Evolution in the News - January 2000
by Do-While Jones

Is Science Losing the War?

The December 10, 1999 issue of Science contained a seven-page editorial co-authored by M.R.C. Greenwood, Chancellor of the University of California Santa Cruz, and her Special Assistant for Science and Higher Education, Karen Kovacs North. It begins with tales of woe about how American students score so much worse on standardized science tests than students from other countries do. These ladies place part of the blame on insufficient federal funding of education, and a lack of commitment to “diversity.” They believe that the solution to the problem involves more federal funding and stronger federal government control of the science curriculum and enrollment. Of course, there are others who believe that the problem is too much federal control of our schools, and the solution is less dependence on federal funding and less federal control. That is a political debate that we won’t participate in.

We must comment, however, on this paragraph near the middle of the editorial.

Science Education In Conflict with Political and Personal Agendas

Taking a step back from the prescribed activities in the classroom, science education is facing an additional, more insidious threat. Science teachers, across the nation, especially at the K-12 level, are facing a powerful and vocal minority of parents and community leaders who are distrustful of, and antagonistic toward, science. This negative attitude and distrust appear to be especially strong when scientific data conflict with religious beliefs. 1

We interpret this statement (coupled with other statements about creationists in particular) to mean that these women believe that anyone who does not believe in the theory of evolution hates science. They are as wrong as they can be. Creationist organizations are filled with people who LOVE science. It is because of their love and interest in science that they have taken the trouble to investigate the theory of evolution, and found it to be factually bankrupt. We know of no member of our organization who hates science.

They apparently think that scientific data conflicts with Christian beliefs. We believe that scientific data conflicts with the theory of evolution, which is the creation myth of the secular humanistic religion. We have seen political pressure brought to bear to suppress any scientific data that conflicts with the theory of evolution, and are outraged by it.

These women seem to be in possession of the facts, but don’t understand them. They themselves say,

Perhaps more surprising, a recent survey suggests that 24% of Louisiana biology teachers believe in creationism, and 29% believe it is an appropriate topic to be taught in high-school biology classes. [They reference J. Christensen, “Teachers Fight for Darwin’s Place in U.S. Classrooms,” New York Times, 24 November 1998, page F3.]

These actions limit a student’s ability to seek knowledge, examine data, and reach conclusions on the basis of objective data rather than emotion. The practices of omitting or distorting scientific information have the impact of leaving students less prepared for the challenges they face in their college classes. Perhaps even more unfortunate is that these omissions teach students that it is appropriate to ignore knowledge and to reject information before exploring issues or using data in formulating opinion. 2

Do they realize what they are saying? The data tells them that roughly a quarter of the biology teachers surveyed (whom, we suspect, are not haters of science) think that there is credible scientific evidence against evolution that should be taught in high school. Yet Greenwood and North say they want to omit this information, thereby distorting the scientific information about the theory of evolution. They want to do this even though they know that it will leave students less prepared for college, and will teach them that it is appropriate to ignore and reject information before formulating an opinion.

Finally, rather than allow open scientific debate over the matter, they recommend using the political power to keep their personal creation myth entrenched in the science classrooms. Under the heading of “What to Do” they suggest

In developing a plan for the future of science education, scientists should first focus our attention on the entities that we have the most control: the colleges and unversities. 3 [emphasis supplied]

Would it not be refreshing to see a scientist take his or her place in a governor’s office (after all, a wrestler did it) or have more scientists on the floor of the House or the Senate? 4

We should begin a campaign to ensure that there is at least one scientist, engineer, or scientifically literate professional on every school board in America. … I am referring to this plan as “Project 20/20” and I hope that it will result in the next generation receiving an education that will provide them with 20/20 vision of the world around them. … Project 20/20 should be sustained and supported by AAAS [the American Association for the Advancement of Science]. That is, across the nation, as scientists, technicians, teachers, or other scientifically literate and interested individuals take their seats on school boards, AAAS should be their home base. AAAS should provide the necessary information or advice to help these school board members enhance scientific content and accuracy for our schools. The Association should provide support and linkages for pedagogy, curricula, textbooks, assesments, and partnerships. And AAAS can provide programming time at its annual meeting to assist these individuals in networking with each other pursuing a mutual agenda. 5 [emphasis supplied]

They say they want engineers on school boards, but they mean they want evolutionists. There is at least one school board in Ridgecrest, CA, that has engineers on it, and those engineers want creation taught in their school. Remember, in their minds, "scientifically literate" means "believes in evolution". They think that anyone who doesn't believe in evolution is scientifically illiterate.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science apparently thinks that suppression of the evidence against evolution is a good idea. Not only did they give these woman seven pages of editorial space to promote their plan, they included a box which said:

Is science under attack in your school district?
We want to know about it. Please write to AAAS at www.aaas.org/communications/schoolsurvey.htm 6

Science is only under attack in those institutions that want to censor scientific data about the theory of evolution, because science is against evolution.

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Footnotes:

1 Greenwood & North, Science, 10 December 1999 “Science Through the Looking Glass: Winning the Battles But Losing the War?” page 2072 (Ev+)
2 ibid. page 2074
3 ibid. page 2077
4 ibid. page 2078
5 ibid. page 2078
6 ibid. page 2074