South Korea "Creationism" Means War
Give just one side of a controversy the press, and you will get a one-sided presentation of the issues. That happened this week in the journal Nature.
A piece by Soo Bin Park published in Nature on June 5 has all the elements of John Draper and Charles White’s “warfare between science and religion” hypothesis. (Even Wikiepedia states this portrayal is not supported today by historians and philosophers of science.) War rhetoric peppers Park’s presentation like machine gun fire: “South Korea surrenders to creationist demands,” the headline reads. According to Park, creationists use tactics, have a campaign, are making headway, and “seem to be winning its battle with mainstream science.”
Actually, South Korea’s Society for Textbook Revise (STR) seems more interested in cleaning out old errors from textbooks: the horse evolution series, portrayal of Archaeopteryx as a transitional form, and Darwin’s finch beaks. Park is alarmed that South Korea’s growing number of “creationists” (a term he uses to encompass anything from Darwin critics to Biblical creationists) have an ulterior motive, to undermine evolution itself.
As expected, Darwin critics were portrayed as religiously motivated, but evolutionists not. Park presents evolutionists as defenders who need to rise up and fight: “Silence is not the answer, says Dayk Jang. He is now organizing a group of experts, including evolutionary scientists and theologians who believe in evolution, to counter the STR’s campaign by working to improve the teaching of evolution in the classroom, and in broader public life.” Strangely, Park opposes debates. “Having seen the fierce debates over evolution in the United States, he adds, some scientists also worry that engaging with creationists might give creationist views more credibility among the public.”
Suppose a mugger accused you in court of assaulting him, and that he had a right to call on muggers to defend themselves against your threats. That’s a bit like how the Darwin Party tries to defend its Darwin-only-Darwin-only (D.O.D.O.) position on public education. They don’t want open discussion of the evidence. They want to shut down discussion. Yet when anyone questions their presumptive authority against what has been the default position of human beings for millennia (i.e., that the world and life shows evidence of intelligent design), they go bonkers and turn up the battle rhetoric.
If you only read Nature, you would be indoctrinated in the following propaganda:
1. Creationism has been a threat to science only in the U.S., but now South Korea poses a new threat.
2. Creationists have “anti-evolution sentiment,” but evolutionists do not have the reverse.
3. “Mainstream science” is a monolithic block threatened by another monolithic block called creationism.
4. Creationists are doing battle with evolution (as if they started it).
5. Evolutionists are justified in preserving outworn and discredited evidences of evolution in textbooks just because they fear that creationists have an ulterior motive to “attack” their pet theory.
6. As “one of the most famous observations in Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species,” finch beaks should remain in textbooks, despite showing only oscillations varying with climate, not evolutionary progress.
7. Creationists use Archaeopteryx and Darwin’s finches as part of a strategy to attack evolution itself, but evolutionists are too pure as unbiased scientists to employ strategies to attack creationism.
8. Creationists have “antipathy” to evolution, but evolutionists don’t have antipathy toward creation.
9. Creationism is tied to religion (especially Christianity), but evolution is not tied to atheism.
10. Evolutionists need to improve the teaching of evolution, but creationists do not need to improve the teaching of alternatives to evolution, or even to clear up false, discredited, or misleading examples in textbooks.
Evolution News & Views presented the South Korea situation in more pacifist terms. Without battle terminology, it spoke of the growing freedom to speak up against evolutionary dogma. It spoke of the increasing numbers of scholars who view intelligent design as “the frontier of science” in several parts of Asia. The only indirect battle references consisted of true stories about some who have suffered from evolutionary forces in the past, including professors who have been outed by “informants” in China and have been expelled for criticizing Darwin or publishing pro-ID material.
No wonder Park worries about open debate. Put ENV’s coverage alongside his, and what would the public think? South Koreans, Chinese and other Asians are glad to have some freedom to hear both sides for once. What’s Park and Nature afraid of? Open the bunker windows and let some fresh air in.