The Horowitz Option

I don’t think I’ll be posting anything else today, I’m pretty beat from the daily routine and it’s time to chillax. However, I have had one thought in my head today that I’ve wanted to get out on the ‘tubes. There aren’t really any firm conclusions here, I’ve just had some suspicions about the IDers new tactics in the post-Dover legal climate.

It basically comes down to this: intelligent design has been a pretty decisive failure in its stated goals thus far. The attempt to establish an image as a credible science and sneak creationism back into (primarily secondary) public schools has been met with a pretty firm rebuke by the courts. There has been a solidifying consensus that the creationists aren’t done, and they’re simply going to reformulate their strategy for undermining the teaching of evolution in high school. That is, move on to requiring students to hear “evidence that contradicts Darwin” and publishing books with misleading titles like Explore Evolution.

However, since Dover we’ve seen more moves toward other targets. There is of course the movie Expelled, which is one long cry of “persecution!” There has also been the hay made over incidents like Guillermo Gonzales’ tenure denial at ISU and Robert Marks’ “Evolutionary Informatics” lab being taken off the Baylor University server. What you’ll notice about these attacks is that they’re concentrated not on secondary schools, but the higher academy.

In case you can’t see it already, my suspicion here is that the anti-evolutionists aren’t reinvesting in another strategy for sneaking creationism back into high school. My guess is that what is developing here is a Horowitz style attack on the higher academy. Remember that the Wedge Document is primarily concerned with overturning “materialism and its cultural legacies,” with the academy always having been seen pretty much as the apotheosis of such. It’s not too much of a stretch to think that the next step may be laws like Horowitz’ “Academic Bill of Rights”, which would be more or less attempts to hamstring academics in their teaching and/or force them to adopt anti-evolution faculty.


4 Responses to “The Horowitz Option”

  1. Blake Stacey Says:

    a Horrowitz style attack

    Spell-check on aisle 5!

    In the Darwinian selection of creationist ploys — that’s a loose analogy, but I can’t pass by the irony — attacks on high schools have proven themselves unfit. I suppose it’s only natural, or should I say, “only natural selection“, that we’d see a shift to attacks on higher academia.

    However, it’s important to remember that just because science and reason have won a few sparring matches, we’re still not eating jam for tea every day. The creationist rot is in the Zeitgeist, and all across the country are communities poisoned by a culture of credulity, lining up to be the next Dover. Will they get support from the Discoverup Institute? Well, maybe in a half-hearted way, but what’s so new about that: didn’t Dembski back out of appearing before Judge Jones?

    Evolution is not a ladder of ever-increasing sophistication. It is not the Great Chain of Being laid down one link at a time. Species proliferate, and multiple descendants of the same ancestor co-exist in the same ecosystem. As with evolution, so with those who deny it.

  2. Tyler DiPietro Says:

    Fuck. Thanks for the heads up on the spelling.

    Anyway, you’re definitely right about much of the population still being infected with the creationism meme, and a much broader population is still infected with the “teach the controversy” meme. But I still think the IDers see the writing on the wall when it comes to attacks on secondary schools. Even if a school district goes balls to the wall with anti-evolutionism in some form, it is likely to fail in the courts given the obvious legal precedent in place. The IDers may be thinking it’s not just time to switch tactics, but to switch targets as well.

    In other words, it’s more like a technology market functioning here than a Darwinian process. The selection is Lamarkian.

    Could be totally wrong though.

  3. RBH Says:

    I’d suggest that the attack on academia is in addition to, rather than a replacement for, the assault on public schools. The latter will continue to be attacked with ‘teach the controversy’, or ‘teach the strengths and weaknesses’, or ‘use “Exploring Evolution” as a supplemental text’ moves. They’ll be less overt (but see Florida these days), but won’t lessen.

  4. SLC Says:

    The problem that the creationists face in attempts to infiltrate academia is what I would call the Behe effect. I suspect that even if Dr. Gonzalez had had a better publication record and had attracted some grants, the faculty at ISU would have been reluctant to grant him tenure, not wanting to be saddled with another Behe, like Lehigh is. Fortunately, Dr. Gonzalez made their job easier by turning into a nonproductive crackpot. I strongly suspect that the biochemistry faculty at Lehigh would dearly like some legitimate excuse to usher Prof. Behe out the door.

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