I received an advertising email from the UK’s very own Discotute wannabees, the Centre for Intelligent Design. It’s advertising a ‘textbook’ entitled Explore Evolution, and it’s headlined Explore Evolution- A remarkable book. In common with quite a bit of creationist activity, Explore Evolution seems to be named with the intention to deceive: in reality this publication aims to persuade the reader that there is a genuine scientific controversy, and that creationist views such as Intelligent Design are credible alternatives to evolutionary biology. You can read analyses of this ‘textbook’ by the BCSE and NCSE (the NCSE’s analysis is particularly detailed). There’s also a Wikipedia page on the book. And here’s a review at Ars Technica.
The advert begins:
I write to encourage you to buy a copy of the remarkable book Explore Evolution whose authors include the scientists Stephen Meyer, Paul Nelson and Scott Minnich. This textbook, which is particularly suitable for senior high school students and undergraduates, is a must read for anyone who is interested in the continuing controversy about Darwinian evolution. It is also a book to pass on to those who are studying the subject or are confused by the debate. [my emphasis]
It’s bogus – there is no controversy about ‘Darwinian evolution’. If anything there is a manufactured social controversy, engineered by particular groups and individuals, often with a distinctively religious agenda. I’ve emphasised some text which makes it clear that Dr Alastair Noble (who holds a PhD in Chemistry rather than the Biological Sciences) is seeking to push his Intelligent Design creationism at schools.
This book will help you make up your own mind, from the scientific evidence, about the adequacy of Darwinism to explain the development and complexity of life.
More probably, the intention is to confuse the reader!
Explore Evolution first surfaced in the UK when the fundamentalist creationist group Truth in Science mailed copies to school librarians (BCSE responded by circulating an Open Letter to School Librarians). This looks to me like further blurring of the artificial boundaries between ID creationism and other forms of creationism.
UPDATE: One other relevant observation is that the Contact Us page for CARE in Scotland lists Alastair Noble as Education Officer. CARE is a Christian lobbying group which has interns working for MPs at Westminster. Here’s a Herald article (Rival to evolution may enter schools) in which Dr Noble is quoted:
Alastair Noble is an educational consultant who has been invited by both denominational and non- denominational secondary schools to present ID on a scientific basis. He said: “I gauge a growing level of interest from pupils and teachers. My guess is that the (TiS) DVDs are being used by a small but significant number of teachers.”
“It deserves formal consideration. It presents a scientific challenge to the construct that the world is the result of blind and purposeless forces.”
A more recent article at the Herald includes this strange bit of doublespeak from Dr Noble:
The group’s director, Dr Alastair Noble, told the Sunday Herald it was “inevitable” the debate would make its way into schools — even though the Scottish Government says teachers should not regard intelligent design as science.
“We are definitely not targeting schools, but that doesn’t mean to say we may not produce resources that go to schools,” Dr Noble said, adding that he had already been asked to speak in Scottish schools, and agreed to do so.