Ah yes. The specter of creationism and ID pops up again. In Texas, Don McElroy, the chair of the State Board of Education, has decided that his state is already too friendly to teaching evolution. He is "[o]ne of four board members who voted against current high school biology books because of their failure to list weaknesses in the theory of evolution." As someone in charge of setting standards and policies, he might well be able to move things around to make things a little more friendly to creationists and IDers and with eight religious conservatives trained in Discovery Institute newspeak, we might see Kansas all over again.
According to the Texas Freedom Network, McElroy wants to undermine science education and its naturalistic roots by using Phillip Johnson's and ID's "big tent":
“Why is ‘intelligent design’ the big tent? Because we’re all lined up against the fact that naturalism, that nature is all there is. Whether you’re a progressive creationist, recent creationist, young earth, old earth, it’s all in the tent of ‘intelligent design.’” (6:10 mark on recording)
So McElroy isn't hiding his objection's basis. It's religious and philosophical. It has nothing to do with data.
He's upset because naturalistic explanations have described natural phenomena which have caused God's explanatory power, in its "pitiful level of detail," to retreat farther and farther back on the plank of meaningful description.
For example, in a 2005 statement, McElroy said:
Actually, in intelligent design we are focused on a on a bigger target, and in the words of Phillip Johnson “the target is metaphysical naturalism, materialism or just plain old naturalism. The idea that nature is all there is.” Modern science today is totally based on naturalism, and all of intelligent design’s arguments against evolution and chemical origin of life it is the naturalistic base that is the target. And this is a quote from Phillip Johnson: “The important aspect of Darwinian evolution is it’s naturalistic claim that life is the result of purposeless, unintelligent material causes. When Darwinian evolution and intelligent design stand in a complete antithesis. Intelligent design requires the designing influence to account for the complexity of life where Darwinian theory of common descent claims that life spontaneously arose.”
He has tried to place himself next to Johnson at the front of the Wedge. But he isn't as slick as the Discovery folks who have carefully crafted a chameleon's strategy.
McElroy, like Bill Buckingham and Alan Bonsell in Dover can't keep his creationist fundamentalist protestantism to himself and run with the data. He talks the data up, but he shows that he starts with a non-scientific assumption (the triune Christian God made everything) and then looks for data to back it up. Consider this:
But I want to tell you all the arguments made by all the intelligent design group, all the creationist intelligent design people, I can guarantee the other side heard exactly nothing. They did not hear one single fact, they were not swayed by one argument.
Thanks for linking the creationists and IDers for us. The DI folks and the defendants in Kitzmiller v. Dover tried to cover those tracks. Unsuccessfully I might add. Should this land in court because of a "teach the controversy" challenge to evolution, we have our Lemon Test ready and it will find that there is not a secular purpose or effect here and that an official has attempted to entangle the government with a sectarian agenda.