Paul Nelson responds to Amanda Marcotte, who mentioned that the poor quality of his debate explains why Nelson thinks ID should not be taught in schools.
Amanda, Sahotra and I spent three hours talking at an Austin bar the night before the debate. I reiterated to him what I’ve said for years: I’m not interested in getting ID into the public schools. He allowed as much in his spoken remarks (which should be available soon as streaming video from the UPA), but still stood up a straw-man ID bad guy. What’s funny is Sahotra and I have been debating/discussing design since we met in 1985, and in that whole time I’ve consistently told him that it doesn’t much matter to me if design is taught in public schools. We push that issue out of the way and move on to empirical and philosophical particulars.
Hmmm. Let’s take a look at the Wedge document, shall we?
Phase I of the wedge was supposed to be about research, writing, and publication. They were supposed to have a group of scientists doing pioneering work to “crack the materialist edifice”. This hasn’t worked out so well—nobody is actually doing any ID science—but let’s be charitable and assume that Nelson thinks his lecturing and debating and philosophizing is part of this phase.
What about Phase II? That’s titled “Publicity & Opinion-making”, and includes in its activities teacher training, as well as putting together apologetics seminars (revealing in its title, eh?) and television programs. Maybe Nelson isn’t thinking about getting this stuff in public schools, but his fellow travelers are—it’s in the plan. The DI must think they’re in Phase II, since they’re also publishing Teacher’s Guides for high school and undergraduate instructors. That awful textbook, “Of Pandas and People”, is intended for high schools and is clearly an ID-friendly book, even if it is nominally disavowed by the DI.
Phase III is “Cultural Confrontation and Renewal”. The DI plans to “pursue possible legal assistance in response to resistance to the integration of design theory into public school science curricula“. That’s blatant, I think. Since several prominent members (Behe and Minnich, for instance) of the DI provided legal assistance in response to the recent resistance in Dover, at least some part of the DI is ready to push ID into the schools.
Maybe Nelson doesn’t himself want ID taught in the public schools right now. But it is disingenuous to pretend that that isn’t the goal of the movement he is fronting.
I’d add that since he is completely lacking in “empirical” particulars, and his philosophy is painfully shallow and goofy, it’s awfully hard to figure out what exactly he is trying to accomplish. We’ll have to be forgiven if we speculate on the basis of the actions his backers are carrying out in the absence of plausible statements about their goals…it sure looks to me like they’re trying to peddle pseudoscience to the gullible, with Nelson’s assistance.