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Monday, February 13, 2006

ID RIP?

In the latest issue of Science, Elizabeth Culotta asks, "Is ID on the Way Out?" She tells the story of El Tejon (CA) Unified School District's decision to pull a slated course titled "Philosophy of Design":

Last month, a teacher in a rural southern California high school began a monthlong course on the "Philosophy of Design," exploring issues such as "why is intelligent design [ID] gaining momentum?" In response, 11 parents, with help from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, sued the El Tejon Unified School District on 10 January. Fresh from a decisive December win over proponents of ID in Dover, Pennsylvania, evolution's defenders geared up for another court battle.

But they didn't get one. Facing projected legal costs of $100,000, the school board agreed to a settlement, ending the course early and promising not to teach any course that "promotes or endorses creationism, creation science, or intelligent design."

After the ID defeat in Dover, it seems that proponents of Intelligent Design education have softened their stance in an attempt to win the support of skeptical parents. The slogan, "teach the controversy", may gain them some mileage, but this only seems to rile the nerves of the informed. So far, cooler heads have prevailed, and the intended goals of the IDists may in fact come back to bite them.

[T]he battle over teaching evolution "isn't over," says Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes Science. "These people are well-financed and ideologues in the true sense, and they are not giving this up."

I would argue that they would be wise to give it up. Parents across the country, wary of the manufactured outrage may be motivated to win back their school boards, running on platforms centered around keeping religion in the churches and out of the classroom. If it comes to that, the anti-evolutionists will only have themselves to blame for bringing up the "controversy" in the first place.