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.
Then he appeared here one year ago in #836: The Science Teacher. Now he’s at it again. We’ll give you a few excerpts from Dave’s latest, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!
At this time of year, evolutionary theory is presented in our schools and is valid in some areas regarding change in living organisms. However, evolution today has come to have a variety of definitions. This writing concerns that which defines how new species arise.
We can see where Dave is going. He’s about to dance the “micro-macro mambo” — see our discussion of that in Common Creationist Claims Confuted. He says:
The “icons of evolution” not only are lacking evidence but also are misleading. The fossil record does not contain detailed information about the appearance of new species. They appear abruptly, no intermediates.
Icons of Evolution is the title of a creationist book by Discoveroid Jonathan Wells — with whom Dave seems to have an obsession. He also thinks that examples of every generation of every species on Earth should be well-preserved in the fossil record so we can easily see how, over millions of generations, one species gradually becomes another. Lacking that kind of impossible detail, Dave is eager to embrace supernaturalism. He tells us:
Darwin based his inference of common ancestry on the belief that the earliest stages of embryo development are the most similar. [What?] He used the drawings of Ernst Haeckel, which were shown to be falsified. Yet today’s books claim the same groups of embryonic cells produce similar cells in the same patterns. This was disproved in 1985 by Gavin de Beer, who disproved homologous structures and embryonic development as a mechanism for speciation. Even the presentation of how life began is riddled with speculation of microspheres and eukaryotic cell formation, which have been shown to be doubtful by Albert de Roos.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The theory of evolution never depended on Haeckel’s drawings. Ernst Haeckel was a student in the 1850s when Darwin published Origin of Species. Darwin did mention some of Haeckel’s work several years later in The Descent of Man, but he never embraced and relied upon Haeckel’s work. Dave continues:
The point is the one-sided approach [i.e., science only] to macroevolution leaves a void for students to enable them to discuss this controversial issue. This controversy is not going away. [Dave won’t abandon Oogity Boogity!] What I find disconcerting is our Nebraska Science Standards promote argumentation with evidence, yet, do not apply this concept to macroevolution.
Dave is upset. There’s not enough argumentation in school about “macroevolution.” Let’s read on:
The goal here is for parents to encourage their students to ask the questions regarding the “proof” for macroevolution and to research these concepts to determine their validity.
In other words, state biology classes should teach evolution in biology class using creationist material from the Discoveroids. The Kitzmiller case never happened. And now we come to the end:
Disliking, avoiding or shunning ideas that don’t agree with the status quo is not good for our country. Rather than protection from diverse arguments and points of view, our students should be exposed to them, to teach them how to think and find the truth.
Dave is a Discoveroid-style creationist, and he dreams of teaching their version of Oogity Boogity. But if he’s so unhappy with his teaching job, why doesn’t he go to work for some bible school?
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