design taught in schools, but now he portrays it as "censorship" if you don't. Apparently he's having difficulty making up his mind. Or - more probably, since he's a creationist after all - he's talked out of both sides of his mouth for so long that he forgot that it's a good idea to keep your story straight at least within a single essay and only contradict the portrayal you're trying to give one audience to put one over on them when you're talking to a different audience who likes you and agrees with your approach of pretending things are what they are not in order to promote the common agenda.

And we're not just a bunch of rubes, so you have to laugh at a guy who falsely portrays his religion-motivated unscientific sentiments against evolutionary biology as "strengthening education", while at the same time he's pretending that his critics "aren't even interested in strengthening education" for daring to oppose pseudoscience. Having basic standards is good - unless you're a creationist, obviously.

In fact, the issue with respect to anti-evolution and intelligent design and public school science classes is precisely that (1) intelligent design isn't science and (2) it is anti-science propaganda used by religious believers to promote their religious beliefs (such as pretending their beliefs are scientific even though they are not) - which is why it is in fact illegal as per the First Amendment. This has all been hashed out in quite some detail in a number of court cases over the last few decades, most recently and notably in regard to the claims of intelligent design proponents in particular in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case in Pennsylvania in 2005.

The claims Wile makes in his essay have already been covered and hashed out and shown to be wrong over and over and over again (such as in the Kitzmiller case), yet here we are years later with Wile and other creationists using the same old rhetorical canards, as if they've never been dealt with before. As if no one ever even thought about and brought up the problem that teachers shouldn't be promoting nonscientific ideas (including anti-evolution ones) motivated by religious beliefs in public school science classes, tricking kids into thinking that it is genuinely scientific concerns that are being addressed when we adults know that it's all motivated by the religious beliefs of certain religious people, and that, oh by the way, there's this statement in the federal constitution that restricts government institutions (which includes public schools) from promoting religious beliefs (not from teaching about religious beliefs, but from promoting them in a sectarian manner).

We don't have to wonder what would happen in court and how the First Amendment restriction would apply because it's already been done and hashed out in detail and we know the result.

Creationism (including intelligent design and the anti-evolution attacks) isn't science. It's pseudoscience propaganda generated by people because of their religious beliefs, who use it to, among other things, falsely portray their ideas as scientific for the very purpose of trying to get around the First Amendment so they can shove their beliefs down kids' throats in public school science classes.

Creationists have played their games, and lost. Repeatedly. But they refuse to accept the conclusion, and so ignore it, and want to keep on playing the same old games they've lost numerous times already.

But that's exactly how creationists have been operating for decades. Why stop now?