“Fair and Balanced” Teaching on Evolution

We’ve already seen the religious right turn to intelligent design when their attempts to teach creationism in the schools was shot down. With this tactic not working, The New York Times reports they have come up with a new strategy:

Starting this summer, the state education board will determine the curriculum for the next decade and decide whether the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution should be taught. The benign-sounding phrase, some argue, is a reasonable effort at balance. But critics say it is a new strategy taking shape across the nation to undermine the teaching of evolution, a way for students to hear religious objections under the heading of scientific discourse.

Already, legislators in a half-dozen states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri and South Carolina — have tried to require that classrooms be open to “views about the scientific strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian theory,” according to a petition from the Discovery Institute, the Seattle-based strategic center of the intelligent design movement.

“Very often over the last 10 years, we’ve seen antievolution policies in sheep’s clothing,” said Glenn Branch of the National Center for Science Education, a group based in Oakland, Calif., that is against teaching creationism.

While the words might sound good, “strengths and weaknesses” is to science what “fair and balanced” is to news. Both are just attempts at passing off conservative opinion as fact. Evolution remains established science, while the claims of groups such as the Discovery Institute remain attempts at substituting religious thought for science.

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