Charles Krauthammer layeth down the smack on the creationist attempts to re-write science curricula:
The half-century campaign to eradicate any vestige of religion from public life has run its course. The backlash from a nation fed up with the A.C.L.U. kicking crèches out of municipal Christmas displays has created a new balance. State-supported universities may subsidize the activities of student religious groups. Monuments inscribed with the Ten Commandments are permitted on government grounds. The Federal Government is engaged in a major antipoverty initiative that gives money to churches. Religion is back out of the closet.
But nothing could do more to undermine this most salutary restoration than the new and gratuitous attempts to invade science, and most particularly evolution, with religion…
This conflict between faith and science had mercifully abated over the past four centuries as each grew to permit the other its own independent sphere. What we are witnessing now is a frontier violation by the forces of religion. This new attack claims that because there are gaps in evolution, they therefore must be filled by a divine intelligent designer.
How many times do we have to rerun the Scopes “monkey trial”? There are gaps in science everywhere. Are we to fill them all with divinity? There were gaps in Newton’s universe. They were ultimately filled by Einstein’s revisions. There are gaps in Einstein’s universe, great chasms between it and quantum theory. Perhaps they are filled by God. Perhaps not. But it is certainly not science to merely declare it so.
To teach faith as science is to undermine the very idea of science, which is the acquisition of new knowledge through hypothesis, experimentation and evidence. To teach it as science is to encourage the supercilious caricature of America as a nation in the thrall of religious authority. To teach it as science is to discredit the welcome recent advances in permitting the public expression of religion. Faith can and should be proclaimed from every mountaintop and city square. But it has no place in science class. To impose it on the teaching of evolution is not just to invite ridicule but to earn it.
Meanwhile, the idiots are marching in Missouri:
“I knew you’d be excited to hear my bill,” Davis begins. “Good things are going on in Missouri education today.”
It’s a cheerful introduction to a case that later will link the lessons Missouri students yawn through in high school biology to the Holocaust.
Eager to present her witnesses, Davis gets to it.
“My bill is only three sentences,’’ she says. “It says that all biology textbooks sold to the public schools of the state of Missouri shall have one or more chapters containing a critical analysis of origins. The chapters shall convey the distinction between data and testable theories of science and philosophical claims that are made in the name of science. Where topics are taught that may generate controversy, such as biological evolution, the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist, why such topics may generate controversy and how scientific discoveries can profoundly affect society.”
Yes, we must examine this controversy.
To Davis, evolution means “we all come from pond scum.”
“It’s saying that human life came from nothing, and that makes no sense to reasonable people,” Davis says.
Science refers to evolution, sometimes called microevolution, as inheritable changes within a population over generations. Evolutionary theory, or macroevolution, says that all life on Earth evolved from a common ancestor and that the processes propelling the diversification of living organisms are gene mutation, which creates variety, and natural selection, which filters it.
The theory of evolution makes no claims about the origin of life, although much of evolutionary criticism, including Davis’ bill, tackles the two in the same breath.
Sitting before the committee, Davis abstains from making scientific claims. Instead she turns the floor over to Ann Ihms, a chemistry teacher from Indiana, who gasps through her testimony without pause.
“Columbine. Despair. There’s trauma, there’s panic, there’s depression among our young people at levels that have never been before,” Ihms says. “And part of that is the evolutionary teaching.”
A few committee members fidget in the chairs. The evolutionists who have come to testify put palms to foreheads as Ihms continues.
“There are some reasons that evolution does lead to the conclusion that some human beings cleanse the gene pool — Hitler’s ideas — which is an evolutionary idea.”