Teaching the "Social Context"

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Teaching the "Social Context"

Initially, I was a little confused by what the White House's science adviser meant by remarks that undermined President Bush's recently stated view that so-called "intelligent design" should be taught in the public schools.

A few days after Religious Right leaders hailed the president's remarks, the White House science adviser dissed "intelligent design" (a.k.a., creationism) even as he muddied the waters further. As the New York Times reported:
At the White House, where intelligent design has been discussed in a weekly Bible study group, Bush’s science adviser, John H. Marburger III, sought to play down the president’s remarks as common sense and old news.

Marburger said in a telephone interview that “evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology” and “intelligent design is not a scientific concept.” Marburger also said that Bush’s remarks should be interpreted to mean that the president believes that intelligent design should be discussed as part of the “social context” in science classes.
Discuss creationism "as part of the 'social context' in science class"? So what the hell is that supposed to mean?
Good morning, class. Yesterday, we learned about the scientific theory of evolution. This morning, I want to explain the social context in which we are living. Despite compelling scientific evidence revealing the earth to be billions of years old, there are some serious whack-jobs out there who believe that the earth is only several thousand years old and that it was created in six days by a supreme being.

Many of these same people have tried to pressure public schools to teach the Biblical story of creation as if it were supported by science. When their effort failed in the 1980s, they came up with a new term for creationism -- intelligent design. And their campaign to teach this in public schools continues.

Any questions? Well, now that we've covered the social context ..."

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