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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Science writer: Let 'intelligent design' and science rumble

Human evolution writer for Science, Michael Balter, thinks that acceptance of Darwinism in the United States has been weakened by the Darwinists' attempts to suppress any questioning:

In large part, Americans' skepticism toward evolutionary theory reflects the continuing influence of religion. Yet it also implies that scientists have not been persuasive enough, even when buttressed by strong scientific evidence that natural selection alone can account for life's complexity.

Could it be that the theory of evolution's judicially sanctioned monopoly in the classroom has backfired?

For one thing, the monopoly strengthens claims by intelligent-design proponents that scientists don't want to be challenged. More important, it shields Darwinian theory from challenges that, when properly refuted, might win over adherents to evolutionary views.

Might, or might not. Obviously, Darwinists don't think that open discussion would be any help to their cause. That was what first alerted me, years ago, to the problems with Darwinism (a theory that I had managed to live for nearly fifty prior years without ever thinking much about), and eventually led to my writing By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg, 2004), to try to understand and explain why the uproar could only continue to grow.

Like most science writers, Balter is a virtuous Darwinist who is quite sure that there can be no legitimate doubts about Darwinism, only misunderstandings that a less fascistic attitude on the part of Darwinists would quickly set right. Even so, a caution appears in the teaser for his commentary, immediately following the byline, "The views expressed above are his own."*

"Huh? You don't say! Amazing. Fella done wrote a opinion piece and it's really and truly his own opinion! What the world coming to?"

Seriously, that artful little touch typefies the problem beautifully. Even Balter, whose loyalty to Darwinism is transparent, can't be too sure. Or else his loyal editor can't.

[* Strictly, it should have read "below", not "above", so presumably whoever wrote the tag wasn't sure where it would be placed.]

Of course, it won't be nearly as easy for Darwinism to succeed as that. Remember that, in its present incarnation, it promises not only to tell you how the giraffe got its long neck, but - in the guise of evolutionary psychology - why kids don't eat their greens and why some guys cheat on their wives AND why your next-door neighbor had a born-again experience and quit drinking. I think the Darwinists should have stuck with giraffes. When's the last time you heard a giraffe complain about theories about necks?

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