Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The Religious Right is after your brain

Evan Ratliff, Wired Magazine Issue 12.10

As reported in Wire magazine, those people who gave you "God hates fags" and "Islamo-fascists" are now going after schools more than ever before. I wonder what is next, attacking music class because there are no hymns or removing English because people are reading something besides the bible?

I suppose the press conference would sound something like this: "We must do away with the evils of English and geometry! There is no need to study those devil worshipping subjects. Just think about how close Al-gebra is to Al-Queda."

As Ratliff investigates:

In the beginning there was Darwin. And then there was intelligent design. How the next generation of "creation science" is invading America's classrooms.

On a spring day two years ago, in a downtown Columbus auditorium, the Ohio State Board of Education took up the question of how to teach the theory of evolution in public schools. A panel of four experts - two who believe in evolution, two who question it - debated whether an antievolution theory known as intelligent design should be allowed into the classroom.

This is an issue, of course, that was supposed to have been settled long ago. But 140 years after Darwin published On the Origin of Species, 75 years after John Scopes taught natural selection to a biology class in Tennessee, and 15 years after the US Supreme Court ruled against a Louisiana law mandating equal time for creationism, the question of how to teach the theory of evolution was being reopened here in Ohio. The two-hour forum drew chanting protesters and a police escort for the school board members. Two scientists, biologist Ken Miller from Brown University and physicist Lawrence Krauss from Case Western Reserve University two hours north in Cleveland, defended evolution.

On the other side of the dais were two representatives from the Discovery Institute in Seattle, the main sponsor and promoter of intelligent design: Stephen Meyer, a professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University's School of Ministry and director of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, and Jonathan Wells, a biologist, Discovery fellow, and author of Icons of Evolution, a 2000 book castigating textbook treatments of evolution. Krauss and Miller methodically presented their case against ID. "By no definition of any modern scientist is intelligent design science," Krauss concluded, "and it's a waste of our students' time to subject them to it."

Of course, I wonder if chimpy supports intelligent design. Surely, the label itself is beyond him.

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