What John Glenn recently said about teaching evolution has been all over the news, and we knew it wouldn’t be long until we heard from the creationists. But before we get to them, here’s what the famed astronaut and former United States senator said, according to an article at PhysOrg: John Glenn: Evolution should be taught in schools.
John Glenn, who declared as a 77-year-old in a news conference from space that “to look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is to me impossible,” says facts about scientific discovery should be taught in schools — and that includes evolution.
You can imagine the anguish that causes creationists. Here’s more:
The astronaut, now 93 with fading eyesight and hearing, told The Associated Press in a recent interview that he sees no contradiction between believing in God and believing in evolution.
“I don’t see that I’m any less religious by the fact that I can appreciate the fact that science just records that we change with evolution and time, and that’s a fact,” said Glenn, a Presbyterian. “It doesn’t mean it’s less wondrous and it doesn’t mean that there can’t be some power greater than any of us that has been behind and is behind whatever is going on.”
That’s quite acceptable to your Curmudgeon, but you know it’s driving the creationists crazy. The first to react is the Discovery Institute. They just posted this at their creationist blog: John Glenn, Please Don’t Let the Media Tarnish Your Reputation. It doesn’t have a byline. They say, with bold font added by us:
Out of all the content in reporter Julie Carr Smyth’s interview with John Glenn, the Associated Press selected this for the headline, now echoing around the country: “John Glenn: Evolution should be taught in schools.” Since many readers never make it past the headline, this is the message they got from the AP: An American hero wants to keep Darwin in science class, with the implied background that nefarious creationists and other science deniers, the favorite bogeymen of the popular media’s imagination, must be plotting to push Darwin out.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s a media conspiracy! Then they attempt to soften their remarks:
Let’s be clear: John Glenn is a great American. [We’ll skip the rest of the reluctant praise they knew was essential.] So what did he actually say about teaching evolution? All that Ms. Smyth records is this:
Then they repeat the same words that PhysOrg quoted. Here’s their reaction:
It would not be appropriate to challenge an American hero on such an occasion, much less an honored senior citizen. If someone else had said this at a younger age, though, one wishes that a well-informed reporter had been present to ask some follow-up questions and bring greater clarity to the issues:
Then they give us the questions that someone “well-informed,” presumably a Discoveroid, should have asked, such as:
Sir, are you talking about Darwinian evolution, or just “change”? Change over time is uncontroversial, but if you mean Darwinian evolution as an explanation of how complex life forms arise, that’s defined as unguided, purposeless, blind change. Evolutionary theory is restricted to material processes, with no intelligence “behind” it. Do you not see a contradiction between that and belief that “some power greater than any of us… is behind whatever is going on”?
Oh yeah, some clever Discoveroid, maybe Casey, could have reduced Glenn to tears with that. How would Glenn have reacted? For some reason, that brings to mind the reaction of another astronaut when he was confronted by a Moon-landing denier: Buzz Aldrin punches Bart Sibrel after being harassed by him. Hey, if the Discoveroids can imagine putting questions to Glenn, we can fantasize about his response.
Okay, the Discoveroids’ relentless — but imaginary and therefore safe — cross-examination of Glenn continues:
You spoke about “some greater power” in your statement. Is that an intelligent power, or is it a material force like gravity? Do you believe that intelligence has power?
Wow — that’s a tough one! Glenn would have been squirming. Here’s more:
Is evolution (in the Darwinian sense) really a “fact of scientific discovery”? Or, instead, is it a paradigm through which a great many scientists interpret facts and thereby preserve, without their necessarily even realizing it, an ideology of materialism that frequently gets confused with what “science says”?
It’s lucky for Glenn that those Discoveroids weren’t there to rip him to shreds. We’re leaving out several of their questions, but you can click over there to see them all. If you bother to do so, note that their questions somehow fail to ask Glenn about all the evidence contradicting evolution. Oh, that’s right — there isn’t any. After their barrage of questions, they say:
It’s sad to see confusion about Darwinian evolution persisting in the media year after year. What matters is the evidence, not an argument from authority or the opinion of an aging hero that misguided reporters can latch onto and proclaim in bold headlines.
The Discoveroids would never latch on to someone with a good reputation who, in his dotage, embraced mysticism. Well, there’s Alfred Wallace, Philip Skell, Thomas Nagel, and probably a few others we can’t think of at the moment. But that’s different — they finally recognized The Truth™, so it’s okay if the Discoveroids exploit them. Here’s how they finish:
Mr. Glenn, out of our respect for all you have done for America, there is still time to wipe off this bit of tarnish from your reputation, allowing your words to shine with clarity.
We don’t need to say anything, do we? Okay, but only this: Well done, John Glenn!
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