From Adam Shapiro at Religion Dispatches:
Did Richard Dawkins hand creationists their next school strategy?
It’s not just ID and antievolution that has historically found itself entangled with religious advocacy. According to Luskin, evolution’s history is also rife with supporters making religious or irreligious claims. When a New Atheist figurehead like Richard Dawkins claims that Darwin made it possible to be “an intellectually fulfilled atheist,” he substantiates the claim that evolution itself is not neutral when it comes to promoting or inhibiting religion. As Luskin argues, “If the public is aware of the close historical association between the advocacy of evolution and anti-religious activism, then the teaching of evolution may make religious Americans feel like political outsiders.”
(For legal context, see ” Darwin’s Poisoned Tree: Atheistic Advocacy and the Constitutionality of Teaching Evolution in Public Schools”)
Luskin draws on examples ranging from the Flying Spaghetti Monster to standard-but-oversimplified claims that Charles Darwin opposed natural theology to argue that evolution is hostile to religious views. Luskin concludes that the standard applied to ID in Kitzmiller, in which the court used public understanding of its historical origins to rule against it, could also force a court to determine that teaching evolution is itself not religiously neutral.
Well, the last time Dawkins got lots of attention here must have been the flying horse dispute, and after that nothing would surprise us. But now back to Shapiro:
In the years since Kitzmiller, the political and legal strategy has changed for ID. The Discovery Institute has focused less on explicitly promoting ID in schools, instead advocating for “academic freedom” laws that would protect teachers and students who personally want to explore ID or other evolution “alternatives.” Both Tennessee and Louisiana have passed such laws in recent years, and neither law has been challenged in court. More.
The fact that these laws were not challenged could have something to do with the fact that they did no harm. But we digress. If interested, see the Pants in Knot files.
In-house memo: Congrats to all who helped rescue Dawkins, much earlier, from the atheist elevator row.
As that biz prof said years ago, it is quite possible to turn a dog business into a star, with subtle brand repositioning.
See also: Dawkins: Social justice warriors are dim, just dim … (Dawkins often gets stuff right, all on his own. So we can leave him unsupervised for longer periods than the usual in such cases. Overall, our investors are pleased.)
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