Josh talks about the difference between teaching about ID and teaching ID. There is a huge difference that the Discovery Institute does not seem to understand.
I am opposed to teaching Intelligent Design in the classroom. It’s an absurd idea that is unsupported by any evidence — it has not earned a place in the curriculum as a legitimate scientific hypothesis. The propaganda novels that the DI has tried to peddle in the past, Of Pandas and People and their new one, Explore Evolution, do not belong in the classroom. They are badly written, and incompetently push completely false ideas as valid. They should be rejected on their low merit.
On the other hand, I do teach about ID … in fact, this next week is the week I’ve set aside to specifically address creationism in my introductory biology course. I’ve prepared them with some of the history of evolution, and maybe a little bit more of the evidence for the idea than was easily digestible, and now I’m going to cover the fallacies of interpretation of the theory, which will include social Darwinism as well as creationism. Students are bombarded with these bad ideas, and I don’t think we can afford to pretend they don’t exist — we have to confront them head-on.
The strategy I’m using is to ask the students themselves what arguments they’ve heard against evolution. They wrote some lists down this week, and this weekend I’m putting together a lecture where I specifically take these misconceptions and answer them. It was rather fun reading their lists: the arguments are very familiar, everything from “if evolution is true, why are there still monkeys?” to “there are no transitional fossils” to “organisms are too complex to have evolved.”
I also encouraged the students to go to our local creationist tent revival meeting, which was very conveniently timed. We’ll also be discussing how to refute his arguments in class next week.
That’s teaching about creationism. I’m all for it. It’s how we prepare students to criticize lies after they leave the classroom.