The Latest in The Intelligent Design Wars

Ken AshfordEducation, GodstuffLeave a Comment

The pig just got a new coat of lipstick.

Having suffered a legal and political setback in Dover, Pa., the intelligent design battle shifts to Calilfornia.  It appears that the The El Tejon Unified School District has approved a new class:

An initial course description, which was distributed to students and their families last month, said "the class will take a close look at evolution as a theory and will discuss the scientific, biological and biblical aspects that suggest why Darwin’s philosophy is not rock solid. The class will discuss Intelligent Design as an alternative response to evolution. Physical and chemical evidence will be presented suggesting the Earth is thousands of years old, not billions."

The course, which began Jan. 3 and is scheduled to run for one month, is being taught by Sharon Lemburg, a special education teacher with a bachelor of arts in physical education and social science.

This purports to be a "philosophy" class taught by someone who clearly does not have the requisite background in science OR philosophy (and, as the article goes on to say, she’s the wife of a minister in a Christian fundamentalist church).

I think intelligent design, if it is to be taught at all, belongs in a non-science class.  I DON’T think this program is unconstitutional on its face — there is no law or constitutional barrier against public schools teaching intelligent design as a theory in a true comparative religion or philosophy course.  It seems, however, that this is not the intent of the course since it attempts to disprove scientific fact.

And actually, there is nothing unconsitutional about public schools conveying misinformation to students by their unqualified teachers.  It is, however, horrible public policy, and woe to the graduates of this school system when they start applying to universities.