Re: Peer review and ID

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Fri Oct 21 2005 - 14:49:07 EDT

I'm afraid Louise is right, that IDs mainly want to convince students that evolution is in its last generation of dominance (the rhetoric usually associated with this I call "dancing on gravestones," and I have several times berated my ID friends for engaging in it) and that "Darwinism" (a term taken directly from Charles Hodge's equation of if with atheism) is, well, atheism pure and simple.

The subtleties of my position are likely to be lost on most, or rejected as irrelevant. Nevertheless I think I'm right, and I'd hate to ban teaching strategies that are actually better than what takes place now. It's hard enough to improve education as it is, without the added burden of silencing teachers who could actually do what I do all the time.

I think Louise is also right, that without the state standards requiring it, evolution simply would not be taught in Dover--or in many other PA communities.

So, why not? Why wouldn't evolution be taught? Simply put, ignoring all the deeper reasons underlying this fact (as I see it), it's because people do not want their children to be force-fed a scientific theory that functions for some as an alternative creation myth to that in Genesis--esp not if they think it flies in the face of religious truth that they are not about to surrender, thereby violating the purported religious neutrality of public education. It seems to me, there are at least four main types of responses one can make to this view. I'll pretend to advocate each, speaking in the first person as if it were mine in what follows.

(1) They're right, you know--those arrogant scientists and beaureaucrats are stuffing their atheism down our throats. We shouldn't stand for it anymore. Lots of scientists agree that evolution means there is no God, and even most of those who don't believe that still believe in a theory--and it's only a theory--that contradicts what I read in my Bible. This isn't religious neutrality. If they won't let us keep evolution out of the schools, then they must at least let us put creationism or ID into the schools with equal time. If they won't let us do even that, then to hell with them, let's stop funding public schools and use our own money to educate our own children. Who cares what happens to public education, since we're obviously no longer part of the public that they want to serve? For that matter, if the NSF and the scientific community won't fund dissenters from evolution, why should we keep funding the NSF? Maybe they're just as bad as the NEA.

(2) Ditto, except that this response accepts the status quo and urges parents to have their children ignore/reject what public schools are saying about evolution. In this same camp, for practical purposes, are secularists who respect religion but want it entirely privatized.

(3) Evolution might be true, or it might not, but I want my children to get a better education than what public schools as presently conceived are capable of providing. I want my children to know about evolution and other parts of modern science, but I also want them to know about ID and creationism and other alternatives to evolution that more clearly respect Christianity. Home schooling is a possibility, but for many of us not a realistic one. I think we should expand the definition of what counts as public education, to include private religious and non-religious schools, so that our own tax dollars (after all, those dollars are ultimately ours not the state's) can be used to educate our own children in ways that are more sensitive to our values. Public education is fine for many families, and we don't object to it, but we do object to having public education treat us like extremists or shove us aside as nuisances. We simply want the same respect for our values that !
Eugenie Scott and Barry Lynn get for theirs. The current system isn't giving it to us. What else would you advise us to do?

(4) Hey, evolution is a fact, whether or not you believe it. I don't actually give a S*&$ about what you believe, whatever your religion teaches is your private matter, and you can deal with evolution privately any way that you wish. As for your tax dollars, well, a little thing called the First Amendment says that I win and you lose. If you don't want your kids taught evolution, send them to school somewhere else. If you can't afford that, well, life isn't always fair. Grow up.


I'd be interested to see expressions of other views that I've not described here, and actual suggestions for what ought to be done about this. As Mr Lincoln said, you can't please all of the people all of the time, but if in a democracy we can't deal more constructively with something that is this important to so many people, then I think we're in deep trouble.

Received on Fri Oct 21 14:51:53 2005

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