Today’s letter-to-the-editor has a great title: Evolution as ‘science’ destroying our schools. It appears in the Daily News Journal of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and as we usually do we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. Here we go, with a bit of bold font added for emphasis:
On Aug. 30, a column written by Charles C. Haynes, entitled, “Schools can’t teach religion as science, even in the Bible Belt” appeared in [this paper]. In his column, Mr. Haynes points out that American public school students place 23rd in scientific literacy when compared to 34 other developed nations.
We tried to find that column in the paper’s archives, but without success. However, one of our recent posts (Creationist Wisdom #207: Blatant Lies!) was about another creationist’s response to a different column by Haynes, so it appears that Haynes is really getting them stirred up. Haynes works for something called the First Amendment Center, and anything with that name is guaranteed to drive a certain kind of mentality over the edge. Hey, that website has Haynes’ recent columns archived, so the one being complained about today is probably this, with a slightly revised title: Schools can’t teach religion as science, even in Texas.
Okay, now we know what got today’s letter-writer all a-flutter. Let’s see what he has to say about it:
A strong case can be made that one reason for this poor showing [in science literacy] is that we teach evolution as science.
Lordy, lordy — that’s amazing! As you can imagine, over the years we’ve become a connoisseur of these letters, and for that sentence alone we declare that this one is a classic. But we’re just getting started. The letter-writer continues:
Evolution cannot be considered a general truth because it cannot be experimentally tested or proven by using scientific methods. Anyone who doubts this is encouraged to research for themselves the so called ‘evidence’ for evolution. (The book “Icons of Evolution” by Dr. Jonathan Wells would be an excellent place to start.) The ‘evidence’ is littered with misinterpretations of data (Miller-Urey) and out-an-out fakes (Haeckel’s embryos and the so-called ‘peppered moths’) are typical examples.
We won’t bother to rebut that nonsense, because we’ve done it all before and it’s becoming tedious. For example, see The Genius of Jonathan Wells. The tragic thing about letters like these is the realization that the letter-writer is probably sincere. Let’s read on:
True science is the noble pursuit of truth no matter where the evidence leads. However, evolution presupposes that there is no Creator. Therefore, any evidence that refutes evolution is either ignored or forced to fit the presupposition.
The letter-writer doesn’t mention the evidence of “true science” that refutes evolution. Then he has some paragraphs where he quote-mines Darwin. We’ll skip that, and also his citing of the full title of Origin of Species as evidence of racism. That stuff — found at every creationist website — is not only absurd, it’s boring. The letter continues:
How foolish we are! We admire and acknowledge the design and engineering evident in our computers and smart phones while ignoring the design and engineering evident in our brains which are much more powerful! We admire and acknowledge the creative beauty of a painting or sculpture and yet ignore the Creator in the beauty of flowers and sunsets!
Flowers and sunsets! We are fools to ignore all that evidence of the magical designer! Here’s more:
Make no mistake the argument isn’t about natural selection or descent with modification. These processes are scientifically observable within individual species. The argument is whether these mechanisms brought about the vast diversity of plant and animal life, including humans, from a single living ancestor. Many think not.
Yeah, yeah — the micro-macro mambo. That and a load of other nonsense is debunked here: Common Creationist Claims Confuted. Moving along:
The Darwinist’s [sic] have gained control of our educational system. It is their desire to indoctrinate our children and young people with a Godless philosophy regarding the origin of life. This is why our public schools teach evolution as science. The result is that children and young adults are not taught to think critically or to think outside the evolutionary box. Their First Amendment freedom of speech and freedom of religion rights are also violated on a daily basis.
Yes, children must learn “to think outside the evolutionary box.” They must be taught to go beyond reason, beyond evidence. They must transcend the primitive teachings of science! Teach them Oogity Boogity!
Here’s the final paragraph — the climax, as it were:
If we as a nation hope to improve our science education, we must replace the current failed educational leadership and begin to focus on real science such as biology (unencumbered by Darwinian dogma), botany, physics, astronomy, chemistry, and engineering.
Biology unencumbered by Darwinian dogma — that’s the answer!
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