The Tampa Tribune article by Billy Townsend reports that the Polk County School Board members have decided not to pursue inserting “intelligent design” into the schools there. They apparently were not prepared for the national response they got, and especially the satirical focus of Pastafarian Flying Spaghetti Monster boosters.
Lofton, a former geometry teacher with a master’s degree in mathematics and one of the pro-intelligent design board members, said she has no interest in engaging with the Pastafarians or anyone else seeking to discredit intelligent design.
She describes herself as secure in her beliefs. “I’m a Christian. I personally believe that the Bible is inerrant truth and the word of God.”
Ms. Lofton doesn’t seem to care to increase any cognitive dissonance. And the quoted statement would indicate that Ms. Lofton is not merely an advocate of “intelligent design”, but also falls into the category of young-earth creationist, one of those people whose religious faith is so flimsy that it is threatened if the earth is more than just a few thousand years old. Science says the earth is 4.55 billion years old. Teaching kids that the young-earth scenario is still a legitimate position supported by credentialed scholars is about on the level of saying that the American Revolution is held by some scholars to have happened two and a quarter centuries ago, and by other scholars to have taken place between, oh, four and five hours ago, and it will be up to them to decide between these equally credible positions.
That’s complete nonsense, of course. Science can figure out when certain conjectures are wrong. Phlogiston is gone and isn’t coming back. So is geocentrism and the young-earth assertion. Students deserve to learn that science means that not every idea can forever be considered arguable. Antievolution depends upon an ongoing denial that science can accomplish this modest task; it is, in practice as well as in philosophy, anti-science in all its forms.
I’m glad that the Polk County School Board members have decided, pragmatically, to put away the desire to dally with “intelligent design”. I’d be even gladder if they had taken the opportunity to pick up “Why Intelligent Design Fails” and “Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism” to learn why students would be ill-served to to forced to spend their limited science class time in covering the anti-science notions of the antievolution movement.