Wednesday, November 9, 2005

New Science

The state board of education in Kansas has approved teaching “intelligent design” as part of the science curriculum in the public schools. In order to do that, they had to redefine what “science” is.

Among the most controversial changes was a redefinition of science itself, so that it would not be explicitly limited to natural explanations.

So, in other words, science doesn’t have to include the analysis of factual and provable evidence; they can just make shit up and it will fit as long as there’s a rattling good story to go along with it.

TEACHER: Where’s your homework?

STUDENT: I did it, but on the way to school a burning bush suddenly appeared in front of me and destroyed it. Then the school bus ran off the edge of the earth and we were all chased by dragons until the Lord God Jehovah slew it with the jawbone of an ass.

TEACHER: Oh, okay.

One of the proponents of “intelligent design” came up with a novel reason for including it — it will be more interesting!

John Calvert, a lawyer who runs the Intelligent Design Network, based in Kansas, praised the board as “taking a very courageous step” that would “make science education interesting to students rather than boring.”

Well, sure, especially if you give them the idea that they can now take Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts in addition to Biochemistry and Earth Science. But the kids aren’t convinced.

In the standing-room-only crowd in the small board room for Tuesday’s session were two dozen high school students fulfilling an assignment for government class by attending the public meeting. They shook their heads at the decision.

“We’re glad we’re seniors,” said Hannah Teeter, 17, from Shawnee Mission West, a high school in Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City. “I feel bad for all the kids that are younger than us that they have to be taught things that aren’t science in science class.”

There’s also one less thing that Kansas parents won’t have to worry about, and that’s getting their kids into any college or university that has a science curriculum that is newer than the 19th century.