The Huffington Post carries an article concerning a recent academic freedom bill in Colorado. It opens by asserting that,
A Republican bill that would have paved the way for creationism to be taught in Colorado schools as well as encouraged teachers to deny the science of climate change was killed in committee on Monday, as expected.
As anyone who knows anything about this academic freedom bill knows full well, however, it explicitly does NOT protect the teaching of creationism (which is unconstitutional). Nor for that matter does the bill protect the teaching of intelligent design. The bill only covers those subjects which are already part of the science curriculum. In the case of creationism, the Colorado bill states that “This bill only protects the teaching of scientific information, and this article must not be construed to promote any religious or nonreligious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or non-beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.” In the case of intelligent design, the bill explicitly only covers “existing scientific theories covered in a given course.” Since intelligent design isn’t currently covered in any public school science curriculum, it isn’t protected under the bill.
The Huffington Post further erroneously asserts that,
Creationism, sometimes called “creation science” or “intelligent design,” is a religious belief that all life in the universe and the entire universe itself was created by a supernatural being.
But intelligent design is emphatically NOT synonymous with “creationism” or “creation science”. Creationism is an attempt to understand and interpret the natural world through the lens of a particular interpretation of the Bible. Intelligent Design, on the other hand, is based entirely on scientific evidence, arguing that there are patterns in nature that are best explained by an intelligent cause (whether that be theistic or non-theistic) rather than unguided natural processes. As such, intelligent design is not a religious belief like creationism (although it may have religious implications). Furthermore, intelligent design does NOT assert that “all life in the universe and the entire universe itself was created by a supernatural being.” Intelligent Design says nothing about whether life was created by a supernatural being, and an intelligent design theorist is not committed to belief that the universe was created by a transcendent deity.
The article goes on:
It’s tenets vary, but with feet planted firmly in the texts of the Bible creationists often believe that the stories of the Bible are of factual account rather than parable, that the Earth is only several thousand years old, that human evolution from primates did not occur and instead a supernatural being intervened and created humankind (the “intelligent design” hypothesis). However, in the scientific community, creationism is frequently thought of as antiscience.
Most intelligent design theorists I know do not believe that the Earth is only several thousand years old. I certainly don’t. Moreover, many proponents of intelligent design have no difficulty with our shared ancestry with other primates. My own opinion is that there are defensible arguments on either side of the controversy. No substantive justification is ever given for the claim that ID is “antiscience”.
The Huffington Post continues,
Intelligent design, the teaching of which was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2005, has been pushed by proponents as a “scientific” alternative to evolution that includes a Creator. Critics however, claim that there is simply no scientific evidence to back this theory, and that attempts to get it in the classroom are moves by the religious community to legitimize creationism as a substitute for evolution.
Sorry, but questions pertinent to the philosophy of science (e.g. the demarcation problem) are not decided by judicial fiat. Further, I don’t consider it to be a defensible position to assert that “there is simply no scientific evidence to back this theory.” One may argue that there is inadequate evidence, but that is another debate.
Another important point to bear in mind is that the Discovery Institute, the primary think-tank behind the ID movement, opposes the mandating of the teaching of ID in public school science classrooms, due to its tendency to politicize the theory and, in doing so, hinder its development and growth as a scientific program.
How many errors can the Huffington Post pack into one article? A lot, apparently.