Looking Ahead: The Controversy In 2012

This continues of our tradition of writing a projection at the start of a new year about how things are likely to go in the coming year regarding The Controversy between evolution and creationism. In reviewing last year’s essay, we see that it’s about 90% of what we’d want to say for this year. That’s because details change, but trends are persistent.

Instead of copying most of what we’ve already said and presenting it as a new post, we suggest that you just read the old one — Looking Ahead: The Controversy In 2011. That almost says it all, so we’ll just repeat a little bit, while noting what may be different about 2012.

First, as a continuing consequence of the election results of 2010, which brought many more Republicans into office — including those of the “social conservative” flavor — we can expect that an increased number of states will be eager to pander to their most ignorant inhabitants by trying to force creationism into the public schools.

If you need to know the dates of this year’s state legislative sessions, you can refer to this: 2012 Legislative Session Calendar.

For a rough idea about who the most persistently active creationist lawmakers are, check out this post in which we attempt to keep track of them: Creationist Legislators: Who’s Who? That is by no means an all-inclusive list; it’s just those who have been active while we’ve been blogging. We have no doubt there are others, many of them, eager to reveal their ignorance. As we said in that post:

[W]e’ve focused mostly on legislatures, only occasionally mentioning state school boards and governors. We’ve totally ignored local school boards and municipal officials — there are far too many of those to bother about.

One area of activity that does change from year to year is litigation. At the moment, the only court cases we’re watching are David Coppedge’s suit against his former employer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (which is part of Caltech), and also the newly-filed John Oller Case against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. As long as these pesky cases keep getting settled, providing income for the lawyers but no definitive precedents, we can expect to see more.

One encouraging development is the apparent attitude of the news media. They seem to have grown tired of creationism, except when it’s an election issue or when their state legislature is demonstrating its lunacy. And check out this history of Google searches on intelligent design: Google trends. We suspect that most of the few searches these days are by bloggers like your humble Curmudgeon. Even the Discovery Institute is complaining about a media blackout.

Speaking 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’ll repeat what we’ve said before:

As in previous years, creationist political agitation in the US seems primarily due to the activities of the Discoveroids. Our original analysis of their goals and intentions remains operative, presented here: Enemies of the Enlightenment.

[…]

They haven’t been doing well lately in their legislative efforts, and of course they have no actual science they can point to, so they seem to be pinning all their hopes on the courts. Lately they’ve been on a campaign to slip innocuous survey articles into lesser-known journals that make favorable mention of the “theory” of intelligent design. This appears to be in preparation for their next court contest, so they can cite some published articles and thus claim that their mumbo-jumbo is accepted as science. But the ploy is just too transparent.

And we’ll repeat one more paragraph from last year’s post, which is still true today:

Despite all the noise they make, creationists have had no impact on science, industry, agriculture, medicine, academia, or any other rational endeavor. We often fail to notice what doesn’t exist, but we shouldn’t overlook the fact that creationists have failed to accomplish anything of any substance whatsoever. Nor are any such accomplishments likely in the future.

So there you are. The Controversy continues, but it will be played out mainly in courtrooms and legislative chambers. People come and go, code words are altered, tactics evolve, but the game never really changes.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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11 responses to “Looking Ahead: The Controversy In 2012

  1. What are the current odds against 2012 being the year of the Precambrian Rabbit?

  2. Great Claw asks: “What are the current odds against 2012 being the year of the Precambrian Rabbit?”

    You can’t find a bookie who can quote you the odds. No one is betting on the other side.

  3. With so many megachurches forming their own large Christian schools, they will be doing all they can to increase enrollment in order to pay the bills. One way the church leaders can increase enrollment would be to keep The Controversy stirred up. I can imagine the parents are warned about the dangers of sending their children to the public schools where they will be exposed to “Godless Darwinism”.

  4. RetiredSciGuy says:

    I can imagine the parents are warned about the dangers of sending their children to the public schools where they will be exposed to “Godless Darwinism”.

    We can think of those creationist schools as Morlock academies.

  5. Too late, 1859 was the year of the Precambrian Rabbit! At that time rabbits in the Precambrian would have posed a difficult problem to explain.

    But, that was then and this is now. As Venter pointed out the modern theory of evolution could be discovered and demonstrated today without any fossil record, just by the collection of sequenced DNA and proteins we have.

    Meanwhile, creopropagandists haggle about finches and moths to no avail.

  6. Curmudgeon says:

    “We can think of those creationist schools as Morlock academies.”

    Morlock or not, they will turn out large numbers of future voters. I personally don’t want any more scientifically illiterate people choosing my leaders than we’ve already got out there.

  7. RetiredSciGuy: “One way the church leaders can increase enrollment would be to keep The Controversy stirred up.”

    And we can help by encouraging them to have YEC/OEC/ID debates, so that they can put their best “science” forward to confront those nasty “Darwinists.” Tell ’em that “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is for liberals.

    DocBill: “Too late, 1859 was the year of the Precambrian Rabbit!”

    OK. Maybe 2012 can be the year of the Human Pseudogene for Chlorophyll.

  8. FrankJ: I’ve never read that editorial before, but It’s wonderful! I’ve added that to my database of ways to combat creationists.

  9. I can give you an update on Louisiana. We’re going to have a controversy, I promise (Also HB 580 is probably coming back too).

  10. Hey, Zack! Those are two good bits of news. Please keep us informed.

  11. 580 is bad, that’s the attack on the textbooks. Hopefully we will be able to shut it down though.