September 28, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

Scientific Institutions Root for Darwin

With the Dover trial in the midst of its first week (09/26/2005), the Goliath fans are sounding off, led by their cheerleaders, Nature, Science and other institutions:

  • Nature had two pieces this week, claiming the Dover trial represents Do or Die for Design.  This editorial ended, “Scientific organizations are well aware of this case’s significance, and many have lent public support to the plaintiffs [i.e., the ACLU and the 11 parents suing the school district for allowing alternatives to Darwinism].  A ruling in their favour will be welcomed not just by scientists and teachers but by American parents, whose children need to be protected from an injection of superstition into science teaching.”  (Emphasis added in all quotes; “sic” means “thus in the original”; our usage is intended to point out the assumptions and biases of the source.)
  • Nature writer Geoff Brumfiel titled his report, “School board in court over bid to teach intelligent design.”  Even though the school board did not require teaching intelligent design, but only mentioning that an alternative source was available for the students, Brumfiel focused on the testimony of the pro-Darwinists, Ken Miller, Eugenie Scott and Eric Rothschild.  He reported that when Ken Miller was asked about problems with the origin of life, Miller responded, “I would rather say that Darwin was incomplete, not that Darwin was inadequate.”
  • Science reporter Constance Holden wrote about “Darwin’s (First) Day in Court.”  She also highlighted Brown U professor Kenneth Miller, describing him in terms of a prize fighter: “Even the flagellum got its moment in the spotlight.  Miller tore into a favorite example used by biochemist and ID proponent Michael Behe….”  She made a short reference to the co-option argument; i.e., that the flagellum resembles a simpler molecular syringe, presumed to be a precursor.
  • Kansas University:  Chancellor of KU, Bob Hemenway, wrote a letter to colleagues asking them to hold their ground against the ID movement.  “The United States cannot accept efforts to undermine the teaching of science,” he said, although he hastened to mention that no one is attacking people’s religious beliefs.  Creationism and intelligent design, he said, “are most appropriately taught in religion, philosophy, or sociology class, rather than a science class.”
  • Citizen War Invades Museum  The Lawrence Journal-World reported about growing numbers of patrons entering the Sternberg Museum of Natural History angry about the pro-evolution exhibits.  Pro-ID advocate John Calvert claims there is no organized effort, but the museum director says the following scenario is becoming increasingly common: “A person or group will come in and confront one of the guides with rapid-fire questions for which the person is not qualified to respond” (see 09/22/2005 story).  The museum is counterattacking with more evolutionary displays and pamphlets, but Calvert, who thinks the museum is not educating but rather indoctrinating, predicts a backfire: “These exhibits are not going to work,” he said.  “People are going to wind up laughing at them.”

Hey; great idea.  Laughter may be one of the best medicines for chronic Darwinism.  Give it a try after the pepper spray of rapid-fire questions (be nice, of course—see 09/22/2005 commentary).  Let’s get the museum directors, the docents, the scientists, the lawyers and the reporters all laughing and having a good time.  Hire comedian Brad Stine to come into the dinosaur exhibit and give his wacky impressions of Dr. Noah Tall.  Stroking his goatee, gazing into the air, he could say, “Yes, children, this Diplodocus slowly morphed into your parakeet, over millions and millions of years.”  Somebody could hang a sign on the stuffed cow, “Whale Under Construction.”  Hold a karaoke contest of the Evolution Songs.  Find more ideas on the Darwin Day Top Ten (02/13/2004 commentary).
    Face it; evolution is funny.  It’s the craziest thing you ever heard.  “Hydrogen: a light, odorless, colorless gas, that given enough time, turns into people.”  Wah-hoo!  Hey, this could be just the thing: a positive, constructive strategy to heal the cultural rift in society.  It might even be good therapy for the Darwin Party leaders, who take themselves way too seriously.  Visualize Eugenie Scott and Ken Miller at the mike, hamming it up with Gory, gory evolution, ’tis ruthless marching on while the party is cracking up uncontrollably under the Charlie poster with the caption, “O, my sick stomach; I just looked at my eye in the mirror again.”
    One wonders if Hitler would have gotten anywhere if the crowds packed into his beer hall speeches not to be swayed, but for a rollickin’ good time at Amateur Comedy Hour.  Embarrassed at everyone mocking his antics, he might have slinkered away back to a career in art.

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