|email - April 2009|
We are glad to clarify some statements we made about the religions that accept and reject evolution.
Last month we were hoping to get at least one email like Ronís. We wanted someone else to make this point, and give us the opportunity to expand on it. Ronís email was the best. (Thanks, too, to the rest of you who sent us similar emails.)
Another great newsletter. Just a quick comment regarding "Darwin's Makeover," and particularly the statement "So, the theory of evolution is accepted by Mormons and Catholics."
I happen to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), and will tell you that evolution is *not* accepted as a theory of the Church. We believe in the creation, and "no death before the fall."
The CES (Church Education System) is an official program of the Church (throughout the world). CES is also taught in religion classes at BYU. The professors at BYU do not speak for the Church. The Church actually has very clear, concise, doctrinal language regarding macroevolution.
[Ron included here some official church references rejecting evolution, which we have deleted.]
BYU is an accredited University, so it is only there (biology) do you find professors who propagate teaching evolution. They are not leaders of the Church nor represent the Church in any way. *Everything* I have seen officially published by the Church, does not concur with what they teach -- especially apes-to-man. I spent two years debating a [BYU] Ph.D. [professor] via email (which is actually how I first became familiar with your site from looking up information on biogenesis). In the end, he had nothing published by the Church to show me as evidence that he was even close to being aligned with Church doctrine. On the other hand, everything I presented to him was from Church published materials.
So, when I saw this, I just wanted to make it absolutely clear that Mormons do not believe in macroevolution or Darwin's theory.
Now that thatís clear, letís take this opportunity to repeat what we said last month.
So, the theory of evolution is accepted by Mormons and Catholics. But evolution is rejected by the Jewish and Islamic faiths. Therefore, we could argue that teaching evolution in public schools promotes the Mormon and Catholic faiths and discriminates against the Jewish and Islamic faiths. We could make that argument, but we wonít because it is totally bogus. It is just as bogus as the argument that teaching Intelligent Design advances some vague religious notions.
Thatís what we said last month, with exactly that emphasis.
We wanted to emphasize this bogus argument because it was the basis of the lawsuit Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover School District, et al. 1 and a major theme in the Nova program Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial. In that trial, and in the TV program about that trial, it was claimed that mentioning the possibility of Intelligent Design is an unconstitutional attempt to get religion into the public school system because the people who support Intelligent Design secretly believe the Bible (even though Intelligent Design neither specifies God as the designer, nor uses any Biblical references).
The judge decided that one could infer religious intentions because some (but not all) of the people supporting Intelligent Design are Jews or Christians. We were trying to show that argument to be bogus because it is possible to name a Mormon who believes in evolution and teaches it at BYU. It does NOT logically follow that teaching evolution in the public schools is motivated by a desire to teach Mormonism in the public schools. That would be an absurd conclusion. But, a judge looking for a lame excuse to prohibit the teaching of evolution could use statements by professor Whiting as justification.
Ironically, the Nova program almost made the same point. Some of the teachers, parents, and members of the school board who wanted evolution taught without any criticism identified themselves as Christians. They claimed that evolution has nothing to do with religion.
Evolutionists like to have it both ways. When it suits their purposes, they say that religion and science deal with completely different subject areas and have nothing to do with each other. But whenever scientific arguments against the theory of evolution are raised, then evolutionists claim that those arguments are thinly disguised attempts to get religion into the science class.
The Catholic church has endorsed evolution for more than 50 years, and yet many Catholics believe in creation. The person who argued in favor of evolution most strenuously with me at the Community Dinner last fall was a retired Presbyterian minister, but many Presbyterians are creationists. You can find evolutionists and creationists in every major religion, no matter what the official church policy (if any) says about the subject. Therefore, honest critical analysis of the theory of evolution is not simply a religious dogma. Evolutionists simply use the religious argument because they canít win the scientific argument.
There is an important sentence in Ronís email that we canít overlook.
BYU is an accredited University, so it is only there (biology) do you find professors who propagate teaching evolution.
Some parents send their children to a private college or university run by their own denomination so that their children wonít be taught secular theories and values that conflict with their religion. They are shocked when they discover that their children have been taught evolution at their own church-supported school. I personally know of people who have complained bitterly to the administrators of a particular Christian college about the teaching of evolution there. I have heard that this is a common complaint of parents who send their children to colleges and universities run by other denominations as well.
These colleges and universities (run by denominations that donít believe in evolution) teach evolution because they must to be accredited. We received the following email alert from the American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS].
Evolution News. As the Texas State Board of Education draws closer to finalizing the stateís new science standards in late March, Texas legislators are pursuing legislation related to the evolution issue. HB 4224 would return controversial "strengths and weaknesses" language to the science standards. HB 2800 would exempt certain institutions from following state regulations on granting degrees; this is geared toward allowing the Institute for Creation Research to offer a masterís degree in science education, a program rejected by a state board in 2008. 2
Evolution must be taught to be accredited. Most colleges and universities buckle under and teach things they know to be false, just to get accredited. ICR is one of the very few organizations that is not willing to compromise to get accredited. If they win this battle, perhaps other private colleges and universities can be free to teach the strengths and weaknesses of the theory of evolution. That would be a good thing!
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2 AAAS Policy Alert -- 18 March 2009