Which, for those in doubt, includes advocates of intelligent design (ID). I know they won’t take it, but here it is:
Just tell the truth.
John West, over at Evolution News and Views, has written a quite disingenuous post in which he wonders about the motives of advocates in the Florida House who insisted on passing a measure that differed from the one in the Florida Senate and one which would most likely be rejected. Personally I don’t think there was any certainty that the Senate would decide to reject the House bill in the end, but that’s how it worked out.
West thinks this “smacks of classic back-room politics by politicians who are trying to play both sides of an issue.” I’m sure back-room politics is alive and well in Florida, despite sunshine laws, but the real “sunshine” problem here is with ID advocates themselves. You see, if you stick with the truth, you only have to remember one story, but if you decide on lies, then you have to agree on your lies, and you have to keep the various stories coordinated.
What the Florida creationists want is religion taught in public schools, but they can’t write a law to do that directly, so instead they have to write some other scenario, and that’s when things get difficult. The real effect of each of these bills would be to refer the issue to the courts, and the main issue then is just what do you want to take to court with you, considering the truth absolutely won’t do.
That was the problem in Dover. The people who pushed intelligent design really wanted religion in the classroom, and ID was just the means to an end. Once you get one set of materials in you start working on the next one. As long as you are trying to get something that you can’t admit you want, you’re going to have confusion of strategy.
I have been astounded at the number of ID advocates who have told me here on this blog, in e-mail, or in person that I am horribly misunderstanding their position because I think ID has to do with religion. But there is simply no possibility that ID, without any religious overtones, has any audience at all. If the whole argument is about the possibility that some form of alien life is interfering with earth life, perhaps a roomful of weirdos would be interested. The fact is that “intelligent designer” is heard (correctly) as a codeword for God, and that is what gives this traction.
Whether ID advocates are creationists or not–and I think they are–it is certainly creationists in the older sense (YEC or OEC) who are carrying the torch for this movement. What happened in the Florida legislature is that conservative Christians who believe that their particular faith position should be taught in public schools tried to get some portion of it allowed in the curriculum of Florida public schools. There was no back-room deals needed to kill the legislation; differences in the particular form of the lie that should be told in order to reap the greatest benefit spelled doom for the bills.
I cannot prove there were no back-room deals. If there were, I wish I knew who was involved so I could vote for the people responsible. In the legislature I’d prefer crooks who are in favor of good education to crooks who want to lie for God.
One more thing from West:
. . . More importantly, we still live in America, and although Darwinists are doing their best to shut down and intimidate anyone who raises questions about Neo-Darwinism, we still have free speech, and they can’t prevent people from hearing about the debate in the public arena, no matter how hard they try.
I’m wondering if West is even aware of what this bill was for. This was about High School curriculum. It wasn’t about “the public arena.” The ID movement is the noisiest bunch of “suppressed” people in history. If their voices are cut off, there sure is no evidence of the fact.