If evolution were a matter of obvious biological facts, why would it be necessary to list strategies to teach it without exposing it to critical thinking?
Nature‘s editorial for May 15, “Science in schools,” took aim at creationists, and the Discovery Institute (not a creationist organization, an intelligent design organization) in particular, on the occasion of Eugenie Scott’s retirement (5/09/13) from the National Center for Science Education or NCSE (not an education organization, but an anti-creationist organization). Beyond the usual talking points (e.g., evolution is science, creation is religion; Kitzmiller; the bandwagon argument all scientists accept evolution), the editors suggested three things scientists could do to keep up Eugenie’s fight against Darwin skeptics.
1. Make evolution appear non-atheist. The editors applauded Eugenie Scott’s tactical coup in removing the words “impersonal” and “unsupervised” when the US National Association of Biology Teachers described natural selection that way in a statement. It’s not that Scott believed the converse (that natural selection is supervised or personal); she just didn’t want to make evolution a lightning rod for those who would use such a statement as evidence that Darwinists are atheists. So she argued that there’s a “false dichotomy” between religious people, some of whom believe evolution, and scientists, some of whom might actually believe in some “higher power.” Scott (an atheist herself) argued that “science could not address such questions.”
2. Build coalitions. This strategy is vague enough to allow Darwinists to appear conciliatory while insisting their view is uncontested. They can have their say, as long as they all say the right things:
Another strategy is to put together coalitions of people from diverse backgrounds to provide multiple perspectives. Faith-based communities can express concerns about one religious view being favoured over another. Parents can argue for their children’s clear thinking and academic futures. Scientists can talk about the scientific process and why accuracy in schools matters, but should also participate, where applicable, as parents, community members or people of faith.
3. Perform outreach. The third strategy is for scientists to get out and interact with the public more often. The “articulate” ones who can explain the evolutionary view should be recognized and supported by their institutions; “they should bring the same passion to describing the work that is most likely to engage the public,” perhaps dinosaur evolution. Surprisingly, the editors pointed to Stephen Jay Gould as a good example of outreach. Gould, a staunch evolutionist, rankled other evolutionists with his frank admissions that the fossils did not support Darwinian gradualism. His theory of “punctuated equilibria” showed that there are strong disagreements within the scientific community over neo-Darwinism, as the Discovery Institute likes to point out.
The editors made it clear that they are not for dialogue or debate. They ended, “With support from the NCSE and similar efforts, scientists can further not only science education, but science itself.”
Oh, they can sound so noble. They just want to further science. They just want to help the children. Who could possibly be against that? Readers need well-tuned baloney detectors to see why this is DODO talk (Darwin-only, Darwin-only). In strategy #2, for instance, we have various types of people in their coalition giving “multiple perspectives” on the only acceptable viewpoint, the DODO viewpoint.
- The “Faith-based communities” they have in mind are the liberal churches who take the DODO position, like the Clergy Letter Project people who want to have Darwin Day celebrations in their churches.
- The “parents” they have in mind are leftist ACLU supporters who will scream on cue that they don’t want their kids getting religion in science class at the slightest suggestion of teaching evolution honestly. Notice that they want parents NOT who support academic freedom, but rather “clear thinking” (that is, pure DODO without confusing counter-arguments) and “academic futures” (the red-herring big lie that allowing debate about Darwinism might compromise their ability to get into college).
- The “scientists” they have in mind are the DODO evolutionists who still hold to logical positivism, that dead philosophy of science that claims the “scientific process” has some kind of objective meaning. The “accuracy” they want is Darwin Party approved DODO talking points. And as long as they stay DODO, it’s strategic for them to play the part of “parents, community members or people of faith” in the manner of Ken Miller, the DODO Catholic.
“People of faith.” That phrase should be banned from the English language. Everybody is a person of faith. Some have logical faith, and some have absurd faith. Anyone believing life arose by chance and became Man the Wise by unguided processes belongs in the latter group. No reasonable person should have the kind of faith to believe the impossible. Those are People of Fluff. The worst are the ones that throw tantrums when you question their DODOhood: the People of Froth.
Hopefully, here at CEH you are learning how to read Darwinian rhetoric with your critical thinking skills honed. Their talking points can sound grandiose when they just want to “help” people “understand” why anything less than 100% pure DODO is unacceptable. They know that letting in honest scientific debate over the evidence for Darwinism would be their undoing.