Discovery Institute: Against the New Texas Science Standards

WE’VE BEEN expecting this. A new group, 21st-Century Science Coalition, started getting press attention for their support of the proposed science standards for Texas schools (which we reported here: Texas Evolution Battle Heating Up).

Now, to no one’s surprise, the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids) have put up an article at their blog in support of the old standards, which allow creationism in science in the guise of teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of the theory of evolution: Who in Texas Is Afraid of a Little Critical Analysis of Evolution?

To support their claim that there are “weaknesses” in the theory of evolution, the Discoveroid blog article offers up a typical creationist “quote salad,” designed to create doubt in the minds of those who don’t know anything about the subject (their typical audience). Misleading collections of out-of-context quotes like that totally ignore the fact that knowledgeable scientists are virtually unanimous in their strong support of the theory of evolution. See, for example, Project Steve. There are over 900 Steves, and as “Steve” is a name given to only 1% of the population, the Steves represent about 90,000 scientists. The few — very few — who don’t support evolution seem to be associated with the Discoveroids.

At the end of the Discoveroid article they say this:

I think that Texas Board of Education chair Don McLeroy was right to say that the requirement to teach students the “strengths and weaknesses” should be left in. As McLeroy said, “Evolution shouldn’t have anything to worry about — if there’s no weaknesses, there’s no weaknesses.” What are the Darwinists afraid of? A little critical analysis of evolution never hurt anyone who had the evidence on their side.

As expected, the Discoveroids support Don McLeroy, the creationist dentist who heads the Texas Board of Education. We’ve quoted from McLeroy’s own blog before, but it’s worth doing again, to remind you of who and what he is, and to also remind you of what the Discoveroids are supporting. This article (by McLeroy, apparently) is at McLeroy’s blog: Thoughts on Naturalism and Intelligent Design The Sunday School Lecture. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

What is our main target? …

Is it Darwinian evolution? Darwinian evolution is not biblical either; it is not supported by evidence. Yes, that must be the target but Darwinian evolution is not the main target we need to focus on. In intelligent design there is a bigger target.

What is this bigger target? In the words of Phillip Johnson it is “metaphysical naturalism” or “materialism” or just plain old “naturalism”; it is the idea that nature is all there is. Modern science today is totally based on naturalism. In all of intelligent design’s arguments against both Darwinian evolution, and the chemical origin of life, it is their naturalistic base that is the ultimate target. The important aspect of Darwinian evolution is its naturalistic claim that all life is a result of purposeless, unintelligent, material causes.

As we’ve mentioned before, McLeroy — a flat-out, full-blown creationist — hopelessly confuses philosophical naturalism, which some people accept, and procedural naturalism, the working method of science. The distinction is essential, and McLeroy is hopelessly confused. Procedural naturalism is an inevitable aspect of the trade-craft of science; but it is not necessarily part of a scientist’s overall philosophy of life.

One more excerpt from McLeroy’s blog article, and this one really says it all:

And why is intelligent design considered a “big tent”? It is because anyone opposed to naturalism is welcomed into the movement. All of us, progressive creationists, recent creationists, old earthers, and young earthers are welcomed in this tent. Intelligent design here at Grace Bible Church is a smaller tent than the intelligent design movement itself. We are all biblical literalists and believe the Bible to be inerrant. It is good to remember that the intelligent design movement is a bigger tent. There is no reason to attack one another over our disagreements, though we should rigorously examine our Bible, and see how our views fit the Scriptures and how coherent a creation story they tell. Remember, naturalism is the main target.

He essentially admits that intelligent design is a front for biblical creationism. That’s the man with whom the Discoveroids are allied; and of course they’re opposed to the genuine scientists in Texas. Did we expect anything else?

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8 responses to “Discovery Institute: Against the New Texas Science Standards

  1. Creationist Dentist McLeroy’s blog article asks:

    And why is intelligent design considered a “big tent”?

    But the answer is obvious:

    Because it is full of clowns!

  2. Because it is full of clowns!

    Hee hee. Very good, O Great Claw.

  3. He/She/it gets “O Great Claw” and I get “Tundra boy?” You nasty anti-Canada racist you.

  4. Most Americans think of Canada as a vast blank region above the US on maps, but I’m much better informed than most. When I think of Canada I think of snow-blindness, walrus blubber, and tundra. There’s also Sgt. Preston of the Mounties, but one doesn’t hear much from him these days. I think that pretty much covers it all, Tundra Boy.

  5. I think you forgot the 3 story igloos.

  6. Now you’re bragging.

  7. retiredsciguy

    A serious question for b_sharp/Tundra Boy — Here in the U.S., elementary and secondary curricula are determined at the local level in most states, usually with a state model curriculum as a guide rather than as a mandate. There are exceptions, notably California and Texas, but education is clearly controlled at the state and local level, not federal.

    What’s the situation in Canada? Provincial/local control, or federal?

  8. retiredsciguy “What’s the situation in Canada? Provincial/local control, or federal?

    Canada has no school boards. It doesn’t need them. They have only one book*.

    *Spoiler alert: it’s about bark.