Asian Darwinist Profs Call Creationists Barbarians
“We have kept the creationist barbarians from the gate,” announced a professor at Hong Kong University triumphantly. A news article in Science this week described tensions in the city over the teaching of evolution. The Darwinists won a vote over a change in wording in the science curriculum that would have “opened the door to teaching creationism and intelligent design in secondary schools.” The door must be shut tight, apparently. Even the possibility of this happening created a furor.
Reporter Richard Stone said, “As a year of honoring Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution draws to a close, scientists in Hong Kong are celebrating a partial victory in what is likely to be an ongoing war against proponents of teaching creationism and intelligent design in secondary schools.” He called the partial victory “bittersweet” because it did not revise the guidelines, nor did it rein in “the few dozen schools in Hong Kong that openly espouse creationism.”
Stone said that most schools in Hong Kong, though publicly funded, are run independently – and many are affiliated with churches. The author of the “barbarians” comment, David Dudgeon (faculty board chair at U of HK) complained, “Fundamentalist Christianity percolates through schools, government, and other authorities in Hong Kong, and it informs attitudes towards gays and other social issues.” What homosexuality had to do with this article was not clear. Nonetheless, he and Sun Kwok, the science dean, agitated colleagues to begin “raising a ruckus” over proposed revisions to the science curriculum:
Many changes were positive, but one rang alarm bells. The previous guidance suggested, vaguely but reasonably, that teachers “guide students to review the differences between scientific theories and other nonscientific modes of explanation, e.g. religious, metaphysical or philosophical.” The new wording seems to put religious beliefs on an equal footing with evolution: “In addition to Darwin’s theory, students are encouraged to explore other explanations for evolution and the origins of life, to help illustrate the dynamic nature of scientific knowledge.”
Presumably this qualifier could be taken to give Darwin’s theory pre-eminence by contrast with other explanations, but the Darwinists were incensed still. In a statement that conflated alternatives to Darwinism with kook theories, Kwok railed against opening the door a crack for “pseudoscience subjects such as intelligent design, astrology, and UFO studies [that] have no place in our science curriculum.” The newspapers “ate it up” Stone said. In addition Kwok and colleagues formed a “Concern Group for Hong Kong Science Education” to pressure the school board to lobby for shutting doors to alternatives to Darwinism.
At this point, Stone did give a few lines of favorable press to the other side:
But many religious leaders rallied behind the Education Bureau—as did some members of the scientific community. In May, a group of academics and high school teachers called the new guidance “stimulating, balanced, and nonbiased.” Their statement said that “there is a real legitimate scientific controversy over Darwinian Theory. … Alternative explanations to Darwinian macro-evolution should thus be explored so long as they are based on rational and empirical grounds.”
One of the signatories, HKU physicist Chris Beling, argues that intelligent design concepts should be taught in addition to Darwinian theory. Intelligent design “may or may not be the answer to present problems in biological origins,” he says, “but if the [HKU] science faculty keeps on shouting that Darwinian theory is the answer and drowning out other voices, it is clearly unhealthy for the progress of science and for the promotion of critical thinking amongst students.”
The Education Committee sided with “the Darwinian camp,” Stone said, continuing the battlefield metaphor, after weeks of rancor. Their decision stated, “Creationism and Intelligent Design are not included in the Biology Curriculum framework nor are they considered as an alternative to Darwin’s theory.”
For Kwok, that was not sufficient punishment. At the University he and his colleagues are working on foundation courses that “ensure that all students are exposed to the scientific way of thinking.”
Hong Kong’s secondary schools may be more resistant to change, Stone reported. He said the Concern Group discovered that “one biology textbook published by Oxford University Press (China) Ltd. and endorsed by the Education Bureau refers to intelligent design ideas and two creationist Web sites.” This was too much for information technologist Virginia Yue, a founder of the Concern Group. She said, “We were shocked and appalled by such shameless religious proselytizing under the guise of science.” They are now mulling their next move.
1. Richard Stone, “Science in Society: Hong Kong’s Darwin Defenders Declare Victory in Teaching Fracas,” Science, 23 October 2009: Vol. 326. no. 5952, pp. 510-511, DOI: 10.1126/science.326_510b.
If you recall the rancor at the Scopes Trial of 1925, you remember that the Darwinistas (spelling intended) raised a firestorm over the prevention of evolutionary teaching and called for fairness. That was before the slow revolution that brought on the totalitarian dictatorship the Darwin Party holds over science. Now, instead of fairness, they scream and rant and express outrage and shock at any hint of suggestion by fair-minded leaders that students should have a chance to question the Darwin idol. Any dogmatism the creationists in Dayton, Tennessee might have expressed (which has often been exaggerated in popular portrayals contrary to the facts) pales in comparison with the intolerance of these bigots. Employing simplistic definitions of science, with misunderstanding of philosophy and ignorance of religion (particularly Christianity, which seems always the one targeted for rage), they demand total thought control.
The Darwin-Only, Darwin-Only (DODO) radicals are satisfied with nothing less than utter domination of anything related to the word science. Their rhetoric is imbued with the discredited science-vs-religion characterization. They portray themselves as the wise, and everyone else as “barbarians.”
Watch out for people who behave like this. There’s been a long history of similar tactics among radical groups. Like the democratic socialists, communists or fascists of the 20th century dictatorships, they only preach fairness till by scheming and stealth they steal a majority in the parliament or congress. Then they attack. They rip up the constitution and outlaw their opponents. They master the media for propaganda. They take over the institutions of education, science, law and government. They cannot stand debate, because they cannot stand the truth. It’s; all about power.
Exercise: Where else do you see this mentality in society today?