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Saturday, July 05, 2008

More on Louisiana's "assault on Darwin" ...

Floyd and Mary Beth Brown are pretty happy with the new Louisiana academic freedom bill that would permit teachers to discuss reasons why Darwin's theory of evolution might not be correct:
One would think legislation which allows an environment that promotes “critical thinking” and “objective discussion” in the classroom would please everyone -- it did the bipartisan group of legislators in Louisiana -- but such is not the case. The New York Times felt threatened by the legislation, calling it “retrograde,” naming its editorial on the topic, “Louisiana’s Latest Assault on Darwin.” They were attempting to pressure Gov. Jindal to not sign the law, using a number of tactics including implicit ridicule, subtle belittling insults and untruths.

The law is straightforward and clearly restricts any intent to promote a religious doctrine. There is no mention of either intelligent design or creationism. Darwinism is not banned and teachers are required to teach students from standard textbooks. But the Times calls the legislation a “Trojan horse” because the state board of education must, upon request of local school districts, help foster an environment of “critical thinking” and “open discussion” on controversial scientific subjects. This allows teachers to use supplemental materials to analyze evolution and show views other than Darwin’s theory. It allows evolution to be criticized, and the law protects the rights of teachers and students to talk freely about a wide range of ideas without fear of reprisal.
Actually, Louisiana isn't that far off the track.

Actually, even Darwinists are now discussing how to rescue their theory without resorting to a political coup.

As evil intelligent design theorist Paul Nelson writes,
Evolutionary theory is in — and has been, for a long time — a period of great upheaval. Much of this upheaval is masked by the noise and smoke of the ID debate, and by the steady public rhetoric of major science organizations, concerned to tamp down ID-connected dissent. You know the lines: “Darwinian evolutionary theory is the foundation of biology,” et cetera.

But the upheaval is there, and increasing in amplitude and frequency.
Keep moving folks, nothing to see here ...

I am antsy about the Louisiana bill. After you've tried writing curriculum for what seems like fifty different government-led revolutions in education, all you want is for the government to Just Butt Out. But, come to think of it, how would I know they were still the government if they weren't making a mess of things?

Note: The picture is of a Louisiana alligator, from the Louisiana Advocate newspapers in education program. Alligators should be laughing. Do alligators bother with evolution? I can't imagine why. Once you are an alligator, where are you gonna go?


Darwin's co-discoverer thought design can be detected in nature?

The evil Discovery Institute (intelligent design central) is offering a couple of podcasts of interest, one on Wallace, Darwin's co-discoverer of natural selection, in which they note ,
Many credit Alfred Russel Wallace, who along with Darwin co-presented the theory of natural selection in letters to the Linnean Society of London, 150 years ago this year. But few seem to remember that, contrary to Darwin, Wallace actually believed that it was possible to detect design in nature. So, what would modern Darwin defenders make of Wallace today?
That's probably why you don't hear much about him.

Also, John West offers some thoughts on Thomas Jefferson and intelligent design:

Critics of intelligent design sometimes claim they are defending the principles of American Founding Father Thomas Jefferson in trying to ban discussions of intelligent design. In the words of one writer, “Thomas Jefferson makes it quite clear that there was not a consensus of support among the authors of the Constitution... to support theological doctrines such as intelligent design.” But would Thomas Jefferson himself agree? In this special July 4th edition of ID the Future, Discovery Institute Senior Fellow John West explores the real views of Jefferson on intelligent design.

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History moment: Quick, relabel that exhibit!

My co-blogger at Access Research Network, Robert Deyes, offers a tiptoe into recent history, when a controversy over human evolution was smothered in its cradle:
Those who visit the Natural History Museum in London today will not find any remnants of the controversy that centered around the Charles Darwin exhibition in the early 1980s. Nor will they see any mention of the conflicts in data that were so evident a decade ago. Yet controversy there was and a perusal through the letters to Nature during that time period reveals just how heated opinions and views became. The 'Museum of Errors', as the late neo-Darwinist Beverly Halstead called the Natural History Museum, led him to "raise the alarm" as he sought to "ensure the survival of the museum's reputation for scholarship in its public galleries" (Ref 3). What really seemed to anger Halstead was the museum's assumption that, as far as human evolution was concerned, no species in the fossil record could be considered to be in any way ancestral to any other. As he saw it, this particular aspect of the exhibition directly contravened the mounting fossil evidence. After all Homo erectus appeared to be the clear ancestral predecessor of Homo Sapiens (Ref 3).

And a stop was soon put to any public display of the discord.


"Accepting evolution" does not make you an atheist? Oh come on, not this rubbish again!

A Dr. Ginger Campbell, MD, of the Brain Science podcast, writes to say,
I happened upon your recent blog post "Straw in the wind." and I just wanted to say that I agree with you that the most rabid atheists have done more to promote intelligent design than they seem to realize. I recently interviewed Eugenie Scott from the NCSE for my podcast Books and Ideas and I want to share the links with you. One of the things we talked about was the fact that accepting evolution does not mean one is an atheist.
She offers Link to show notes and to audio.

Oh, but come on, let's be realistic, Dr. Campbell. The majority of evolutionary biologists are pure naturalists (no God and no free will). Same thing goes for National Academy of Sciences. Did Eugenie Scott tell you that?

I realize that you were not intentionally trying to spin me, but - for the record, Darwinism is the creation story of materialism and Eugenie Scott is in the business of forcing it down everyone's throats - despite its gross and ridiculous deficiencies, about which more and more people are becoming informed.

Look, I deal daily with people who must decide how to avoid conflict with an increasingly rampant materialist system. If you want to know what the next stage is, take the time to learn about our struggles in Canada. It could be enlightening.

And as for "theistic evolution," don't get me started on that. If it meant anything, I would be considered a theistic evolutionist, because I have no doubt that God could design the universe so that everything was encoded at the Big Bang. But I am not called a theistic evolutionist. I am called a creationist.

Why? Because I think that we can reasonably expect to find evidence for God's work in nature. (The intelligent design theorists say that too.)

The Bible teaches that, as does tradition, reason, and experience.

But "theistic" evolution means that "God's work cannot be distinguished from chance events" so to believe in God we must take a "leap of faith" (= there is no real evidence for God's existence).

Incidentally, the atheistic evolutionary biologists cozy up to the theistic evolutionists. But they throw everything they can at the intelligent design guys and do everything they can to suppress evidence they bring up.

Did you ever wonder why that is?

By the way, I do not know which straw in the wind you meant - there is nearly a haystack by now - but it might be this one.

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