Casey: Not Darwin Day, It’s Academic Freedom Day

The talented elves in the art department at the Curmudgeon’s operations center have labored mightily to develop the logo which adorns this post. We’ll use it from time to time to symbolize the vast scope and ever-bewildering world of creationism — the pillars of which are ignorance, gullibility, mendacity, and a lust for theocracy.

Nothing could be more appropriate for the first usage of our new logo than a visit to the blog of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Bills Protecting Academic Freedom on Evolution Multiply in Anticipation of Academic Freedom Day, written by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist, who holds the distinction of being the only Discoveroid who lacks the title of “Fellow.” To correct that cruel injustice, your Curmudgeon has recognized Casey for his intellectual achievements. See Casey Luskin Is Named a Curmudgeon Fellow. Here are some excerpts from Casey’s post, with bold font added by us:

Across the country legislation is moving forward that will protect teachers and students who want the freedom to discuss both the strengths and weaknesses of modern evolutionary theory.

Moving forward? Well, a handful of creationist bills have been introduced into some legislatures. The latest one is in Tennessee, about which we posted this morning (see Tennessee Creationism Bill for 2011). Let’s read on:

February 12 used to be universally recognized as the birthday of Abraham Lincoln — a day celebrating freedom. Needing a patron saint, modern Darwin lobbyists have recently converted February 12 into “Darwin Day.”

Patron saint? Casey says that so soon after the Discoveroids Adopt Alfred Wallace as Godfather? We knew the revival of Darwin Day was galling to the Discoveroids, but we weren’t expecting such an amusing reaction. We continue:

There’s nothing wrong with celebrating Darwin’s birthday — if that’s what you really want to do. But in recent years the advocacy of evolution has become increasingly associated with attempts to subvert intellectual freedom. To reclaim February 12 for those who love freedom, for the past few years Discovery Institute has called February 12 “Academic Freedom Day.”


To help combat the dogmatism that presently pervades evolution-education, Discovery Institute supports legislation that protects academic freedom for teachers who would dare to challenge Darwin in the classroom. There are presently academic freedom bills in Oklahoma, Tennessee, New Mexico, Kentucky, and Missouri.

To “help combat dogmatism?” Okay, that’s what the Discoveroids think about science. We’ll skip some blather about what Casey claims are false rumors about such legislation, and then we come to this:

[W]e’re also hearing the standard false claim that the bills allow the teaching of creationism or religion. Despite the talking points of critics, academic freedom bills would not authorize or protect the teaching of creationism or any other religious viewpoint. According to a number of federal court rulings, creationism is a religious viewpoint that is illegal to advocate in public schools. Consistent with these rulings, most academic freedom bills contain language that expressly excludes the teaching of religion and only protects the teaching of scientific information.

Everyone who believes that such disingenuous language will be effective for that purpose, raise your hands. [Curmudgeon looks around, but sees no hands.] For those who may be confused, we have an actual example of the effect on creationists of a bill containing exactly that kind of language. We refer to the only “academic freedom” bill that was actually passed — with considerable Discoveroid support — in Louisiana back in 2008. See Louisiana Creationism: World-Class Idiocy. Hint: A creationist school board understood the Discoveroid-sanctioned law as a green light to teach creationism. Moving along:

Critics also claim the bills permit the teaching of intelligent design (ID). ID is different from creationism [Aaaargh!!], but academic freedom bills say nothing about ID. Rather, the bills state that teachers should “be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught.” Under this language, academic freedom bills only pertain to topics already in the curriculum. Since ID isn’t part of the required curriculum anywhere in the United States, ID doesn’t come under such bills.

Ah, then we assume no Discoveroid-authored texts will ever be used in states that pass such legislation. Is that what Casey is promising? We have our doubts.

There’s more in Casey’s post. Check it out if you like. For us, Casey’s little essay has served its purpose. It provided some Darwin Day entertainment, and it was the perfect excuse to launch our fine new logo. Thanks, Casey!

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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5 responses to “Casey: Not Darwin Day, It’s Academic Freedom Day

  1. Casey gerbilizing:

    According to a number of federal court rulings, creationism is a religious viewpoint that is illegal to advocate in public schools. Consistent with these rulings…

    Um, yeah, according to another federal court ruling ID is creationism, a religious viewpoint, and incapable of doing more than “criticizing the weaknesses of evolution,” however disingenuously this is done (very).

    Since you don’t care what the courts say in that instance, why would we suppose that you care about anything else involving the Constitution, honesty, truth, or evidence?

  2. The duplicity of the DI is so transparent that it is amazing that they have the guts to write this stuff. If our education system seriously taught critical thinking, the DI would be out of business.

    This act will be challenged somewhere, when another overzealous school board chooses to “teach the controversy”, and crosses the line. It will be very difficult to try and teach “weaknesses of evolution” without bringing in intelligent design or creationism. Given there is no credible scientific evidence supporting the creationist’s alleged weaknesses, and the only teachers who will be motivated to teach “weaknesses” will be creationists themselves, it is hard to imagine how they will manage to stay out of trouble.

  3. Weaknesses or STFU, Casey.

  4. To reclaim February 12 for those who love freedom, for the past few years Discovery Institute has called February 12 “Academic Freedom Day.”

    Casey needs to go back and review his Daytimer. In 2009, they celebrated Academic Freedom Day on February 20. You might think that I am being a little pedantic over 8 days, but don’t forget the entire universe was created in 6 days. It really puts the magnitude of Casey’s error in perspective, doesn’t it?

  5. Good catch, carlsonjok.