Monday, February 21, 2005
Via two Reports (the Daou and the Leiter): Here's a column by Tony Ortega of the K.C. alternative weekly The Pitch that suggests a crafty approach to eroding public support for the upwardly-mobile variant of creationism known as Intelligent Design: emphasize the extent to which it conflicts with the book of Genesis, and therefore the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. As Ortega says, "We're just glad it won't be our job to teach ID and tell churchy students that [the Bible] is a joke":
So far, the local media have done a pathetic job of explaining the ideas behind "ID," giving us no real clue what's actually at stake in the effort to change science teaching standards.UPDATE: Paging Dr. Jung! Mere seconds after posting the above we popped over to Invisible Library, where our esteemed colleague Keith has linked to an excellent site called ClassKC.org, maintained by disgruntled parents in a Kansas City suburb who are in all probability natural targets for Mr. Ortega's anti-ID strategy. At ClassKC.org you will find:
Well, this meat patty will clue you in to the awful truth: The people pushing intelligent design are godless interlopers who want our children taught that the Bible got things wrong . . . .
Nope, these ID-olators don't have much respect for the holy word. They suggest that the Earth is billions of years old and that animals have evolved pretty much the way Charles Darwin described more than a century ago.
For these folks of little faith, science answers most of the world's mysteries, explaining the history of the universe and the proliferation of life on Earth. The girlie-man God they worship steps in only to fill in small gaps in scientific knowledge and to lend a gentle helping hand in ways that cannot be measured, tested or debunked . . . .
The utter defeat was not lost on Celtie Johnson, a God-fearing Johnson County mom who was largely responsible for the last battle over evolution in Kansas schools. Back in 1999, she led an honest fight for biblical truth, attempting to get the Genesis creation story taught to schoolchildren. She's back again, fighting evolution once more, but this time she's standing up for the watered-down ID agenda.
We asked how she really felt about intelligent design's unbiblical assault on the schools.
"It's pitiful. But what can I do?" she told this curious cutlet. "It's not that difficult to understand the Earth being 6,000 years old. But they [the ID crowd] tell me it's an incremental program."
An incremental program. Johnson was referring to people such as lawyer John Calvert and University of Missouri-Kansas City med-school professor William Harris, who have spearheaded the Kansas school effort with a Johnson County organization they call the Intelligent Design Network. Johnson claimed that the ID bigwigs assured her they have the same ultimate goal that she does -- to get religion into science classes -- and that ID allows them to take small, less controversial steps toward that goal.
"With media opposition, you can only go so far," she admitted. And for people like her who still believe in the Bible's origin story, she said, "It's a step back." But the ID people with whom she has allied herself are deluding themselves if they think they're doing heaven a favor with their "incremental" program. "They are not getting the whole picture, and they are not pleasing Jesus Christ, who is God," Johnson reminded us. "If you don't believe parts of the Bible, why are you calling yourself a Christian?"
- a handy list of all the dirty words in the "vulgar books" approved for classroom use by the local school board (and some of them are good 'uns!);
- 29 books that "promote" the F-word;
- Depressing, "life has no meaning" book selections for freshmen;
- Great literature that will NOT be assigned at Blue Valley, including, bizarrely, such musty pre-1950 potboilers as So Big (Edna Ferber) and Green Dolphin Street (Elizabeth Goudge);
- and answers to questions you were probably afraid to ask, such as:
9. While textual descriptions of heterosexual sex, oral sex, homosexual sex, anal sex, rape, and incest are not generally classified as pornography because they don't contain images, it's undeniable that descriptions of sexually explicit scenes helps develop an appetite for more of the same. Unfortunately, that appetite easily and logically leads to pornography and sexual experimentation. (Anyone watching the news knows that students are engaging in oral sex at a greater rate than ever before.) While it may be a leap to say that reading This Boy's Life leads to increased sexual encounters among students, one thing can be said with certainty: It's not helping!