Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Discovery's Big Dreams

Updated: The AP reported yesterday that the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee approved high school biology standards "that do not require students to critically analyze the theory of evolution."

This morning, as noted by the Discovery Institute's Evolution News and Views blog, AP updated the story with a revised lead that reads, "The state Education Oversight Committee approved high school biology standards Monday that require students to "critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory."

As readers might imagine, DI is crowing about the revised story. But the truth is, there's nothing to crow about.

The change in the AP's lead reflects the fact that the words "critical analysis" can indeed be found in the standards. However, AP goes on to report something that Discovery does not:
"Scientific inquiry is taught at every grade level and in every discipline," Education Department spokesman Jim Foster said. "It does not require students to study alternatives to evolution that are decidedly out of the mainstream."

As Foster says, the new standards will not change the way science is taught in South Carolina. The wording in the standards is simply a face-saving device -- a way for the right-wingers on the legislature's Education Oversight Committee to walk away with something.

But that, apparently, is enough for the Discovery Institute to claim victory:
"I cannot see this as anything other than a victory," said Casey Luskin, a spokesman for Discovery Institute, a Seattle, Wash.-based think tank that encourages critical analysis of evolution. "Students will now learn the scientific strengths and weaknesses of evolution."
Red State Rabble has a question for Casey Luskin and the Discovery Institute: If you're going to dream, why not dream big? Why wish for Mad Dog 20/20 when you could just as easily wish for champagne?

If South Carolina truly represents the victory for intelligent design you say it does, why declare victory in just one state? Get some gumption! Pull on your big boy tighty whities and declare victory in all 50 states?

After all, what's stopping you? The evidence that you won a victory in South Carolina is exactly the same as the evidence that you won everywhere -- nonexistant. In fact, in that respect it's remarkably similar to the evidence for intelligent design.

Reality-based readers can get more background on how the impasse over science standards between the State Board of Education and the legislature's Education Oversight Committee was resolved from the National Center for Science Education.


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