Thursday, January 12, 2006
Just when you think you’ve killed it, it comes back--The next case in the battle between the know-nothings and the Constitution moves to a remote town in the Tehachapi mountains of California. The town is Lebec, population 1,285, which is usually not enough people to have lawsuits--it would mean a large part of the town suing the other part. But someone tried to pull a fast one.
The El Tejon Unified School District approved a “philosophy” course on intelligent design. Not science, folks. That would be illegal. On the advice of attorneys, they called it philosophy. It describes all the things supporters of creationism find problematic about evolution and propounds intelligent design. No debate, no discussion. According to the class syllabus: "the class will take a close look at evolution as a theory and will discuss the scientific, biological and biblical aspects that suggest why Darwin's philosophy is not rock solid. The class will discuss intelligent design as an alternative response to evolution. Physical and chemical evidence will be presented suggesting the earth is thousands of years old, not billions." Not quite on the level of a symposium on Kant’s Categoric Imperative is it?
The course will run four weeks and is being taught by a gym teacher who just happens to be the wife of a fundamentalist minister. You will note certain lack of training in science.
Eleven families with kids in Frazier Mountain High School brought the suit. One of the plaintiffs is a geologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, who said the course conflicts with his belief as a scientist. The plaintiff's point out that with one exception, the course relies exclusively on videos that advocate religious perspectives and present religious theories as scientific ones — and because the teacher has no scientific training, students are not provided with any critical analysis of the presentation."
And you all thought the good Judge Jones in Pennsylvania killed it off. The Discovery Institute, the mother church of intelligent design, says that opponents are trying to censor discussion of the theory. Actually, what opponents would favor is an intelligent discussion of intelligent design.
UPDATE--On Wednesday, Jan. 18, in a federal court settlement, the school board promised to drop the class and never be cute again.