Discovery Education Policy per Eddie


You can quote official policy for Discovery here. I would be surprised if it has changed much from @Agauger’s recitation - - which didnt olay well in the “cheap seats” here…

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You are incapable of going to the Discovery site and finding the policy statements? I wouldn’t think so; you seem to have no problem going to Wikipedia or various other places to find information that you want. Why the lack of initiative to determine what Discovery has published on the subject?

Here is one of many virtually identical statements of Discovery regarding ID in the schools:

“Discovery Institute strongly opposes the ACLU’s effort to make discussions of intelligent design illegal. At the same time, we disagree with efforts to get the government to require the teaching of intelligent design. Misguided policies like the one adopted by the Dover School District are likely to be politically divisive and hinder a fair and open discussion of the merits of intelligent design among scholars and within the scientific community, points we have made repeatedly since we first learned about the Dover policy in 2004. Furthermore, most teachers currently do not know enough about intelligent design or have sufficient curriculum materials to teach about it accurately and objectively.

Rather than require students to learn about intelligent design, what we recommend is that teachers and students study more about Darwinian evolution, not only the evidence that supports the theory, but also scientific criticisms of the theory.”

(emphasis added)

These words were published by Discovery in 2005. They represent the official policy of Discovery on the subject of mandating ID in the schools, from before the Dover trial up to the present. With only a slight effort many other such statements can be located on the DI website.

You are free to analyze the words of this statement and tell us where you agree and disagree with it. If you deal with what is actually written here, I will respond constructively. If you ignore what is written here and substitute some conspiracy theory, I won’t respond at all.

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We saved plenty of time by you placing the text of what you consider “the policy”. I would not have selected this text.

But you have presented your selection… and ill be happy to offer my thoughts (in my next posting here).


Can we assume that you agree that the use of the term “Darwinian Evolution” is unfortunate?

Do you think the topic of Neutral Mutations is part of Darwinian Evolution?

It would seem Discovery, based on your selection, wants public schools to teach evolution.

And since teleology is not part of any scientific criticism of Evolution, you have proposed that Discovery no longer cares about I.D.!

Would you perhaps require a text that had the literal title of “Discovery Institute’s Science Education Policy”? Coming up:

If you can find any education policy documents published by Discovery that postdate this one, and say anything substantially different, please let us know about them.

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Since “Darwinian Evolution” hasn’t been the consensus scientific paradigm since the first few decades of the 1900’s, close to 100 years, why do you think the DI wants it to be taught now in public schools?

Seems like something a batch of dishonest anti-science propagandists would demand, doesn’t it?


That is a point of detail, which could be changed without touching the heart of the policy. And I think that back in 2005, it was still true that the version of evolution taught in the ninth grade was a very simplified one, and largely neo-Darwinian in character. So this language might well have appropriate then, even if not accurate now. Substitute “current mainstream evolutionary theory” if you like.

No, not based on my selection; such statements are in every policy document or blog on education policy I have ever read on Discovery. You are welcome to produce counter-examples, if you can find them.

That does not follow. You can’t get from “We don’t think ID theory should be made compulsory in ninth-grade science” to “We don’t care about ID.” All you can infer from the policy is that Discovery wants to make sure students are exposed to a more thorough and more critical discussion of mainstream evolutionary theory. (Where “critical” does not necessarily mean “negative” but “balanced, judicious, hard-minded, etc.”)

Where is your evidence students especially college level students aren’t exposed to a thorough and critical discussion of evolutionary theory already?

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Are you not able to pay attention to the context of a discussion? It is quite clear that George’s remarks are related to the discussion of what should be taught in high school science, not college level science.

What should we make of the literal references to “ID Theory,” when in fact there’s no such thing?

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Please try to read for comprehension. My question covered college and high school level students. But since you’re having a hard time reading I’ll rephrase:

Where is your evidence high school students aren’t exposed to a thorough and critical discussion of evolutionary theory already?

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The main focus of debate has been not “high school” in general but ninth-grade biology, since in most jurisdictions that course is compulsory, and deals with evolution. Parents anxious about the teaching of evolution have been less concerned about what is taught in upper high school years, where biology is not a compulsory subject.

In the ninth grade the evolution unit is generally very brief, about 2 or 3 weeks, I believe. That is not enough time to hold a thorough and critical discussion. It barely gets the basics covered. The students certainly aren’t learning about theories of self-organization, organismal genomic self-engineering, revivals of teleological notions by some biologists, etc. And regarding the chemical origin of life, the teachers aren’t supplementing textbook allusions to the chemical origin of life with discussions of the views of James Tour on the subject. Discovery wants more coverage of these subjects, to enable teachers to go into more depth and present more of the current scientific discussion.

Ironically, Discovery is calling for more time spent on evolution in the ninth-grade classroom; as far as I know, no creationist organization has called for this, and even the NCSE has not called for this.

What scientific topics is the DI calling for adding to 9th grade basic introduction to evolution? “Looks Designed to me!” and Tour’s ignorance based personal incredulity of abiogenesis aren’t scientific topics.

Sorry but in science classes we teach science. The DI’s religious propaganda can be taught in comparative religion class.


moderator note: I split out the posts from Is PS Against Using Science Arguments as Evidence for God's Existence? to Has the Discovery Institutes position on public education changed? before seeing this thread (doh!). I don’t see a clean way to fix that so I’m just going to leave a note here pointing to the other thread if anybody cares. Sorry about that.

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The basics being what the terms “hypothesis” and “theory” mean in the context of actual science.

Since there is no theory of “organismal genomic self-engineering,” you seem to be saying that the official position of the DI is to deceive students and laypeople about the meaning of the term “theory” in scientific practice. That sounds to me like what they, and you, do relentlessly.

We agree!

And, as you stated later, you and Discovery want to deceive them about the nature of theory in science. That fudging is what the “critical discussion” is all about.

I want students to know that “theory” means something with massive amounts of empirical support, not the pseudoscientific definition of “guess” used by charlatans.


This is just the DI’s version of the YEC tactic “teach the controversy!” horseshit which died a well deserved death back in the late 70’s early 80’s, only to be replaced by ID. Of course the ID pushers want to be the ones who decided what the “controversy” they get to teach is.

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As usual, you cavil over words, rather than addressing substance. In the book you almost certainly haven’t read by Shapiro, he argues that some organisms can reorganize their genomes in response to environmental stresses, i.e., they don’t always have to wait until a mutation just happens. So such a view, which differs from the view of genetic change held by Weismann, Dobzhansky, etc., does exist in the scientific literature. (And I said “scientific” not “primary”, so don’t bother offering another of your petty cavils.)

So you can’t offer any confirmed scientific topics which should be added to 9th grade basic evolution teaching. Just unsubstantiated, very technical hypotheses which shouldn’t be addressed until college level. Got it.

If “random mutation” and “selection” and “fitness” can be discussed at ninth-grade level, why can’t “reorganizing the genome under stress” be discussed at the same level? I don’t see anything more “technical” about the one group of concepts than the other. Obviously in ninth grade everything has to be simplified. But you don’t recommend leaving evolution off the curriculum because a real understanding of it gets “very technical,” do you? So your “technical” objection is without force.