September 12, 2004 | David F. Coppedge

Recounting the Risks of Critiquing Darwinism

Lynn Vincent has an article in World Magazine This Week recounting the tribulations suffered by Roger DeHart when he tried to include material critical of Darwinism in his high school biology classroom in Burlington, Washington.  (His story is featured in the film Icons of Evolution.)  It tells how the NCSE pressured two schools to forbid DeHart presenting any material critical of Darwinism, even from secular sources and clear of any religious beliefs or advocacy.  The second school changed its position after it had hired DeHart with full knowledge of his teaching and the controversy it had aroused in Burlington, and after promising him freedom to present it.
    DeHart now teaches at a private Christian school in Southern California.  In May this year, a scheduled appearance by DeHart on an NPR radio debate about origins was canceled just hours before the program was aired (see 06/04/2004 headline).  Vincent quotes DeHart, “Certainly, this idea that science and education is this tolerant search for truth doesn’t hold true from my experience.  You’d better toe the party line.  If you speak out against the orthodoxy, [the party] is going to deal with you.”
    Another attempt to debunk Darwinism was met with a violent reaction last week in Serbia.  Straits Times (Asia) reports, “Serbia’s Education Minister was ridiculed in cartoons and pelted with resignation demands on Thursday for ejecting Darwin from school classrooms in favour of Old Testament ‘creationism.’”  Ms. Ljiljana Colic had decided on removing evolution from 8th grade curriculum, and announcing that in other grades the teaching of evolution had to be balanced with the alternative view that God created.  For more, see the analysis by Michael Matthews on Answers in Genesis.  “Based on the reaction,” he says of this area (known as the powder keg of Europe), “you’d think another world war had started.”

Orthodoxy, party line– was this the liberalism that the original Darwinian X-club had in mind when they rallied against what they viewed as the Anglican orthodoxy of the 19th century?  Would they be gratified to see their views turned into a dogma that cannot be questioned?  Did not Father Charlie himself say, “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question”?  Is it not ironic to see the Darwinists as the inquisitors, and the intelligent design scientists and teachers the ones wanting to take Darwin at his word to allow students to hear a balanced and full statement of the arguments on both sides of this important question?

Categories: Education

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