Today, dear reader, we have an unprecedented treat for you. In the Commercial Appeal of Memphis, Tennessee we have not one, not two, but three — yes, three! — letters-to-the-editor. Each of them is a response to an editorial by Chris Peck that appeared a week ago — Legislature’s anti-science lark.
Peck’s editorial was written a few days after Tennessee enacted one of those anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism “academic freedom” laws. It became law when Tennessee’s courageous Governor, Bill Haslam, hid under his bed and refused to either sign or veto it.
Peck’s editorial seems to have stirred the natives up quite a bit, so we’ll give you a few excerpts from each letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. As we usually do we’ll omit the writer’s name and city.
Okay, the first letter is The truth doesn’t fear a challenge. Here we go:
I am amazed that you, Chris Peck, a newspaperman, who purports to have an open and inquiring mind, would try to stifle a piece of legislation that only permits open classroom discussion of certain subjects (April 15 column, “Legislature’s anti-science lark”). Have you even read the legislation?
Truth does not fear challenge and discussion. Only dogma does. There are many credible and credentialed scientists who do not accept evolution and global warming as established science. What are you afraid of?
Good question! We need a short response to that kind of foolishness, and the best we can come up is that some “challenges” don’t inspire fear, but rather pity, and they aren’t worth bothering with. For example, the proponents of the spherical Earth theory aren’t afraid of being challenged by the flat-earthers, but they don’t want to waste their time debating with lunatics. As it is with flat-earth, so too with creationism. The letter raves on:
Another thing that disappointed me was your arrogance and sarcasm. You strongly implied that the great majority of the members of the Tennessee General Assembly are ignorant rednecks who are incompetent to make judgments in such matters as this piece of legislation. Where are your scientific credentials?
We might respond by asking where are the letter-writer’s credentials, but we already know the answer. The dog ate them. Anyway, let’s move on to the second letter in the Commercial Appeal. That one is Questioners aren’t ‘low-level’. It says:
My unproven theory is that, what the legislature was trying to accomplish, is to introduce critical, open-minded and high-level thinking and discussion in these areas where the insecure adherents don’t want to have to defend their theories. If you are confident that you are right, why not prove it and be ready to defend it, instead of trying to silence the opposition by calling them “low-level” thinkers?
Low-achieving students would achieve much more in an atmosphere where they were allowed to question established tradition without being called names.
Science is the opposite of “established tradition,” but the letter-writer wouldn’t know that. In fact, that letter wasn’t much at all, and if it didn’t appear as part of today’s threesome we would have ignored it.
Now here’s the third letter: Legislation is not anti-science. Right — it’s not anti-science at all! The letter says:
Chris Peck, in giving his view of the new state law … called it “anti-science” and “a textbook example of low-level thinking.”
The letter-writer doesn’t agree. Let’s read on:
The truth is that many renowned scientists (many that are atheist or agnostic) have disputed Darwin’s theories about the origin of life, and have published sound scientific proof to refute them.
No scientist, “renowned” or otherwise, has published such proof. We continue:
And it was Darwin himself who started the debate when he declared “There are two opposing views of origins, the “theory of evolution,” and the “theory of creation.”
Darwin said that? We can’t find the quote. We doubt that Darwin referred to creationism as a theory. He knew better. Here’s more:
As to the creation of life, science has to rely upon “theories,” being an untestable hypothesis, and as such, many honest scientists would confirm that the “general theory” does not conform to certain established “laws” of science.
Wow — that was great! We love that paragraph! It’s a stand-alone gem. Every phrase is goofy. We particularly like “untestable hypothesis.” And what’s that “general theory” he’s talking about? How does it differ from the “special theory”? Ah well, let’s just move along:
Honest science teachers should explore scientific findings that refute evolution. Those wanting to do so should not fear legal consequences or firing for discussing known evidence to refute the now gospel of evolution, or any other scientific “theories” that are suspect.
Yes — they should explore all those findings that refute evolution. And while “honest” science teachers are doing that, they should also explore the wreck of Noah’s Ark and the fossil of Adam’s fig leaf — which no doubt they have but are afraid to discuss. The letter concludes with this:
Our lawmakers are not low-level thinkers, but are merely doing their job to make sure every student and teacher can objectively debate (with scientific proof) those theories that many liberal educators would have us believe are not subject to debate.
So there you are, dear reader. Everything’s up to date in Tennessee.
Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.