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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

News brief: Darwin lobbyist's retraction of accusations against ID advocate published in California Wild

In a move that may be a victory for reasonable discussion of the problems around Darwinism, National Center for Science Education's executive director, Eugenie Scott, has retracted her assertions against California lawyer and ID advocate, Larry Caldwell. She states in a Letter to the Editor :

Further investigation suggests that the books Refuting Evolution and Life: How Did It Get Here? were submitted to the Roseville school board by other residents, not by Larry Caldwell, and were not considered after submission. [ ... ]

Finally, the person described by a scientist as having a "gross misunderstanding of the nature of science" in his analysis of the Holt textbook was not Caldwell. [ ... ]
and her name appears below it.

(Note: If this is not the story you were looking for, see the Blog service note below or the stories listed in the sidebar. )

That letter is followed by Caldwell's own letter, where he says, among other things,

Contrary to false statements and implications in Scott's article, I never asked the district to ban or limit the teaching of evolution in biology classes, or to present the Bible or the Genesis account of creation in biology classes, or to teach creation science, or young-earth creation, or intelligent design theory in biology classes, and our district's board of trustees never considered implementing any such policy for its biology classes. Contrary to Scott's claim, our board also never "declared that . . . [any] creationist materials would be 'recommended' but not required."

Contrary to false statements and implications in Scott's article, I never asked the district to ban or limit the teaching of evolution in biology classes, or to present the Bible or the Genesis account of creation in biology classes, or to teach creation science, or young-earth creation, or intelligent design theory in biology classes, and our district's board of trustees never considered implementing any such policy for its biology classes. Contrary to Scott's claim, our board also never "declared that . . . [any] creationist materials would be 'recommended' but not required."

Scott also falsely claims that I purportedly "offered a stack of supplemental books and videotapes that . . . [included] a young-earth creationist book, Refuting Evolution by Jonathan Safarti; and the Jehovah's Witness book Life: How Did It Get Here? By Evolution or Creation? Thanks to its free distribution, this book is probably the most widely-circulated creation science book in the country."

The truth: I had never even heard of these two books until I read Scott's article. I never proposed these books, or any other "young-earth creationist," "creation science," "creationist," or ID books or materials for use in the classroom.

As I said in the beginning, Eugenie Scott's article contains much more science fiction than fact about me and my QSE Policy, and about what really happened in the evolution debate in the Roseville Joint Union High School District.

The public policy debate over how we should teach evolution in America is too important to be based on such science fiction. At stake is whether our students will receive a quality science education, in which they learn the truth about evolution, or a science indoctrination, in which the truth is hidden from them.

Wow. I have covered this beat for years, and this is the first time I can recall seeing anyone like Caldwell actually allowed to just explain the facts of the case without any mainstream legacy media spin at all. Things must be changing. (Mind you, it helps to be a California attorney ... )

Groups like NCSE that claim they want to improve science education should be happy to co-operate with the process of getting basic facts right without the threat of a lawsuit. Let's hope that the outcome is more open discussion of the problems of Darwinism. But even if that does not happen any time soon, justice was served in this case.

Here's a link to the original story about the California Academy of Sciences agreeing to correct potentially libellous statements about attorney Larry Caldwell, who thinks that students should know about weaknesses as well as strengths of Darwinian evolution theory.

If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

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