20 Years Ago, the Intelligent Design Movement’s “Wedge Document” Was Exposed

I don’t know what your motives are, Patrick–I have no instrument to peer into your mind. However, presently your motives appear to be the utter elimination of religion from public life–except for your own type of religion, which scholar sometimes call “the religion of science.” If so, we aren’t going to agree on anything here. Simply telling a child about a particular religion, for you, apparently violates the Establishment clause? That’s a peculiar view, if I may say so, Patrick. I gather you can tell children that the colony of Massachusetts was established by people from England, but you can’t breath a word about “Pilgrims” or “Puritans”? Or, if you use either of those words, you must entirely empty them of accurate historical content. And, I gather, you can teach them about MLK (so you say), but you mustn’t let the students read his speeches or letters, because they will encounter theology and other religious language. Heaven forbid that you ever take them into the Lincoln Memorial, or let them read his second Inaugural address. Have I got this right, or am I going down a rabbit hole where you don’t reside?


Unless I’ve misunderstood you, @Patrick, then you would fire any public school teacher who recommended that students read this website from Columbia University: Historical Context for The Protestant Reformation | The Core Curriculum

Am I right? If not, then please correct my understanding.

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No, my motives are far less sinister. I am an American who is for human rights, tolerance, justice, morality, empathy and ethics.

Glad to hear this, @Patrick. Then we aren’t as far apart as I’d feared. And, thank you for the kind comments about my efforts to do “public history” of a sort at BL.

So, please help me clear something up. Why can’t you tell students about Darwin’s religious views? The views of his own family, and those of his wife’s family, were strongly abolitionist. They were also strongly skeptical of Christianity on his side, and strongly Unitarian on her side. And, both families strongly supported (financially and emotionally) the efforts of William Wilberforce, who in turn was strongly motivated by his evangelical beliefs to rid Britain of all involvement in the slave trade.

On your view, is it permissible to tell public school children any of these things? In any classes, whether biology or social studies or (dare to say) religion? There are some public schools where students can take classes in religion, as I’m sure you realize, whether or not you think it’s Constitutional to offer them.

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If this material wasn’t part of the State approved curriculum, then yes the teacher should be fired for not adhering the State approved curriculum. But if it is part of the State approved curriculum, the teacher should be fired for NOT teaching it.

@TedDavis You must be far removed from how public schools operate today. The textbooks must be State approved. The curriculum for every class is strictly confined. Each Teachers’ lessons plans must be documented and approved by the Principal weekly. No teacher in a public school can just drift off into anything they would like to teach.

If you allow ID literature into a regular K-12 science classroom how do you guarantee only the first point happens and not the second? Do you vet the allowable book list so only those presenting ID as a historical religious movement and not as actual science are OK? I can hear the screams from Stephen Meyer and Mike Behe now. :slightly_smiling_face:

Fair questions, but first please answer my questions about teaching biology using Darwin.

No one uses OOL as a scientific reference anymore, haven’t for a hundred years. I can see it being offered to students as historical material if they are interested but not as an assigned reading part of any science curricula. My $0.02

ETA: That should be OOS - Darwin’s Origin Of Species.

Here is the 9th grade Biology textbook approved for NJ schools. Teachers are required to teach exactly what the State Curriculum says. No tangents into areas of interest of the teachers. Not allowed.

Does OOL - origin of life? If so, I’m confused. Darwin says nothing scientific about the origin of life in the Origin of Species. He knew that he knew nothing about it, and neither did anyone else. He famously waves his hands and speaks about original forms “into which life was first breathed,” in deliberately biblical language, but I don’t understand what you’re getting at here, @Timothy_Horton.

My question is whether a public school teacher should be permitted to assign the Origin of Species, in whole or in part. This is similar to asking whether a history teacher should be permitted to assign Machiavelli, or a physics teacher to assign Galileo.

My bad. I meant OOS.

Short answer: Because it is not in the State Approved curriculum in a public school Biology class. Teachers must stick with the weekly approved lesson plan.

Thank you, @Patrick, this is helpful, but I’m very familiar with the Miller-Levine textbooks (more than one of them), one of which was used at Dover HS as you may know. A lot of colleges use their introductory college text, too.

What I’d like to see (perhaps you can find it) is the history texts. I’d bet the ranch that you’ll find references to Martin Luther as well as MLK Jr. It’s frankly impossible to teach about early modern Europe without mentioning Luther, whose importance historically is enormous, certainly more important than almost any political figure of the last century, dozens of whom will be receive a few paragraphs in any standard history text.

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As I mentioned above, one of the DI’s nefarious plans is to attack K-12 science standards so they can get their ID psuedo-science included on approved lesson plans, or at a minimum have evolution removed. Those scoundrels don’t miss a trick. :rage:

Short assessment: That’s pretty dismal. Creative, original teachers need not apply.

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Like those creative original teachers who want to teach Holocaust Denial? We have educational standards for a damn good reason.

Here is the textbook used in NJ public schools for US History 1 and 2. Every student must pass US Hisotry 1 & 2 to graduate High School.


That’s a cheap shot, Mr Horton, and I suspect you realize it. I neither said nor implied anything remotely in that category anywhere in this thread.

The way this standards thing has been presented here, amounts to saying that a teacher who tells her students anything at all about the historical background or context of a scientist is breaking the law. Not so. If you fire every teacher who tells students that Darwin was born the same day as Abraham Lincoln–and surely, that’s not spelled out in the standards–then schools are in deeper doo-doo than I thought.


Hey, my wife and my daughter-in-law were (are) creative, high skilled teachers who adhered to the State Curriculum in teaching their classes. They were (are) excellent teachers.

It wasn’t a cheap shot, it was a perfectly valid point. We have educational standards for a damn good reason. We don’t give K-12 teachers free rein to bring in whatever they want for exactly that reason. At the college level professors may do so but not in public school K-12.

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