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

I answered your questions, will you answer mine?

It is not a cheap shot. Teachers are bound by contract to adhere to the state curriculum. They can’t insert their personal views into their teaching. It is unlawful and unethical. I think you are far from the real reality in schools today. A teacher’s views on SSM, gender issues, human sexuality, can’t be used to be intolerant, unjust and judgmental to any student.

Much obliged, @Patrick, you’ve saved me the trouble of tracking down the print book in the library tomorrow. Much obliged.

This isn’t about the Reformation, obviously (American history), but take a look at the opening pages of section 3 in this one: Access Denied

For a public school (vis a vis a private school or a college/university) book, this isn’t bad–clear, accurate descriptions of religious beliefs and practices in early New England. This supports my statement that teaching “about” religion is perfectly legal.

So, the question whether it’s legal to teach “about” Darwin’s religious views–or those of Philip Johnson or Ken Ham–is now moot. The more pertinent point is whether that can be done in a science class: that is, whether one could discuss the Dover trial or the Scopes trial in a substantive way in such a class. Perhaps the standards in practice would prohibit that, but I actually doubt this in fact. Do biology teachers tell students about eugenics? In my HS days, they did–I learned about eugenics from my public HS teacher. There might even have been something about it in the textbook, but I don’t recall. If it’s permissible to tell students about eugenics, it should be permissible to tell them about Scopes–and you can’t teach that topic properly without mentioning some of Bryan’s objections to teaching evolution.

Nuff said.

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@TedDavis, we covered all this recently on this thread: Evolution, Biologos, and the Classroom. It seems that @patrick has somewhat of an outlier position compared to most of the atheists here. I wonder if it is partly just having a very sensitive trigger when ID is in the conversation.

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I’m sorry, @Patrick, this is a cheap shot. And, your comments in the final sentence are irrelevant to my examples here. Telling a student an historical fact–an uncontested historical fact–about Darwin, Lincoln, or eugenics–is wholly irrelevant to your point here.

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Yes, I read the first chapter. I was amazed that it said that the first Americans came to America over 22,000 years ago. Certainly not YEC. :grinning:
This is a good history book. It is State approved. If a teacher doesn’t teach this, they could be fired. A teacher inserting their own religious views into the lessons is both unethical and illegal.

No, it wasn’t a cheap shot. K-12 science classes are for learning science basics. That’s why the curricula is so tightly controlled. Teach historical facts in history class, or better yet wait until college when the professors are free to assign or discuss pretty much anything they want.

Are you going to answer my questions about vetting ID books?

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Much obliged for this information, too, Joshua. I see Paul Nelson was making similar points about teaching biology from Darwin’s own writings. Love it! I have made arguments of this sort in professional settings (History of Science Society, American Anthropological Association, various college campuses) since the late 1980s, but I’ll cease and desist on this thread since it’s already been given a place elsewhere here.


I gave you the approved textbook for Biology. Take a look about what, if anything is discussed about eugenics. Whatever it says, or doesn’t say must be adhered to by the classroom teachers. I really think you don’t realize how tight a teacher is bound in public schools.

FFRF gets a 1000 complaints a year about the insertion of religion in the public schools. It keeps 11 constitutional attorneys very busy.

Looks like the answer is no, these questions will be avoided.

It is not a cheap shot. It is real reality. You may think that religion, origins, Darwin, and evolution is at the forefront of today’s society and public education. It isn’t. Issues that I listed are at the forefront. The US is a secular society now. You may think religion is important but in a secular society like the US, it really isn’t. Intolerance, inequality, injustice is far more important than discussions of Darwin, ID or how old the Earth is. The issues I listed are what is really important in classrooms today along with drugs, income inequality and social justice.

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No, I don’t think they could have standing to appeal.


Are you familiar with the genetic fallacy? Would you also argue that the Nazi’s didn’t do real science because they were motivated by their ideology, iow, because they were Nazis?

That seems to run afoul of the first prong of the Lemon test:

  1. The statute must have a secular legislative purpose. (Also known as the Purpose Prong)

What is the secular purpose of discussing ID in such a way? At best, it is a good way of showing students how science is not done. The standard curricula do include examples of bad scientific theories, so it is possible to approach it in this manner. However, if using ID as an example of bad science runs afoul of the religious sentiments of those in the general public then we have to consider the 3rd prong of the Lemon test:

The statute must not result in an “excessive government entanglement” with religion. (Also known as the Entanglement Prong)

If you have to change the philosophy of science to include ID, then that is a pretty good indication that ID is not science, at least in my opinion.


Nor in my opinion–certainly not presently, and I’d be surprised if that changed at some point down the road, but who knows? Every physicist born in 1860 knew the ether existed, but it was no longer scientific several decades later.

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Case law is clear that a secular educational purpose must be served: we also agree on this. Around the time of the Dover trial, the leading authority on creationism and the law, namely Edward Larson, told me personally that if there were a clear, secular educational purpose for introducing ID in a science class, then it could be done. I think he based that on the Supreme Court’s creationism case from the 1980s. He didn’t suggest how that might happen, simply that if one had such a purpose it could be Constitutional.

I don’t know whether he’s changed his mind since the Dover case.

As I’ve indicated throughout this thread, I’m an advocate of teaching science with significant attention to HPS–Harvard Physics Project style. In such an approach, I fail to see why a teacher would be prohibited from using Darwin’s Origin of Species (or Newton’s Opticks, or Boyle’s views on “laws of nature”). In such a primary-source based unit, it would IMO be malpractice not to lead discussions of the concepts and discoveries as they were understood by those scientists themselves, perhaps comparing them with modern views. You can’t discuss Darwin properly without engaging design and creation as the views he contrasted with his own hypothesis. If that’s not a clear secular purpose, then I don’t know one when I see one.


That would certainly be a great class at the undergraduate level, but it doesn’t seem appropriate at the high school level.

Instead of ID, perhaps Paley’s Watchmaker concepts might be a better way to broach the subject since this was one of the philosophical ideas during Darwin’s era. Just a thought . . .

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In fact, the Nazis banned teaching anything about evolution because it violated their political “race theory.”

Die Bucherei, the official Nazi journal for lending libraries, published these collection evaluation guidelines during the second round of “purifications” (saüberung).

“Schriften weltanschaulichen und lebenskundlichen Charakters, deren Inhalt die falsche naturwissenschaftliche Aufklärung eines primitiven Darwinismus und Monismus ist (Häckel).”

“Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Häckel).”

Even obscure books such as Arnold Dodel’s 1875 text were removed from German libraries. As a matter of fact, Adolf Hitler himself was a standard issue creationist;

Like a creationist, Hitler asserts fixity of kinds:
"The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger." - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. xi

Like a creationist, Hitler claims that God made man:
"For it was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties." - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. x

Like a creationist, Hitler affirms that humans existed “from the very beginning”, and could not have evolved from apes:
“From where do we get the right to believe, that from the very beginning Man was not what he is today? Looking at Nature tells us, that in the realm of plants and animals changes and developments happen. But nowhere inside a kind shows such a development as the breadth of the jump, as Man must supposedly have made, if he has developed from an ape-like state to what he is today.” - Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Tabletalk (Tischgesprache im Fuhrerhauptquartier 27 February 1942)

It’s unclear how this addresses my concern about the genetic fallacy. If it were discovered that Nazis had developed a cure for aids, and that cure could be made availabe to people today, should we deny people access to that cure because of it’s origin?

I should have thought it was obvious.

You asked if the Nazis were blocked from competent science by their ideology.

Since this context is evolutionary biology versus religious dogma, the only cogent reply was about the Nazi failure to competently grasp evolutionary theory. I documented that the Nazis could not conduct competent biological studies because they had political, and religious presuppositions.

I suggest on the later point, see;

Richards, Robert J.
2013 “Was Hitler a Darwinian: Disputed Questions in the History of Evolutionary Theory” University of Chicago Press.