Home » Education, Evolution, Intelligent Design, Science » ID-Phobia Goes National

ID-Phobia Goes National

Exhibit 1: Letter by 6 Nobel laureates et al. to all 50 governors of the United States — go here.

Exhibit 2: DEFCON’S top 10 Places Where Science Education is Under Threat — go here.

As these exhibits indicate, the other side is pulling out all the stops. It makes you wonder whether they’ve got something to lose.

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Here’s a comment by a friend and colleague on the letter to the 50 governors, specifically with reference to Kansas (note that the first signatory on the letter was Bruce Alberts):

It is ironic that this letter is addressed to state governors. In
Kansas, the Kansas State Board of Education invited the testimony of
scientists such as Dr. Alberts. He had the chance then to speak to
the people of Kansas — including its governor — and to the governors
of all other states. And so too did all the other scientists who
signed this letter. The Kansas State Board is provided for in the
Kansas Constitution. Pursuant to the Kansas Constitution, the
legislature and governor of Kansas established the Board. The people
of Kansas elect its members. When a constitutional body, comprised of
the people’s elected representatives, and charged with supervision of
the state public schools, asks the proponents of a theory that is
taught in those schools to come and testify and submit to
cross-examination, the proponents owe it to the people of the state to
come and give that testimony. It is a matter of respect to the people
who bore the children who are being taught that theory in the schools
the people pay for. They should have testified. They didn’t.
Instead, they put their energy into publicity campaigns like this
letter, like this phone call. The way they are conducting themselves
is not science, it is public relations. The people deserve better
from them than these public relations gambits. If these signatories
are so interested in talking to the elected officials of the 50
states, will they submit to questioning by counsel — the kind of
persistent questioning characteristic of the depositions that go on by
the tens of thousands every year in America in lawsuits and
investigations? Billions of dollars are spent teaching their theory
to every school child in America. They owe it to America to answer
the questions in such a format.

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Nobel Laureates Urge Governors on Teaching Evolution in School
2005-09-29 13:19 (New York)
By Paul Basken

Sept. 28 (Bloomberg) — Six Nobel laureates joined some 200
scientific and religious leaders in urging all 50 U.S. state
governors to insist that their schools teach evolution and oppose
religiously inspired alternatives.

The Nobel laureates — Peter Agre, Paul Berg, Mike Bishop,
Günter Blobel, H. Robert Horvitz and Harold Varmus — sent a
letter to the governors warning that moves to teach “intelligent
design” could leave U.S. students further behind their peers
abroad, harming U.S. economic competitiveness.

“We certainly will not be able to close this gap if we
substitute ideology for fact in our science classrooms,” the
group of about 100 scientists and 100 clergy wrote.

The letter was coordinated by an advocacy group known as
DefCon: The Campaign to Defend the Constitution, which is
fighting what it calls a rising threat of religious-based
influence over public school curricula.

The effort was criticized by defenders of alternatives to
evolution, such as the theory of “intelligent design,” as an
attempt by a scientific elite to quash dissent.

“It’s an endless, endless process of peer pressure,” said
Edward Sisson, an attorney with the Arnold & Porter law firm who
assisted the Kansas Board of Education in adding intelligent
design to its science curriculum. “It is just not believable
that everything happened by chance” in human cell development,
he said.

Court Case

A court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is currently hearing
the first case designed to test whether public schools can teach
intelligent design, the belief that living organisms are so
complex they must have been designed by a higher intelligence.

The plaintiffs said the school board in Dover, Pennsylvania,
threatened to fire high school science teachers who declined to
give creationism equal weight with evolution.

Other cases include a school district in Cobb County,
Georgia, seeking the right to put stickers on textbooks
questioning the validity of evolution, and a group of Christian
schools trying to force the University of California to give
applicants credit for taking high school courses that teach
creationism.

A poll by nonpartisan Pew Research Center for the People &
the Press in July found 64 percent of the U.S. public favor
teaching creationism or “intelligent design” in public schools
along with evolution. Yet respondents, by a margin of 49 percent
to 38 percent, opposed teaching creationism instead of evolution.

10 States

DefCon: The Campaign To Defend the Constitution is a project
of the San Francisco-based Tides Center, a group of non-profit
support organizations. Its advisory board includes Varmus,
president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New
York and former head of the National Institutes of Health, as
well as Ira Glasser, former executive director of the American
Civil Liberties Union.

The group also issued a separate report today identifying 10
“Islands of Ignorance” — U.S. states and communities where it
said science-based education is threatened.

Along with the Pennsylvania and Georgia cases, the report
cites the November 2004 victory by “anti-evolutionists” in
taking control of the state board in Kansas, and a vote last year
by the Ohio State Board of Education requiring students to
critically study “evolutionary theory.” It described similar
actions in Florida, South Carolina, Utah, Alabama, Wisconsin and
Tennessee.

“We do not oppose exposing our children to philosophical
and spiritual discussion around the origin and meaning of life,”
the scientific and religious leaders said in their letter to the
50 governors. “There are appropriate venues for such discussion
– but not in the context of teaching science in a public school
science classroom.”

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16 Responses to ID-Phobia Goes National

  1. “We certainly will not be able to close this gap if we substitute ideology for fact in our science classrooms”

    Amen to that. And which ideology shall we eliminate in order to be able to present the facts for a change?

  2. They write: We have come together – people of science and people of faith – for the sake of our
    children and the competitiveness of our country, to urge you to ensure that:

    • Science curricula, state science standards, and teachers emphasize evolution in a
    manner commensurate with its importance as a unifying concept in science and its
    overall explanatory power.

    This is really rich. Steven Meyers paper–the one that caused the hullabaloo for Richard Sternberg and that was totally thrashed at Panda’s Thumb–was making the basic argument that intelligent-design had MORE “explanatory power” than Darwinism.

    If this wasn’t a “scientific” argument, then why do these illustrious scientists, et.al, use it as the very first point they want to make about this debate?

    Is the answer that they are simply blinded? Are the smoke-and-mirrors too glitzzy to give up?

  3. Here’s a rant worth reading about why the ACLU is so ID-phobic.

    http://www.americandaily.com/article/9487

  4. To NeoDarwinian Narrative Apologists:

    Click your heels three times and repeat after me:

    There IS no scientific controversy.

    There is NO scientific controversy.

    There is no SCIENTIFIC controversy.

    BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Science curricula, state science standards, and teachers emphasize evolution in a
    manner commensurate with its importance as a unifying concept in science

    So now evolution isn’t just a unifying concept for biology but for all of science?

  6. It is most interesting that this missive wasn’t went to only those few states where the “religious right” is trying to take over the schools, but to all 50 states.
    Clearly the expectation is that there will be many more battles to come. This looks very much like some sort of pre-emptive strike to me. “Look out, Guv, your state is next on the hit list!” Bill’s right, they sure act like a bunch of folks afraid something is about to slip.

  7. I like the “DefCon” touch. It sounds very courageous. I wonder how many acronyms they went through before landing on that one? :-)

  8. I thought that giving the Nobel Peace Prize to the likes of Yassir Arrafat was a low point. Now I’m starting to get suspicious about the Science Prize as well.

    Maybe the letter to governors is actually a secret campaign to boost the stock price of companies that sell homeschooling materials.

  9. Russ wrote: “Maybe the letter to governors is actually a secret campaign to boost the stock price of companies that sell homeschooling materials. ” I laughed out loud when I read that. :-)

  10. you really have to wonder about these scare campaigns and use of the terms “religious right.” they want you to believe its about religion, not about science. they want you to hear this and think of “theocracy.” these people have no shame. especially when you consider the agnostics or believers in panspermia (or similar ideas- or even very different ideas that offer no religion or god but intelligent beings from another source) who dont accept the theory as it stands.

  11. Intelligent Design Roundup Friday

    The debate on Intelligent Design vs Evolution has been flooding through the blogsphere like some cleverly conceived primeval super-goo this week….

  12. It is time to cast the darwinists out of the intellectual spheres forever!

  13. http://www.pandasthumb.org/arc.....ent_1.html

    Wesley R. Elsberry’s malfunctioning lower intestine is spewing out more bloody crap than usual…

  14. http://www.pandasthumb.org/arc......html#more

    This is a classic example of “fighting the last war”.

    How clueless/lame are the Panda’s Thumb contributors? Extremely so when they bother attacking young earth creation science.

  15. This shows me how fanatical evolutionists are. Wesley Ellsberry is one great example.

  16. * “Six Nobel laureates joined some 200 scientific and religious leaders in urging all 50 U.S. state governors to insist that their schools teach evolution and oppose religiously inspired alternatives”.

    How will they teach/preach evolution then ?

    “The Nobel laureates — Peter Agre, Paul Berg, Mike Bishop, Günter Blobel, H. Robert Horvitz and Harold Varmus — sent a letter to the governors warning that moves to teach “intelligent design’’ could leave U.S. students further behind their peers abroad, harming U.S. economic competitiveness”.

    Oh no! If we tell people that some life forms are the result of inteligent activity, US students will become dumb!

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