Apr 11 2012

Preach the controversy

Chalk up another win for the “Preach the Controversy” gambit injecting creationism into public schools. The governor of Tennessee has decided not to sign the bill, and not to veto it either. This will allow the bill to become law without necessarily making the governor personally accountable for its contents—which are pretty bad.

In any case, the legislators want to do what they can to enable science teachers to teach the controversy. To that end, they’re basically attempting to block any educational authority—school board, principal, the state board of education—from punishing a teacher for covering the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories.”

Discovery Institute, of course, has already supplied “supplementary texts” suitable for classroom use, so I think we ought to come up with our own supplement. Let’s call it: “Too Stupid to Design Evolution: Insights into the Intelligence of the Intelligent Designer.” We can point out how dumb it would be to build a genetic code whose primary purpose is to prevent species from being able to evolve to adapt to changing conditions and expand into new ecological niches. We can use Dembski’s “random chance” proctostatistics as evidence the Intelligent Designer overlooked the rich potential inherent in making some probabilities more likely than others. We might even toss in a few observations regarding the efficiency of various “designs” He is alleged to come up with.

And the best part is that in Tennessee, a science teacher would be protected, by this new law, from suffering any legal penalties for this bold exercise in critical thinking.


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  1. 1

    Hopefully the opponent to the governor in the next election cycle clearly points out that by not vetoing the bill, the current governor still endorsed it.

  2. 2

    covering the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories.”

    Seeing as creationism and intelligent design are as scientific as astrology and necromancy, this protects these teachers not at all.

    The minute they start teaching creationism and ID in science class (as anything other than religious twaddle) they run the risk of getting charged with a violation of the First Amendment.

  3. 3
    San Ban

    Well, we already have at least one alternate theory, complete with books and a religious community that would be offended by its rejection: http://www.venganza.org/

  4. 4

    It’s just another Dover trap… setting some poor school district up for a massive lawsuit that the state doesn’t have to pay for.

    There are several states that I will never move to… Tennessee has been added to the list.

    1. 4.1

      There are several states that I will never move to…

      …America, United of, is top of my list.

  5. 5
    d cwilson

    ogremk5 @4:

    I don’t think “Dover Trap” is an accurate term. The Dover Area school district didn’t have a state law to justify their decision to teach creationism intelligent design. They brought that lawsuit on all by themselves.

    In any event, I have a feeling that Tennessee biology classes are going to look a lot like this:

  6. 6

    I believe there are probably FSM & IPU materials available.

  7. 7
    The Lorax

    I agree with the FSM references. That’s what its purpose originally was, so why not? I think someone should write a book as narrated by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, detailing His thought processes that led His Saucyness to design the universe the way it is.

    “From His Noodle: The Story of Creation”

  8. 8

    So are they going to teach all of the creation myths and let the children decide which one to believe (if any)? Somehow I doubt it.

  9. 9
    M can help you with that.

    As an improvement to the “intelligent design” doctrine, we should suggest the “stoned-off-its-ass designer” doctrine. It has all the supposed benefits of ED, but also explains such phenomena as the bastard installing our retinas backwards. I mean, sure, it’s still nowhere near either science or Pastafarianism in terms of predictive or explanatory value, but it’s a definite improvement on ID. Let’s start demanding equal time in schools!

    1. 9.1

      Perhaps we should also all start to always call it Idiot Design. Probably won’t help too much, but at least it’s a more accurate name. Still wrong, but more accurate.

  10. 10

    By the wording shown here, as I read it, a teacher could just spend the first five minutes of the first day saying, “Creationism has no scientific basis in fact, and is therefore not science. Intelligent Design has been legally proven to be nothing more than warmed over Creationism, and is therefore not science. For the remainder of the school year we will be learning about the strengths and weaknesses of real science, evolution. Open your books to Chapter 1.”

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