Wesley Elsberry reminds us that the tenth anniversary of the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District is fast approaching. In his inimitable low-key but hard-hitting style, he writes:
Because religious antievolution since the Epperson v. Arkansas case has mostly adopted the strategy of deception, I see the time since Dover as confirming that as the approach. After Epperson, the proponents of creationism could have used a strategy of cultural resistance via Sunday school and church. Instead, they seized on phrasing in the Epperson decision’s dissenting opinion that of course science of whatever variety could be taught in public school science classrooms, and decided that they would use a subset of the old arguments they used to promote creationism, and claim that those were science. The history of the antievolution movement since then has been a process of iterative cloaking of intent as the courts prove time and again capable of discerning the sham. (‘Sham’ is the phrasing used in the Edwards v. Aguillard decision in 1987.)
Given that view of history in mind, it is easy to see that the application of the deceptive strategy is still the primary focus of the antievolution movement. The intent is to get as many of the old, shabby, awful arguments from creationism mentioned in public school science classrooms as if they had never been refuted.
Given that our legal system has recourse for teaching sectarian religious doctrines, but not for teaching bad science*, this looks to be a process that will continue. ‘Intelligent design’ as a commonly accepted, given the benefit of doubt notion is dead, but the arguments that comprised IDC go on under new names, sowing confusion and mistrust of the scientific endeavor.
*There are some provisions for removing incompetent teachers, but applying them is usually difficult and uncertain of achieving good results.
I remember the events building up to the Dover trial as it coincided with a period of illness and treatment that meant I had plenty of time on my hands to surf the net and, having come across “Intelligent Design” by accident, I was able to follow events and personalities quite closely. Since then, I’ve predicted (wrongly and prematurely) the demise of the movement. That puzzles me. The strategy to get alternative ideas to evolution taught in public schools has pretty much failed. Seems to me that ID proponents need to look at two options. Develop another strategy for bypassing Church-state separation or actually put some effort into developing ID into a genuine scientific hypothesis with entailments and predictions. Otherwise, why go on?