May 13, 2004 | David F. Coppedge

Montana Schools Not Allowed to Question Darwinism

“Objective origins” is against the law in Darby, Montana (see 02/27/2004 headline).  A policy change proposed by a local minister would have encouraged students to “analyze scientific strengths and weaknesses of existing scientific theories, including the theory of evolution.”  It didn’t lose because of a vote on the policy, or because of the threats of litigation by Americans United for Separation of Church and State.  It lost because “evolution supporter Erik Abrahamsen handily defeated incumbent chair Gina Schallenberger in a 4 May election,” according to a news item in Science.1  The Missoulian said the election was driven by the origins debate, a “rancorous battle over a controversial science policy.”


1ScienceScope, Science, Volume 304, Number 5673, Issue of 14 May 2004.

Science took glee in the Darwin Party victory: “Creationism Loses in Montana Town – The residents of Darby, Montana, have doused one creationist brushfire by tipping the balance of its school board.”  (This was nothing about creationism, you recall; it was about letting the students hear about teaching students critical thinking skills.  There was nothing at all about creationism, church and state, or religion in this policy proposal – see 04/29/2004 headline.)
    This story underscores the fact that ministers have no standing in public policy debates.  They are disqualified before they even open their mouths.  If a minister suggests anything that affects public policy, no matter how innocently worded, no matter how lawful and logically sound, it can be completely disregarded because, everyone knows, he has a religious agenda.  The ACLU and the secularists in the Darwin Party have no such handicap; they present themselves as scientific, value-free, religiously neutral and objective.  Pastors and ministers have been confined inside the walls of their churches.  They are forbidden to have a voice in their communities.  Only in church can they speak their minds, but how long can even that last?  It is conceivable on the horizon that ministers will feel intimidated to speak out against the Darwin Party even to their own congregations, just like teachers are at school.  Would you have suspected such harassment in the Old West?
    This decision shows that Darwinian evolutionism does not just affect metropolitan academia, but touches every small town school district.  It also shows that critical thinking and analytical skills are not valued when the reigning dogma of Darwin is threatened.  Should the Darwin Party be proud?  They won an election by wearying the public over non-issues, and intimidating the townspeople with threats.  Like Islamic fundamentalists, they made it illegal to criticize or even analyze their theory.  They didn’t win by a reasoned debate over the evidence.  Losers, take courage.  Truth and politics are not synonymous.  Things are going better in Alabama, it’s not over in Roseville, and a majority of Californians still favor the students’ right to hear both sides, according to two new surveys, reports the Discovery Institute.  It takes time to overcome authoritarian dogmatism, but it’s worth it.

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