I am lazily using a comment I posted at Roger's Place to make a post here. If that is a violation of blog protocol or etiquette, please slap me.
I don't care the slightest hoot about Intelligent Design being taught in our schools, in science classes or otherwise. There a two basic reasons for that and I'll get to them, each in turn, momentarily.
But first I'd like to "draw" a couple lines. The first is a line representing the mean intelligence of all students in the US public education system. Use HS students if you'd like, that's probably better.
It is my opinion, but I believe it is a relatively safe opinion to hold, that nobody on the "lower" side of that mean is in any danger of becoming a scientist - they do not have the intellectual tools. In fact, some large portion of the population above the mean line does not have the requisite intellectual tools.
Which leads me to the second line I'd like to "draw". I don't pretend to know precisely where this line belongs. But let's draw it somewhere and I'll pick that somewhere to be the mean of the "upper" half of our population that I so neatly divided with the first line.
Which is to say that there is a percentile line above which lies our potential pool of future "scientists" and below which "science" will forever be, at best, some relatively harmless muddle of mediocrity, populism, theocracy, rejectionism, fiction, and whatever else. I place that line, probably too generously, at the 75th percentile.
If anyone has some serious disagreement with the placement of this line, please let me know. I'm not particularly interested, however, in whether it should be moved to the 80th, or 85th, or 90th percentile. I'd be surprised to learn there are many people who believe it should be lowered by any significant degree. But I digress.
Now, back to my two reasons for not caring the slightest about Intelligent Design. I'll even start by conceding the point that it is a terrible thing, junk science, the creationist pig with some lipstick slathered on it - pick how bad you believe it is and make it worse by whatever degree you choose.
My first reason for not caring about it I have previously tried to articulate using the tempest in a teapot tritism. It is that to some degree but that was a poor choice.
Let me try another tritism.
This time I'll use the ol' nails in the coffin lid analogy. It only requires a handful of nails to nail the coffin lid shut.
We've got a big ol' five gallon pail full to the brim with nails and legions of "educators" dilligently hammering home nails. There's already way too many nails in the lid. It doesn't matter if Intelligent Design is a brand new nail or a rusty old one. It doesn't matter who tossed it in the pail or whether anyone is trying to hammer it home. It doesn't matter if it is already hammered home or if someone is feverishly working to extract it or why they are doing so. It's just one nail in a big pail.
The lid is already long nailed down tighter than... well never mind.
Just for the heck of it, let me identify some of the other nails already hammered home: Whole Language, "fuzzy math" (I believe the good folks at Kitchen Table Math have identified this as "Constructivist Math"), various questionable "educational methodologies", tolerance for disruptiveness, gender politics, racial politics, environments hostile to academic excellence, and on and on and on.
We're teaching precious little "science" in our high schools now and far too much "junk" of all sorts. In case anyone hasn't noticed, the Scopes Monkey Trial, and the teaching of Darwinism, didn't save our schools from continuing down the crapper. Nor is Intelligent Design going to hasten their sloshing, slurping demise. The handle has already been pushed, the water is spinning and gurgling. Pouring in another cup or gallon won't change anything.
Which brings me to the point of trying to state my case for the second reason I don't care about Intelligent Design.
Here is a small sample of "good" HS's.
Schools such as these compete for and receive national level awards. Awards such as Schools of Distinction, Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, Star Schools, and various other state and corporate awards.
And therein lies the problem. These are extraordinary schools. They deserve their awards for somehow managing to swim upstream against the torrents of junk that are continuing to ruin the vast majority of our standard level public schools. But they should not be the least bit extraordinary. That level of education, frequently science education, should be par for our students above the 75th percentile.
Which brings me, at long last, to actually stating what my second reason for not giving a flying F at a rolling donut about Intelligent Design.
If our "best and brightest", the youngsters actually capable of doing "science" at some point in their futures, were getting the educational foundation we should be giving them they would be, in their schools, talking about issues like Intelligent Design. They are fully capable of, and need to be exposed to, separating the wheat from the chaff. Quality science education should, and often does, expose students to the "philosophy", "ethics", and controversies of "science". The caliber of students who can do "science" is fully capable of dealing with Intelligent Design and a ton of other "junk" thrown at them.
I've been exposed to these students. They are bright and if they are encouraged to do so they look at the world with a sophistication generally commensurate with their intellectual capabilities. They will discuss and argue with one another. They will have more deeply formed opinions about the controversies of the day than most adults do. They know nonsense when they see it.
Unfortunately the current condition of our public educational establishment is peeling these kids off by the droves and refusing to give them a chance to learn or think at anything approaching their capabilities. We've created an educational quagmire and we're pitching kids into it like there's no tomorrow to worry about.
And the rest? They're never going to be scientists. They're never going to impact the "scientific" portion of the economy. They're going to do other things and have other impacts. The fact that we can't seem to teach many of them to make change for a ten dollar bill is a matter for future discussion.