Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Creationism in California

Well it's definitely an exciting time to be interested in creationism in California. There are 3 relevant lawsuits (and a news story or two).

Intelligent design not an issue in Napa area schools.

"Intelligent Design states that living beings are made up of such complex components that they must have been made by an unspecified higher being. Relying on faith and not methodology, Intelligent Design cannot be considered a scientific theory, opponents say.

"Scientific theory is not a weak speculation," said Migdal. "It's the best explanation the scientific community has to fit the events that takes place in the universe. It involves evidence, experimentation, and peer review."

"Science will never prove or disprove the existence of a God," said Dean Wagner, a biology teacher at Vintage High School.

Several biology teachers in the NVUSD have stated that the national debate over Intelligent Design has not been much of a problem with students or parents.

For those students who have spoken against evolution, Migdal has encouraged them to learn Intelligent Design through their own individual faith learning."

Hat tip to Red State Rabble

Fresno High School Sued Over 'Intelligent Design'

"Frazier Mountain High School officials call the class "Philosophy of Design." They insist it is not being offered as science, but as an opportunity for students to discuss a controversial issue."

Dispatches from the Culture Wars goes into more detail and provides a lot of links.

I think both the first and second syllabi are terrible (although the second is much better than the first, but the second isn't really anything to be proud of. I don't think students will get much accurate information out of the class. I don't think this is as clear-cut as Dover though. It isn't being taught in a science class, which I think should count for a lot. However if it'll be taught from the point of view that both evolution and creationism/intelligent design are both philosophies, and are therefore equivalent that'd be disingenuous. Evolution (and conventional geology, which was attacked in the first syllabus) are based on science, creationism/intelligent design isn't. I don't think that any class that teaches otherwise is being accurate. That'd be awfully similar to the old creationist canard: "Evolution and creationism are both religion." Still, I'm going to wait for more information on this.

There are also a couple of older (but still relevant) lawsuits in California.

Lawsuit against the UC system for refusing to accept creationist textbooks

Covergae From Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

The NCSE also has a few stories. One of them links to an article in the Sacramento Bee that includes the following:

"Still UC is taking the suit seriously, concerned that it might compromise its right to set its admission standards. More important, according to UC spokesperson Ravi Poorsina, is the worry that the suit will create an impression that the university doesn't welcome students from Christian schools, something that she says simply isn't true. It could also bring another fatwa from Pat Robertson."

That's definitely going on my list of favorite quotes.

Lawsuit against UC Berkeley alleging a violation of the establishment clause

Someone is alleging that UC Berkeley is violating the establishment clause for stating "“most Christian and Jewish religious groups have no conflict with the theory of evolution” on its Understanding Evolution website. Honestly I don't think this is worth blogging about much since it's not exactly the most well thought out idea I've ever heard.

Timothy Sandefur has more at The Panda's Thumb

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