View Full Version : God Vs. Darwin

05-05-2005, 12:18 PM
The evolution of a fight to the end
In Kansas, God and science are going toe to toe again

By Alex Johnson

Updated: 8:11 p.m. ET May 4, 2005 Defenders of Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection are boycotting four days of hearings — beginning Thursday — over the science curriculum in Kansas, where the state Board of Education is made up of a majority of conservatives critical of what they see as errors in the standard theory.

Mainstream science organizations spurned invitations to participate, dismissing the hearings as an effort “to attack and undermine science,” in the view of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which publishes the journal Science.

The hearings, which run through Saturday and resume again on May 12, will resemble a trial. Three school board members will hear arguments from witnesses on both sides. The panelists — all three of whom have said they have doubts about evolution — will report to the full school board, which is expected to approve new science standards next month.

Spreading across the nation
The Darwin defenders acknowledged that their boycott would leave opponents of evolution unchallenged, but they said they hoped to avoid the publicity that a media-saturated argument over science and the Bible could stir up.

Nonetheless, a showdown is inevitable. Efforts to compel schools to teach or, at least, give equal time to the purported errors of evolution are underway in nearly two dozen states, led by two groups of activists united by their belief in a supreme being who set history in motion.

One group is made up of religious conservatives who espouse the traditional biblical account in which God created the world in six days. The Supreme Court, however, barred the teaching of creationism in a 1987 decision striking down a Louisiana law that said evolution could be taught only if “creation science” was also taught. So today, the movement has shifted to the campaign by intellectual thinkers, some of them scientists, who argue that life on the planet is too complex to have come about by chance.

That supposition is called “intelligent design.” Its leaders say that as a matter of science their principles are not religious, but mainstream scientists have labeled them Creationism Lite, and Christian activists have latched onto them as an alternative stick with which to whack Darwin.

Publishers call the tune
For mainstream scientists, the Kansas debate is just a skirmish. The real battles will come in the next few years as schools adopt new textbooks.

Intelligent design campaigns are being pursued in both California and Texas. Their school boards have long dictated the content of many of the nation’s textbooks because of the clout they have with publishers owing to their enormous student populations. Publishers routinely tailor their textbooks to the tastes of review boards in those states to avoid the devastating prospect that a multimillion-dollar new edition could be rejected.

“They call the tune, and the publishers dance,” Diane Ravitch, an assistant education secretary in the administration of former President George H.W. Bush, testified before Congress two years ago.

The result, Ravitch complained, was the creation of “a convenient bottleneck where pressure groups from across the political spectrum” — including opponents of evolution, she said — “can intimidate publishers and get them to revise their books.”

Ravitch’s testimony came as Texas was going through a wrenching review of its biology texts. Those books were introduced into Texas classrooms this year. Mainstream scientists fought off major concessions on evolution this time, but the battle is being continued in the Legislature, where a bill is under consideration that would give the state Board of Education — which is dominated by Republican social conservatives — even more control over the content of texts.

In California, meanwhile, a case awaits in U.S. District Court filed by parents who claim that they were denied their civil rights when a school district near Sacramento rejected their proposal that schools should be required to teach the purported flaws of evolution.

While California’s textbook battles have usually been fought by groups pushing more traditionally liberal causes, such as gender equality and multicultural history, the lawsuit signals that the evolution dispute is likely to become a hot-button issue there, as well — just in time to begin picking up steam ahead of next year’s acceptance of bids for new science textbooks.

© 2005 MSNBC Interactive

05-05-2005, 12:58 PM
History is written by the winners. Those religious FREAKS can not be allowed to "win".

05-05-2005, 04:55 PM
I hate this arguement.

I want one person who believes in creationism over evolution to explain the dinosaurs to me in a rational, reasonable, logical way.

I'm a Christian. My faith is strong - my religious practice is ok. I have absoultely no issues with the concept of both God and evolution working together.


somewhere I wrote a response to WGST about this ... maybe I'll dig it up