November 15, 2017 | David F. Coppedge

Darwinians Baffled that Students Refuse To Be Indoctrinated

Evolutionists have had complete domination of public school science for decades. They can’t believe that a sizable percentage still don’t accept evolution.

Ryan Dunk at Syracuse University is dumbfounded. He said on his blog last September,

Despite over a half century of education reforms aimed at better science instruction, nearly 40 percent of Americans reject the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution.

In both articles, Dunk commits numerous logical fallacies and propaganda tactics as if taken right out of the NCSE talking points:

  • Equivocating about the meaning of “evolution” by calling it change over time: “how organisms have changed over time, how and if humans have changed over time….”
  • Associating acceptance of evolution with scientific literacy: “With a minority of American adults fully accepting evolution, the fundamental principle of biological science, this research provides guidance for educators to improve science literacy.” He also associates Darwin indoctrination (it’s indoctrination because no criticisms are allowed) with “better science education.”
  • Non-sequitur of equating evolution acceptance with understanding the nature of science. “Understanding the nature of science is the greatest predictor of evolution acceptance in college students, a new study [by Dunk and friend] finds.”
  • Bluffing by trying to make his biased survey look like scientific research: “Specifically, I am interested in exploring how various educational, psychological, personal, and sociodemographic factors impact an individual’s acceptance or rejection of evolution” and publishing a paper entitled “A multifactorial analysis of acceptance of evolution” in a very pro-Darwinian journal, Evolution: Education and Outreach.
  • Bandwagon by using “a commonly used questionnaire called Measure of the Acceptance of the Theory of Evolution (MATE)” — used by whom? Evolutionists, of course, with rigged questions.
  • Straw Man by suggesting that Darwin doubters are all ignorant of the nature of science. He says, “the most significant factor that influenced acceptance of evolution in our sample was an understanding of the nature of science.” But there are numerous conflicting philosophies of science; which one did he use?
  • Ridicule by implying that Darwin skeptics are science deniers: “It is our hope that these studies, followed by a larger study comparing science and non-science students, will help us to develop curricular interventions that can meet students where they are and help lead them towards an understanding and acceptance rather than denial of scientific knowledge.”
  • Fear-mongering by implying that acceptance of evolution (“the nature of science”) matters for the future of our planet: “Such wide-spread science denial can have dire consequences.” Also, the claim that denial could have “a chilling effect if college students fear their religious identities will not be respected by science faculty.”

“Many religious leaders have made peace with evolution….”

  • Appeasement by saying you can be a Darwinist and be religious, too: “Additionally, the authors don’t see religion as a roadblock to fostering evolution acceptance. ‘Many religious leaders have made peace with evolution,’ Wiles notes….”
  • Card Stacking by telling sad stories of scientists who learned to love evolution after a creationist upbringing, but ignoring reverse stories of Darwinian scientists like Gunter Bechly who rejected evolution when exposed to the evidence and logic for ID. “For Dr. Wiles, it was even more serious. He was raised in a very anti-evolution environment in rural Arkansas, and it was not until graduate school that he learned about evolution. He struggled emotionally as family and social ties were tested as he eventually came to understand and accept evolution as the unifying explanatory framework of biology.
  • Either-Or Fallacy by failing to include Darwin skeptics and intelligent design advocates who are not Biblical creationists: “According to Gallup polling, the number of Americans who reject scientific explanations of human origins in favor of religious creationism hit an all-time low. Since 1982, the first year they asked this question, the number of people who accept evolution has never been higher.”
  • Half-Truth by twisting data points gathered from interviews into predictors of evolution acceptance: “In this study, Dunk and colleagues used statistical models to pinpoint how an individual’s understanding of science, knowledge of evolution, personality traits, religiosity and demographic traits predict student acceptance of evolution.”
  • Big Lie by caricaturing the empirical data as “overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution” and calling evolution “the unifying explanatory framework of biology.” Contrariwise, medical science and biomimetics have no use for Darwinism, and neither does much of molecular biology when it comes to describing molecular machines, which former NAS president Bruce Alberts called “the biology of the future” (1/09/02). The late NAS scientist Phillip Skell studied the use of evolution in scientific papers and found that most of the time evolution was added as “an interesting narrative gloss” after the scientific work was done (The Scientist). Consistent reporting on CEH finds evolution language inversely proportional to the amount of detail studied in biological research.

Given these fallacies, it’s hard to take anything that Dunk says as a slam-dunk case for more Darwinian indoctrination in schools.

We’re not here to slam Dunk. We actually agree with some of his advice. Students need to understand the nature of science, including “the difference between evidence, facts, hypotheses, theories, and laws; and the understanding of science as a social and human endeavor” (his words). If more scientists did that, they would ditch Darwin, and recognize the fallibility of their own consensus views. Students also need to avoid becoming science deniers like evolutionists, who deny or ignore evidence against materialistic origin of life, abrupt appearance of complex body plans, stasis in the fossil record, living fossils, the origin of consciousness, human exceptionalism, and the scientific evidence for intelligent design. Dunk says that “supernatural causes are not the purview of scientific inquiry,” an impossibility. You can’t do science without the supernatural. It reduces to the Stuff Happens Law, or worse, complete meaninglessness. To do science, a researcher needs to believe in truth, logic, and integrity. Such things cannot evolve, nor are they reducible to particles in motion. So your choice is one supernatural worldview over another: Dunk’s, which plagiarizes Biblical morality and logic (and is self-refuting when it doesn’t plagiarize), or creationism, which includes a necessary and sufficient cause for the universe, life, and the human mind. Maybe Dunk needs to consider another possible reason that students don’t accept evolution — like, it isn’t true.

Exercise: What fallacies did we miss? Check our Baloney Detector for other fallacies used in Dunk’s study.

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  • Recondo says:

    ahh if only Dr. Wiles’ creationist upbringing consisted of being exposed to the evidence for ID. Parents should bring up sites, such as this one, with their children and not wait for them to hit graduate or even high school on their own without any information!

  • Joe Bova says:

    What is really interesting is that some of us rejected darwinism because it and its evangelists are logically inconsistent and we can see right through their blather. When I as a young man heard a certain evolutionist proclaim that evolution was a fact not a theory, their house of cards began to tumble (now not one is left standing). So their insistence that they hold the truth is their biggest downfall as it is a self-refuting proclamation.


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