John G. West’s Cognitive Deficit

Discovery Institute big-wig John G. West took time out of his day to excoriate Lauri Lebo for a recent article. Her putative sin? Not crediting the DI with coming up with innovative obfuscation prior to the Kitzmiller v. Dover case.

Lauri also rewrites history by suggesting that the focus on the critical analysis of Darwin’s theory (rather than the teaching of intelligent design) is somehow a post-Dover development:

As always, since intelligent design was ruled unconstitutional in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the introduced bills rely on such creationist code words as “teaching the controversy,” “academic freedom,” or “critical analysis.”

Discovery Institute articulated the same critical analysis approach two years earlier in Ohio, and it did the same in Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and other states… all before the Dover lawsuit.

Swing and a miss, John. Lauri’s statement wasn’t about the ontology of DI word-smithing, but rather about the content of proposed legislation. Whether the DI had already cottoned on to the fact that “intelligent design” was past its sell-by date as early as 2002 doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t tenable to introduce legislation pushing “intelligent design” explicitly post-Dover. Do try to keep up.

Oh, and the folks in Ohio did figure out that “intelligent design” arguments were the content of “critical analysis” and deep-sixed the sham back in 2006. Call it what you want, John, but if it is always the same shoddy ensemble of arguments, it doesn’t make it good enough to teach students.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Data scientist in real estate and econometrics. Blogger. Speaker. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

2 thoughts on “John G. West’s Cognitive Deficit

  • 2011/03/23 at 5:08 pm

    I think it’s important to remember that John Calvert of the Intelligent Design Network initially argued in Ohio that it would be unconstitutional to NOT teach ID alongside evolution in public school science classrooms. The ID Network was a major player in Ohio and later on in Kansas, where Calvert made similar arguments regarding constitutional issues and the teaching of evolution.

    Plus, we must not let the DI forget about this sentence from “Phase III” of their very own “Wedge Strategy” document:

    “We will also pursue possible legal assistance in response to resistance to the integration of design theory into public school science curricula.”

    Clearly, they originally intended to get ID taught in public school science classrooms. Judge Jones was right when he wrote that the goal of the ID movement is to “foment a revolution which would supplant evolutionary theory with Intelligent Design.”

  • 2011/03/24 at 5:02 am

    Also, in 2005, after things had gone badly in the Kitzmiller trial but before the decision was handed down, the DI was still saying:

    “We strongly believe that teaching about intelligent design is constitutionally permissible, but we think mandatory inclusion of intelligent design in public school curricula is ill-advised. Instead, we recommend that schools require only that the scientific evidence for and against neo-Darwinism be taught, while not infringing on the academic freedom of teachers to present appropriate information about intelligent design if they choose.”

    “Academic freedom” always was just a subterfuge to get ID into public school classrooms by hook or by crook.

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