December 16, 2008 | David F. Coppedge

Expel the Creationists

Apparently Eugenie Scott of the NCSE is feeling no remorse from her appearance in Ben Stein’s documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, where she defended the actions of those who ruined careers, denied tenure, and deprived students and teachers of their academic freedom because they dared to question Darwin.  Her latest piece in Scientific American is as adamant as ever: the creationists, ever morphing their tactics by a kind of sinister evolution, need to be eradicated.
    With co-author Glenn Branch, Eugenie Scott summarized the history of creationism and the court cases that have stymied them.  Using the projection theme of a crook “donning a fake mustache” to hide his identity, Scott portrayed a shape-shifting bogeyman that can be shown no mercy but must be expelled.  The subtitle reads, “Creationists who want religious ideas taught as scientific fact in public schools continue to adapt to courtroom defeats by hiding their true aims under ever changing guises.”  After thoroughly discrediting the motives of creationists in Louisiana and Georgia who merely requested that students use critical thinking when exploring evolution, she explained why these apparently innocent requests deserved to be defeated: one doesn’t grant academic freedom to liars:

In the meantime, it is clear why the Louisiana Science Education Act is pernicious: it tacitly encourages teachers and local school districts to miseducate students about evolution, whether by teaching creationism as a scientifically credible alternative or merely by misrepresenting evolution as scientifically controversial.  Vast areas of evolutionary science are for all intents and purposes scientifically settled; textbooks and curricula used in the public schools present precisely such basic, uncomplicated, uncontroversial material.  Telling students that evolution is a theory in crisis is—to be blunt—a lie.
    Moreover, it is a dangerous lie, because Dobzhansky was right to say that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution: without evolution, it would be impossible to explain why the living world is the way it is rather than otherwise.  Students who are not given the chance to acquire a proper understanding of evolution will not achieve a basic level of scientific literacy.  And scientific literacy will be indispensable for workers, consumers and policymakers in a future dominated by medical, biotechnological and environmental concerns.

Creationists will continue their pattern of “steady misrepresentation,” she said, by finding new ways to chip away at Darwin’s theory of evolution.  What are honest citizens to do?  “But because the passage of such antievolution bills ultimately results from politics rather than science, it will not be the progress of science that ensures their failure to endure,” she said.  “Rather it will take the efforts of citizens who are willing to take a stand and defend the uncompromised teaching of evolution.

Eugenie, Eugenie, please.  This piece is so loaded with fallacies, lies and misrepresentations you should be ashamed of yourself.  Readers, look at this.  This lady knows better than to make such allegations.  She has heard numerous scholars and scientists who are not fundamentalist Christians make the same arguments against dogmatic Darwinism, among them David Berlinski, Steve Fuller and Ben Stein.  She has met face to face with Phillip Johnson and the leading lights of the intelligent design movement and various creationist organizations.  She knows these people are not crooks with fake mustaches.  In fact, she knows that most of them are nicer people than her fellow persecutors.  She knows many of them have more degrees in science than she does.  And she knows that no philosopher of science would defend the image of “science vs superstition” she is portraying.
    This piece has all the marks of a hit man knowing his job depends on showing the boss some blood.  As a full-time employee of an organization whose sole purpose is to keep creationism out of the public arena, do you think she could dare face her board of directors and contributors with anything less than enthusiastic loyalty to the cause?  Conscience be expelled; she is not going to draw her pay by feeling remorse for continuing one of the most egregious persecutions of scholars, scientists and citizens in recent history.  If that takes a few lies and misrepresentations, so be it.  (The best lies are calling your enemies liars, misrepresenting them as misrepresenters, and having an agenda to accuse them of having an agenda.)
    Eugenie, please.  Don’t you realize that any special interest group could use the tactics you keep using?  It’s never the Big Science Academy that has evil motives (don’t read those emails against Guillermo Gonzalez), it’s your straw bogeyman.  It’s never the Darwin Party that lies (don’t look at those Haeckel embryos); it’s only the bogeyman.  It’s never the DODO heads (Darwin-Only 2x) that misrepresents, changes tactics, and has an agenda – it’s only the bogeyman.  You know these people.  You know how nice and honest many of the persecuted outcasts are, and you know how cruel and heartless can be many of your comrades in arms.  You would rather befriend foul-mouthed P.Z. Myers than kind-hearted, wise old Phillip Johnson.  You would rather ruin a man’s career than listen to his scientific arguments for design.  You would rather sue a school than let them dare think that Darwin might have had less than the whole truth.  How can you look in the mirror in the morning?
    This charge of creationists only being politically motivated is so tiring.  It is so hypocritical.  If Eugenie’s special-interest group lost a court case, you know she would be the first to change tactics and put on a fake mustache.  If she were marginalized, you know she would be the first crying out for academic freedom.  If the Darwin Party were losing, you know she would be the first to demand the right to critically examine the majority’s claims and give both sides a hearing.  If the Dover case had gone against the NCSE, you could hear the screams of protest she would make about how defining science is no business of a Republican judge.  And if Eugenie’s rights were being systematically stripped away by a powerful institution, you know she would not willingly cede territory to tyranny without a political fight, no matter how hopeless the prospects for success might appear.  She would get into political contests and school board races and cling to the eroding cliff of intellectual freedom as long as she could.
    BUT – when she has the power to yank freedom from others, she is merciless:

  • Ms. Scott, we sincerely believe, on scientific and philosophical grounds, that Darwinism is deeply flawed.  Can we have equal time to present alternatives?  NO!  (11/08/2004)
  • OK, then; can have a few minutes per semester?  NO!
  • OK, then; can we let students know alternatives exist?  NO!  12/20/2005)
  • Is there any way for the D word design to be uttered in science class?  NO!
  • OK, forget the science class.  We assume we could teach both sides of the design debate in a philosophy class, right?  NO!  (01/25/2006)
  • How about teaching more evolution?  We could teach both the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinism, couldn’t we?  NO!  (05/13/2004)
  • Can a teacher at least refer to secular peer-reviewed journals that mention problems with evolution?  NO!  (09/12/2004)
  • Can a teacher put material at the back of the room for browsing, with no pressure or obligation?  NO!  (06/14/2005)
  • Surely you would allow a teacher to encourage students to think critically?  NO!  (06/16/2005)
  • Can a teacher mention that the textbook is presenting lies as evidence for evolution?  NO!  (07/25/2003)
  • Can we put a teeny tiny sticker in the textbook asking students to think with an open mind?  NO!  (04/09/2004, 01/06/2007)
  • Can we mention there are books in the school library with different views?  NO!
  • Can we teach evolution by the textbook, but perhaps mention a little about the factual history of Darwin’s influence on politics?  NO!  (03/25/2007)
  • If students write papers critical of Darwinism on their own initiative, can they get a decent grade?  NO!
  • Can we promote academic freedomNO!
  • Can we complain when NCSE material claims Darwinism is compatible with religion?  NO!  (04/03/2006)
  • Can Dr. Darwin-Doubter get tenure if he doesn’t voice any of his doubts about Darwin in the classroom?  NO!  (05/22/2007)
  • After a Darwin-doubting professor has been expelled and lost his tenure appeal, can he get a job as a truck driver (example) to feed his family? We’ll get back to you….

If you want to get really shocked and angry at what the Darwin Pary has done to respectable scientists and teachers who dared to question Darwin, get the new book Slaughter of the Dissidents by Dr. Jerry Bergman – himself a victim of Darwinist discrimination.
    On top of all this, Ms. Scott routinely portrays herself as a poor, lonely freedom fighter against the powerful religious right.  She heaps scorn on those evil creationists, the only ones in town with an “agenda” who are nefariously trying to corrupt science and ruin America.  Does that profile fit Dr. Richard Sternberg, a double-PhD research scientist?  No way.  But look what she said when he was hounded out of the Smithsonian for allowing a pro-design paper to be published in a scientific journal according to the rules of peer review, leading to a Congressional investigation that concluded evolutionists on staff had created a hostile work environment to pressure him out.  Eugenie Scott graciously said this in response: Sternberg got what he deserved and should be glad something worse didn’t happen to him (see Evolution News #1, #2 #3).  It was shameful – but she was shameless.
    It must be an awful burden to bear on one’s conscience.  This humorless lady has to face looking back over her life some day and realizing she spent most of her years denying the majority of Americans the right to question dogma.  We can only hope she will open her beloved Daddy Darwin’s inspired scripture and read, “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”  That’s not only the American way.  Darwin was no American.  That’s the scientific way. 
Exercise:  Aim your Baloney Detector at Branch and Scott’s hit piece.  Scoring:  One point for each propaganda tactic, logical fallacy or smokescreen detected.  Two points for each lame excuse for Darwin-only “science.”  Three points for each allegation that is more justifiably aimed at the Darwin Party.  If this exercise gets you worked up, you can do something about it.

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