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Saturday, May 21, 2005

Brazilian protests AAAS chief’s misrepresentation of Brazil’s Protestants

Recently, American Association for the Advancement of Science CEO Alan I. Leshner wrote a fairly typical piece of bumph for a Kansas paper, Let fact and faith coexist outside schools , equating doubts about Darwinism with trying to introduce religion into the school system. He warns,
Pressures are mounting to introduce nonscientific, anti-evolution rhetoric into science classrooms, alongside well-supported facts about life's origins.

(Origins? About life’s origins, as opposed to its development over time, there are in fact no well-supported theories. There is a huge variety of poorly supported ones. But let’s let that pass for now.)

Each time one of these boffins bloviates, it becomes clearer that Darwinism is the religion of the school system. That is the fundamental reason why questioning it is so controversial. As I said in By Design or by Chance?, Darwinism—whether true or false scientifically— is the creation story of atheism. It enables you to account for life without design. If it is true, fair enough, but if you are not allowed to question it, you will never know whether it is true.

Anyway, Leshner goes on to say,

The United States is not alone in these struggles. In Brazil, where the country's Protestant evangelical population has undergone a fivefold increase since 1940, creationists have ramped up efforts to combat the teaching of evolution.
Enezio E. de Almeida Filho writes from Brazil to reply,

Can someone correct Leshner's misstatement about Brazil? It is true that evangelical protestants have undergone 'a fivefold increase since 1940', however they have no relevant impact upon Brazilian society -- culturally speaking they are kind of 'second class' citizens [kind of pariahs] and have a hard time to have a say in important cultural issues, and remain mostly 'sociologically unseen' or unwanted by the rest of our society. These creationists haven't 'ramped up efforts to combat the teaching of evolution'.

Leshner should do his homework better: the Brazilian scenario is totally different from the 'cultural warfare' in the United States -- the only church openly promoting creationism in Brazil since its inception is the Seventh Day Adventist Church, a very small Christian denomination in Brazil. But even this very small segment of Protestants hasn't 'ramped up efforts to combat the teaching of evolution' but to 'teach the controversy'.

Give me a break, Leshner, these little creationists are no threat to you nor Darwin!

Thanks Enezio. But remember, Leshner is not interested in Brazil’s second class citizens. he is only using them as a bug-a-boo to frighten his fellow science boffins. Getting it right about the Brazilians would spoil the fun. What is he going to say, after all? That people in Brazil are beginning to doubt Darwinism because it is doubtful?

To find out more about my book on the intelligent design controversy, go to By Design or by Chance?

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