Today’s second letter-to-the-editor appears in the Grand Island Independent of Grand Island, Nebraska. The letter is titled Is it time for intelligent design?, and the newspaper has a comments feature.
Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — but today we’ve got a high school science teacher. It’s Dave Olson, who teaches at Northwest High School. We wrote about him a few years ago — see Creationism in a Nebraska School Board. He was arguing that he “wants students to learn the evidence both for and against neo-Darwinian evolution.” He gave the school board a PowerPoint presentation with several slides quoting Discoveroid Jonathan Wells.
Now he’s at it again. We’ll give you a few excerpts from Olson’s letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
This year the Nebraska Department of Education revised the science standards for Nebraska schools. What is interesting is the position regarding evolution.
We didn’t write about that because it wasn’t particularly controversial, but our friends at the National Center for Science Education did — see New state science standards in Nebraska. Olson says:
There is some agreement [Hee hee!] in the scientific community with Darwin’s theory. Changes do occur over time, changes are the result of the random genetic distribution of traits, and favorable traits allows the most advantaged organism to survive. It is possible that we all did come from a common ancestor. However it is also possible the similarities among living things could be the result of common design.
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] Common design! After that he tells us:
Darwinism has a prior commitment to materialism rather than a neutral assessment of the evidence.
Yes, Darwinists aren’t neutral regarding unevidenced supernatural intervention in the world. Olson continues:
The laws of logic are necessary because science alone cannot explain metaphysical truths (such as, that there are minds that exist other than my own), ethical judgments (you can’t prove Hitler was evil because morality is not subject to the scientific method), and aesthetic judgments (the beautiful and good).
Wow — what an intellect! Let’s read on:
But what if the scientific process, evidence and reasoning lead us to the existence of a creator outside of nature? Do we call it science or religion? [We call it Ooogity Boogity!] The standards fall short in providing a platform for the discussion of other theories.
If the evidence ever leads to such a conclusion, it will be considered. Until then, there’s nothing to talk about. Another excerpt:
One of those theories is intelligent design. However, school boards avoid it because of the decision by Judge John E. Jones III in 2005, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
Indeed. But Olson disagrees with the Kitzmiller decision. He devotes an entire paragraph to regurgitating criticisms we’ve seen before at the Discoveroids’ website. After that ark-load, he ends his letter with this:
The main question at stake is could all of what we see in life originate from blind, undirected chance or could there be an intelligent source?
Another question would be: How would you like it if Olson were the science teacher at your high school?
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