Monday, April 20, 2009

Weakness, Schmeakness!

Timothy Sandefur is an atheist legal commentator who believes that it is unconstitutional to teach the weaknesses, along with the strengths, of evolutionary theory in schools. Consider this quote from Mr. Sandefur:

…to teach the (non-existent) “weaknesses” of evolution in a government classroom is almost always (a) contrary to the lesson plan—and therefore a violation of a teacher’s employment contract—or (b) in reality an attempt to teach creationism to school children as true...[t]he Establishment Clause forbids the government from declaring any religious viewpoint to be true.

The last statement is an example of secular culture's deliberate misreading of the U. S. Constitution. The "Establishment Clause" does not forbid the government from declaring any religious viewpoint to be true. What it forbids, clearly, is the government punishing anyone who chooses not to accept Christianity. In other words, the government must allow people freedom to believe what they are inclined to believe, even if it is different from the particular religious beliefs which founded this nation.

Secondly, to state that teaching scientific weaknesses in naturalist evolutionary theory qualifies as "teaching creationism" displays a supreme level of stubborn ignorance. Frankly, it just demonstrates that, in fact, there ARE serious weaknesses so much so that the other side is scared stiff at the thought of those weaknesses being exposed. They know damned good and well that the weaknesses are so huge, so intractable, that reasonable people will promptly realize the inadequacy of Darwinian theory at explaining much of anything concerning the origin of life. This is why they must deliberately misconstrue the 1st amendment. They have no other way of salvaging their theory. Since science is not on their side, they must rely on government to intervene. Shameful.

Now Mr. Sandefur apparently believes that there are no weaknesses in evolutionary theory. Hmmmm, that's funny… because if there truly were no weaknesses, then you would think that all evolutionary biologists would agree on the specifics of the evolutionary narrative. But they don't! In fact, in a U.K. "Guardian" article Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne explain this very thing in their article entitled "One Side Can Be Wrong":

Among the controversies that students of evolution commonly face, these are genuinely challenging and of great educational value: neutralism versus selectionism in molecular evolution; adaptationism; group selection; punctuated equilibrium; cladism; "evo-devo"; the "Cambrian Explosion"; mass extinctions; interspecies competition; sympatric speciation; sexual selection; the evolution of sex itself; evolutionary psychology; Darwinian medicine and so on. The point is that all these controversies, and many more, provide fodder for fascinating and lively argument, not just in essays but for student discussions late at night.

In the article, Dawkins and Coyne are arguing that, hey, there are so many controversies within evolutionary theory itself, we don't need to add any more controversies by teaching any alternate theories regarding origin of life. Here's another snippet:

This is not a scientific controversy at all. And it is a time-wasting distraction because evolutionary science, perhaps more than any other major science, is bountifully endowed with genuine controversy.

Now this is a funny quote because it contradicts itself… in one breath Dawkins and Coyne claim that there is no controversy, and then in the same breath turn right around and claim that it's full of controversy. Interesting. But the point is, if there is so much "genuine controversy" within evolutionary theory, if no one can agree about which specific evolutionary scheme best explains all the data, then there obviously are weaknesses. That is, there are legitimate questions about how evolution accomplished certain things and scientists are having some difficulty fitting it all together. Folks, that's a weakness, and a big one.

I get a kick out of the fact that people like Sandefur, Dawkins, Coyne and others essentially are advocating that we lie to students and pretend that there are no gaps in evolutionary theory. I get a kick out of the fact that, at the end of the day, a guy like me (a vociferous advocate of Intelligent Design and essentially a young-earth creationist) actually supports teaching more about evolution than the purveyors of the theory. The irony there is delectable, don't you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment