Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Georgia on my Mind The AJC ran this op-ed today supporting the decision of Georgia's Superintendant of schools to remove the word "evolution" from state science standards. It was not written by a scientist, of course, but by someone named Larry Taylor, representing the group "Parents for Truth in Education." That name alone is enough to tell you that this guy cares more about propaganda than he does about science (is the implication that parents who do not belong to this group don't care about truth in education?) In the editorial, Taylor lists several pieces of anti-evolution "evidence" that students need to hear about. It is worth considering each in turn:

Far from settled science, there is a growing debate within the science community about the ability of evolution to fully explain the diversity of life on Earth. More than 300 scientists from major universities nationwide, including dozens from Georgia, have signed a document expressing doubts about the claims of evolution.

That's as compared to about 30,000 scientists who feel differently. I've seen the list Taylor is referring to. Most of the people listed are not engaged in actual biological research, meaning no one expects them to go in to a lab and come out with the solution to a problem. Also, many of the signatories of the list do not object to evolution, they only object to the idea that natural selection is the primary source of complexity in living things.

More to the point, the issue is not whether you can find a handful of people with PhD's to support a particular viewpoint. After all, there's a tenured professor at Harvard who believes in alien abductions. The fact is that tens of thousands of papers are published on evolution every year in hundreds of journals. There is no rival theory that has earned any legitimacy at all in scientific circles, least of all intelligent-design.

Modern science instruction includes an undisclosed bias that artificially eliminates any possibilities other than evolution to explain life. It prevents the students from expanding their scientific knowledge and learning skills by forbidding the opportunity to investigate alternative theories scientifically.

Here Taylor means that science restricts itself to naturalistic theories, and does not invoke the supernatural. Scientists make this restriction because theories based on the supernatural have never once been useful in solving actual problems. The only bias in science is towards useful theories and away from useless ones.

Much of the "evidence" cited in science textbooks in support of evolution is dubious at best, and in many cases outright fraudulent.

Biologist Jonathan Wells, in the "Icons of Evolution," discloses countless examples of textbook evolutionary "evidence" that has been summarily dismissed by mainstream science, yet is still in use today.

This makes it clear that Taylor has no interest in actually learning anything about the relevant branches of science. All of the charges Wells makes in his book have been thoroughly refuted countless times. The only fraud exposed in this book is Wells himself. For a particularly thorough refutation of Wells' arguments, see the essay by Alan Gishlick here.

Scientific evidence that might cast doubt about the claims of Darwinian evolution has been censored from Georgia classrooms, as are the views of scientists who dissent from the established evolutionary doctrine.

The only things being censored are bad arguments. There simply is no such evidence contradicting evolution. There are only a lot of fallacious claims promoted almost exclusively by people with a religious agenda.

In an attempt to cloud the issue, the Darwinists will always try to interject "creationism" and "separation of church and state" into the debate. Knowing that they cannot win the debate on the merits of the evidence, they will always resort to this tactic.

Taylor can refer to this as a tactic if he wishes, but I would say it's just a simple statement of the truth.

Mostly, people like Taylor make me sad. He's the perfect example of how a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.


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