We here at Telic Thoughts have applauded the "Post-Wedge World" ever since the religious motivations of school board members in Dover, Pennsylvania caused defeat of the infamous 'Wedge' strategy. Yet we are still bombarded by the wedge-centric scare mongering tactics of critics, as if Dover never happened, as if we supported teaching ID in public schools, as if we reject evolution, as if individual's metaphysical beliefs must automatically determine what is or is not science.
In the wake of their victory at Dover, the so-called 'New Atheists' have dropped all pretenses that their concerns are truly about science. They've proudly embraced the role of up-front Evangelical Atheists, thus revealing that their motivations were metaphysical all along. I applaud their new-found honesty, as this evens the public playing field significantly. And the public is certainly paying attention now that it's not just science vs. creationists arguing about educational policies in a country where religion cannot be taught as 'truth' (scientific or metaphysical) in public schools.
The most famous EA, however, happens to be British. And Britain has an official state religion that IS taught to children in public schools. Their situation is quite different from ours, but since the US has its own officially deputized EA contingent (Sam Harris, PZ Myers – who will be working directly for Dawkins), it's worthwhile to take a look at Dawkins' new tactics in Britain to see how that translates to activities we may expect from associated organizations and spokespersons here in the States who also pretended it was all about science before Dover.
The British newspaper The Independent published a story today entitled Dawkins takes fight against religion into the classroom. Seems Dawkins' new foundation will now be subsidizing books, pamphlets and DVDs that it will provide to British teachers. These are materials that directly promote atheism to children, purportedly to "counter the religious indoctrination of young people," though it doesn't say whether those will be science teachers or religion teachers.
This would of course be legal in a country where there is no separation of church and state, where religious (and now anti-religious) indoctrination is allowed as a matter of course. I for one will be watching with interest to see how this project gets translated by the US contingent in an attempt to indoctrinate children in atheism now that biology textbooks have been stripped of anti-religious propaganda.
I don't think they'll be able to rely upon their unrestricted access to public science classrooms for this project, since too many in the public are following. What's good for the creationist school board members in Dover is good for the NCSE. They'll find themselves in court faster than they can whistle Dixie if they attempt to place atheist indoctrination materials in public schools. Though it would be a fun spectacle to watch if they did. Once again I'm glad I invested in popcorn futures – I could make a killing!
Post Script: I do have to mention one highly humorous slip of the journalistic pen by Sarah Cassidy, the author of the Independent article. She writes:
Truth in Science, a Christian group campaigning to have "intelligent design" – the belief that the universe was created by an intelligent designer rather than natural selection – included in science lessons recently sent DVDs and materials to every secondary school in the country.
For all you critics out there – Do you really believe the UNIVERSE was created by natural selection?