Recently, the state of South Carolina joined Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Kansas and New Mexico by approving statewide science standards which require a critical analysis of evolution in science classrooms. In these five states the standard-issue Darwinian evolution will still be taught, but with an interesting twist which ought to raise some eyebrows – the scientific WEAKNESSES of Darwinian theory will ALSO be disclosed.
In a country where ideals such as free speech, diversity, balance and tolerance are preached constantly, the remaining states DO NOT ALLOW the scientific weaknesses of Darwinian evolution to be presented in our public school science classrooms. This means that, in the state of Oregon (and 44 others) Darwinian evolution is taught as sheer dogma – scientific weaknesses are withheld from our students and Darwinian evolution is presented as a theory of origins that is incontrovertible.
It is important to note that of the aforementioned five states, precisely NONE has required that opposing theories of origins, such as Intelligent Design, be included in the state’s science curricula. The standards adopted in those states require ONLY an objective presentation of the strengths AND weaknesses of evolutionary theory. It’s important to scrutinize the media’s reporting on this point because as these states have come forward, reporters have repeatedly spun the decisions as victories for Intelligent Design, as though Intelligent Design had some relevance in the decision and as though ID will be taught in these five states as a result. Yet nothing is further from the truth – there is no language in these five states’ science standards which requires – or even allows – the teaching of Intelligent Design or any other competing theory.
Of course, the decisions in these five states raise an important question for the rest of us: Should our public schools continue to present only evidence which supports evolution, or should they also teach students about the evidences against evolution?
If one believes we should continue to conceal the evidence against evolution, one must answer some very tough questions: What good can possibly come from withholding scientific evidence against ANY scientific theory? How does that not undermine the integrity of science itself? Isn’t scientific experimentation and discovery supposed to be transparent? How is it fair to our children to withhold this evidence?
If, on the other hand, one believes our students SHOULD be taught about the evidences against evolution, then another set of interesting questions is raised: Why has it taken so long for just five states to adopt standards which require nothing more than an objective presentation of evolutionary theory in the classroom? What are evolutionists protecting? What is the rationale for having withheld this evidence and deceived so many students for so many years?
When considering whether to “teach the controversy,” it’s useful to cite an article published in The Guardian in September 2005 and written by renowned evolutionists Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne in which they conceded that “asking our students to analyze controversies is of enormous value to their education.” Despite this, their column justifies ignoring this particular controversy and hiding it from their students on the basis that evolutionary science itself is, in their words, “bountifully endowed with genuine controversy.” Apparently Dawkins and Coyne think that the persistence of controversy within evolutionary theory somehow makes the theory more robust. They are unwilling to consider the possibility that the theory they peddle is filled with controversy because it is fundamentally flawed; so flawed that biologists have had to scramble for inventive (but contradictory) schemes to keep the theory alive. But what’s more important is that when it serves their purpose, Dawkins and Coyne are clearly willing to rob their students of what they themselves admit is valuable to students’ education: exposure to controversial views.
The extent to which we present evolution dogmatically is the extent to which we lie to students. Opposing critical analysis of evolution in public schools is tantamount to advocating the intentional deception of children. Conversely, advocating that Darwinian evolution be taught objectively in the classroom will challenge students to think critically about the theory and will provoke curiosity and interest in science.
Perhaps what frightens Darwinists most about the critical analysis standards adopted in those five states is that presenting these evidences will make it all too obvious that the success enjoyed up to now by the Darwinian paradigm has come not from the strength of Darwinian ideas, but from of the Darwinists’ ability to obfuscate the evidences which would refute their theory.
Pete Chadwell, of Bend, is a graphic artist.