University of Texas Scientists Plead with Lawmakers to Please Kill Intelligent Design Bill

Intelligent Design Poster.jpg
State Representative Bill Zedler's legislative career can be summed up as a quixotic attempt to foist his puritanical worldview onto the state's 26 million residents. Backdoor abortion bans, stripper licensing, Sharia law bans, making life unnecessarily difficult for gay college kids. Whatever your right-wing hobby horse, Zedler's filed a bill on it.

The thing is, Zedler's not particularly adept at getting his legislation passed. The vast majority of his proposals die a quiet, unremarkable death in House committees. That's comforting to know, but it's not quite enough to ease the jitters whenever one of Zedler's pet issues comes up for discussion. Today it's HB 285, which is getting a hearing from the Texas House Committee on Higher Education.

The bill's a simple one, stipulating that no colleges or universities in the state of Texas can "discriminate against or penalize in any manner" any faculty member or student for conducting research on intelligent design. That's the rather innocuous term of art for the idea that the universe is so complex that it must have a creator, who tends to resemble the God of conservative Christians.

Zedler told the Houston Chronicle the bill was inspired by Ben Stein's documentary "Expelled," which argues that intelligent design is a valid scientific theory that has been crushed by an academic establishment that has guzzled the Darwinian Kool-Aid.

And the measure is couched in appealing language. No one likes discrimination, and universities are supposed to be bastions of academic freedom where ideas can be discussed and evaluated on their own merits, right?

Fair enough, but that's not what Zedler's bill is about, and a group of 19 scientists from the University of Texas want lawmakers to know that. As the Texas Freedom Network noted today, the group of mostly biologists sent a letter to Chairman Dan Branch and the rest of the members of House Committee on Higher Education urging them to reject the proposal, arguing that it "would undermine the teaching of sound science in the state's college (sic) and universities."

For starters it's been well established, by federal judges and others, that intelligent design is little more than creationism dressed up to look like science. Creationism isn't a testable scientific theory but a typically religious conviction that the universe works in a certain way.

Beyond that, the language is dangerously broad.

While we strongly support academic freedom and protections for valid scientific research, we don't think colleges and universities should be required to look the other way when faculty and students distort mainstream science. Yet HB 285's broad language could require that colleges and universities do more than simply look the other way. By barring discrimination "in any manner," HB 285 could force our state's institutions of higher education to fund research that distorts the mainstream science on evolution.

They go onto point out that state law, as well as the policies of most if not all of the state's institutions of higher education, require that academic freedom be protected. There's no indication those safeguards have failed.

"[W]hile universities already are committed to protect academic freedom," the professors write, "they shouldn't be required to protect academic fraud."

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Why anyone would ever entertain such a preposterous theory?  Can ID show itself in error?  I would start by reminding people that empirical answers follow empirical answers.  The same can be said about metaphysical questions & answers.  When you mix the two, things become muddy & confused.  How does ID shows itself in error?  Are believers willing to question "God" by engaging the scientific method? 


The really funny thing is that the basics of ID were proposed by Enlightenment Deists to disprove the whole idea of the Bible. If you're going to teach ID, teach it right. 


Pass this bill, as far as I'm concerned. There is simply no way to "research" intelligent design.


Imbecilic as Zendler's bill is, it probably won't do any harm. There is no Intelligent Design research program going on anywhere, and no one can even suggest what such a program would consist of. That's because ID is pure, contentless mumbo-jumbo.

RTGolden1 topcommenter

I don't have a problem with State Universities and colleges underwriting studies into the plausibility of Intelligent Design.  As long as the study remains a credible academic endeavor, stripped of spirituality and religion, there is no conflict with First amendment principles nor of scientific method or process.

I don't, however, think we need legislative interference in the issue.  College and University faculty and staff are certainly capable of determining when a proposed study crosses the bounds of reason, legislatures are questionable in this arena.


Intelligent design and Marxism share the trait of being philosophies in scientific drag.  As does scientism, for that matter.


clearly, evillusionism cannot withstand the intelligent design assault. Without Darwin, no atheism. Without atheism, no communist Amerika. We must stop the truth and doubters' questioning our dogma; enforce censorship; it is not an incidental to our agenda but the whole ballgame for a plantation planet controlled by more highly evolved elites, the only ones fit to rule and enjoy all benefits of their brilliance.


@qman0117 You didn't really say that, did you? Yes, you DID!

Buy that boy some books and send him back to school, or perhaps send him to school for the first time.

scottindallas topcommenter

@qman0117 There's no critical process in intelligent design.  Science is a process of inquiry, offering an explanation for the mysteries that remain that is mere conjecture, unsupported by empirical evidence has no value


@scottindallas @qman0117 Darweenien science is a process of creative writing purely, the science of say-so and control of the microphone. Darwin was a gifted Victorian era fiction writer. Real science is about observation, stuff actually seen -- examples. Then you need to add a plausible mechanism to be tested. NASA says mere mindless minerals moistened produce microbes and men anywhere in this universe. In other words, wet rocks can live (WRCL theory.) Dry rocks can't. But "just add water" and ooh-boy they spit DNA codes all over the planet until the life cycle of  the butterfly and migration in 3 or four distinct species all the way to Mexico each year. Add water, and with time, all things are possible to those who will only believe. Efoolusionism is really, really true. As SJGould said, keep the faith people

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