An Ugly Head Rises in Lenins Land
According to Andy Coghlan, reporter for New Scientist, the spectre of an “ugly head” is rising in Russia. What is it? It’s not atheism, because Coghlan admits that Russia once made that the state religion. It’s not communism, because Coghlan admits “Godless communism” once prevailed in the Soviet Union. No, it is an ugly head Coghlan believes Russian dissidents, scientists and liberals must band together to fight before it invades the schools of the vast country.
What is it, you ask? Creationism. “Yes, creationism has now reared its ugly and evolving head in Russia, the heart of the ‘Godless communism’ that prevailed in the Soviet Union,” Andy Coghlan wrote. In a strange twist of fate, American creationists have taken on the role of the Comintern and are propagandizing Russian schools with the subversive doctrine that “Darwin’s theory remains a theory… This means it should be taught to children as one of several theories, but children should know of other theories too.”
How could this ever happen in a land that once imprisoned pastors and closed churches, turning them into museums of atheism? Coghlan referenced “a superb blog by Michael Zimmerman in the Huffington Post” as a source. (Zimmerman, head of the “Clergy Letter Project,” seeks to get American pastors to sign a statement that Darwinism is not such a bad idea.) Coghlan also referenced the Dover, Pennsylvania court case as “momentous” in combatting American attempts to allow creationism and intelligent design to get a foothold in schools.
The irony rises to a fever pitch at the end of the article. Coghlan quotes a Russian dissident who conflates fighting alternatives to Darwinism with fighting communist propaganda: “It’s a dangerous idea and we will do all we can to stop it. We overcame communism as the state ideology and certain forces want to replace it with Orthodox Christianity.” It appears nobody – not even the Archbishop of the Russian Orthodox Church whom Coghlan quoted – was even suggesting making the Russian Orthodox Church a state ideology; even so, it begs the question how teaching creationism in science classes would lead to that, if such a suggestion were even on the table. But visions of moral equivalency like booting Darwin out of science class, sending biology teachers to Siberia, or turning science centers into museums of Russian Orthodoxy are surely absurd. Yet Coghlan ended with this shocker:
With pressure from evangelicals for the US to abandon the division between church and state insisted upon by Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers, and the growing influence of the Orthodox church within Russia, we could see an unlikely alliance forged between former enemies. Jefferson and Lenin would be spinning in their tombs.
For some clarity on what Jefferson meant by the oft-quoted “wall of separation between church and state” (not a part of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, or Bill of Rights, but part of a letter he wrote to Baptists worried about the Federal governments power to infringe on their rights), readers are encouraged to see this explanation on Wallbuilders.org that shows it has been turned to mean the exact opposite of what Jefferson meant and believed.
Is there any reader not left breathless with disbelief at such a statement like what Coghlan just said? Any reporter who can put Lenin and Jefferson in the same sentence as allies against creationists has just reached a new low, both in historical ineptitude and calumny. This guy needs a serious remedial education. We suggest some Teaching Company courses in the Rise of Soviet Communism and Utopia and Terror in the 20th Century for starters, and some good books on the horrors perpetrated by the communist dictators. Remember the unforgettable 11/30/2005 entry? How on earth can one compare such polar opposites as Jefferson, lover of liberty, with a murderous totalitarian dictator like Lenin, whose first acts were to shut down freedom of the press, freedom of education, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, institute one-party rule, and start murdering everyone who opposed him? We need a category not just for Dumb Ideas, but for Evil Ideas.
If you are a Darwinist reading this, welcome. See? This is part of the open marketplace of ideas. (Notice: This is part of the open marketplace that American students don’t get.) One thing you can be assured of is that creationists, as much as you may despise their beliefs, are not bad people. Take any one of the famous ones: Henry Morris (see Scientist of the Month) or Duane Gish, say; even pro-Darwin historians will be among the first to state openly that they are (or were, in the case of Henry) nice, pleasant people (as well as qualified and informed scientists). They didn’t go around ordering purges of their enemies (with real guns and real bullets) and sending people to Siberia, OK? The same is true of all the leaders of the Intelligent Design movement. You would be hard put to find a more pleasant group of people to share a stage or a lunch with. Even Michael Ruse knows that. Take Paul Nelson to lunch sometime as a scientific experiment and you’ll see. If you had a chance to live in a country ruled by creationists or by communist dictators of the likes of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim Il Sung, Castro or the rest of those murderous incarnations of evil, you can be sure that 100 times out of 100, you would flee the Iron Curtain at every chance for the freedom that coincides with those who embrace ID or creation or both.
Please notice also that no mainline creationist or ID organization has ever advocating banning Darwin. In fact, ICR and some ID organizations have stated clearly that they want to teach “more Darwin” than the Darwinists allow the schools to teach. One reason is to include both the strengths and weaknesses of the theory, but another is the reality that students cannot understand the 20th century without an understanding of Darwinism. The only dogmatists who want to teach one side are the DODOs (Darwin-only, Darwin-only). It’s the Darwin-olators that would have Jefferson spinning in his grave. As for Lenin, well; most people who know their history would be grinning with satisfaction to see the RPMs turned up on his tomb.