We’re experiencing another news drought, so that means your Curmudgeon is likely to get into trouble with an off-topic post. But this won’t be too far off-topic — just enough to bother some of you.
Most of you know our opinion that Debating Creationists is Dumber Than Creationism. Although we amuse ourselves here by discussing the things that creationists say, we never debate them, and we don’t think anyone else should either. But our thinking goes far beyond the wisdom of debates.
Scientists must be free to pursue their work and to teach their subjects without political or ecclesiastical censorship, and so far, that hasn’t been much of a problem. Creationists can rant all they like, but we become concerned only when some crazed sect threatens to go malignant, often with the help of government.
The usual first step they take is forcing their doctrines into public school classrooms — either directly, by legislating equal time for religious “theories” in science classes, or in the guise of what creationists misleadingly call “academic freedom” laws that require teaching evolution’s alleged “weaknesses.” If creationists were to succeed in taking over the public schools, your lab would be their next target.
Absent such creationist malignancy — which requires vigorous opposition — our position toward them is one of benign neglect. But our policy goes far beyond creationism. We’ve attempted to formulate a Statement of Principle, to be used not only in controversies about creationism, but also regarding other “social” issues. Here it comes:
All of that can be derived from Constitutional principles, so there’s really nothing new in any of the foregoing — but some of it is likely to be controversial anyway. We’re used to that. so say what you will, dear reader.
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