Throughout the day, SBOE majority members seemed baffled by how one speaker after another was talking about them interjecting religion, when they insisted they were doing no such thing.
This time, I think they are honestly baffled. They’re thinking that ID or religion is not being brought into the classroom if nobody is talking about a creator or creation, or even about design or irreducible complexity. The strategy here is to have evolution and evolution only studied in the classroom — but both sides of evolution, both the strengths and weaknesses. This is the strategy behind the Explore Evolution book prepared for use under “Academic Freedom” laws like that in Louisiana — without inviting litigation under the Establishment Clause.
They think ID — as ruled unconstitutional in Dover — is not being taught if they don’t use its special vocabulary. If they’re not introducing ideas from ID, they can teach “weaknesses” of evolution without teaching ID.
But that assumes that ID has something positive to offer, other than teaching “weaknesses.” That’s what they are failing to see. ID Theory never has been anything else besides claiming weaknesses. It offers nothing else. The notions of “irreducible complexity” etc. are nothing else besides — or in addition to — the purported “weaknesses.” The religious message that Judge Jones found in the ID curriculum is being introduced, like it or not, if you use the DI’s Explore Evolution book, or otherwise pursue that strategy. There is no other rationale for treating evolution as controversial and weakness-laden speculation in biology class. And the rationale is incorporated in what the students learn — whether or not the instruction includes talk of creation or of irreducible complexity.
An overlooked aspect of Judge Jones’ decision was his consideration of what “reasonable students” will understand from state establishment of this curriculum.