A few days ago, I wrote about the trial going on in Dover, PA wherein the school board is trying to shoehorn intelligent design into the science curriculum. The textbook they are using, Of Pandas and People, espouses the theory of intelligent design. But intelligent design is simply a rewording of the term “creationism” for political reasons. Literally.
Reports are now out now showing that the book literally swapped terms like “creationism” for “intelligent design.” (Hey, I can do that too, with a simple Control-H!) The move shows how thin the veneer of “science” in the intelligent design camp is, because most proponents of ID have claimed that they are not creationists. Of course, teaching creationism in a public school is illegal because of the constitutional separation of church and state. Not to mention that it’s a little tough to try to teach “creation” as science. (By anyone’s standards.) By adding one more layer of abstraction between a deity and science, you get intelligent design which is politically acceptable to teach as science.
Forrest compared early drafts of Of Pandas and People to a later 1987 copy, and showed how in several instances the word “creationism” had been replaced by “intelligent design”, and “creationist” simply replaced by “intelligent design proponent”.
Matzke, who was at the trial, points out that the “switching” of the words is also suspicious because of its timing, which came just after the US Supreme Court’s decision on 19 June 1987 that it was unconstitutional to teach creationism in schools.
The names of the drafts alone are incriminating, he says. The first draft, in 1983, was called Creation Biology, the next is Biology and Creation, dated 1986, and is followed by Biology and Origin in 1987. It is not until later in 1987 that Of Pandas and People emerges.
Regardless of what one’s religious beliefs and political views on the matter, I believe that using underhanded tactics such as these is disingenuous and undermines the study of science in favor political maneuvering. While I have also said that science does not and should not exist in a political vacuum when it comes to ethics, it should exist in that vacuum when attempting to determine the truth and report facts. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the United States in this day and age.