|Evolution in the News - October 2004|
|by Do-While Jones|
The cover story of the October, 2004, issue of Wired is “The Plot to Kill Evolution.” There certainly are many efforts to kill evolution, but the term “plot” is not entirely accurate. The word “plot” implies secrecy and underhanded manipulation. The attacks on evolution are open and straightforward. If anything can be described as a "plot", it is the effort to try to keep evolution alive.
Recent articles show that since the theory of evolution can’t win on its own merits, backdoor politics have to be employed to keep it in the public schools. The cover story in Wired is one of two current examples.
The Wired article discusses the controversy in Ohio over the public school science curriculum. Despite what you might have heard, there is no effort in Ohio to remove the theory of evolution from the classrooms. Instead, the desire of creationists is to “teach the controversy.” That is, creationists say students should be taught the arguments for and against the theory of evolution.
In this instance, the school board was considering an alternative “intelligent design” explanation that could be included in the curriculum. Evolutionists don’t want to allow this because it is so much more convincing than the evolutionary myth.
Freedom of speech in general, and academic freedom in particular, are fundamental American values. Therefore, the evolutionists are in a difficult position because it is difficult to justify censorship of scientific facts. So, they try to portray criticism of evolution as some kook-fringe idea. In large letters, splashed across the middle of the page 202, Wired proclaims, “Some people deny the holocaust, but we don’t teach that in history.” In the text of the article, Evan Ratliff said,
The debate’s two-on-two format, with its appearance of equal sides, played into the ID [Intelligent Design] strategy--create the impression that this very complicated issue could be seen from two entirely rational yet opposing views. 1
An exasperated Krauss claims that a truly representative debate would have had 10,000 pro-evolution scientists against two Discovery executives. 2
Notice the two sneaky tricks that are employed here. First, there is an attempt to lump people who don’t believe in evolution with people who don’t believe in the holocaust. Second, there is the suggestion that for every two “executives” who doubt evolution, there are 10,000 “scientists” who believe it.
The two “executives” are Stephen Meyers (more about him later) and Jonathan Wells, who both have outstanding scientific credentials. But rather than call them “scientists”, Ratliff calls them “executives,” clearly with the intention of painting them as stupid bureaucrats.
The 10,000 to 2 ratio of evolutionary scientists to creation scientists is certainly overstated, but we have been unable to obtain data as to what the ratio actually is. 3 We suspect that the number of working scientists (that is, those who are not college professors) who believe in evolution is probably smaller than the number who don’t believe. Regardless, truth is not determined by the number of people on one side or the other, or by educational credentials of those on either side.
Imagine a debate of five holocaust-deniers against two World War II historians. Does the fact that there are five holocaust-deniers make their case stronger? Don’t you think the two historians could win the debate regardless of the number of opponents?
The comparison between the holocaust and evolution is invalid because the facts support the tragic truth of the holocaust, but are overwhelmingly against evolution. The holocaust-deniers were mentioned in the article just to try to create “guilt by association,” which is a shady debate tactic.
The reason why evolutionists don’t like to debate creationists is because the evolutionists always lose. The facts are against them. So, evolutionists have to make up excuses why they won’t debate.
And yet, the Discovery Institute’s appeals to academic freedom create a kind of catch-22. If scientists ignore the ID movement, their silence is offered as further evidence of a conspiracy. If they join in, they risk reinforcing the perception of a battle between equal sides. Most scientists choose to remain silent. 4
In other words, they claim that they don’t want to justify the charges against evolution by dignifying them with a response in a debate. The truth is that they don’t respond because they have nothing to say. If the facts were on their side, evolutionists could defeat creationists in a debate as easily as historians could defeat holocaust-deniers. Can you imagine a historian who would not debate a holocaust-denier? We can’t.
Earlier we mentioned the Discovery Institute “executive”, Dr. Stephen Meyers. He recently published an article, titled “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories” in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington.
Evolutionists love to claim that creationists never publish in peer-reviewed journals. Creationists counter-claim that it is because evolutionists control peer-reviewed journals and won’t let creationist articles appear. Well, here is an example of what happens when a peer-reviewed journal does publish an article critical of evolution.
BIOLOGY JOURNAL SAYS IT MISTAKENLY PUBLISHED PAPER
A small scientific society has publicly distanced itself from a paper, published last month by its journal, which challenges Darwinian evolution. The Biological Society of Washington issued a statement saying that the paper, which supports so-called intelligent-design theory, should not have appeared in the journal. The controversial article is by Stephen C. Meyer, who directs the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute, in Seattle, and is a professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University, which describes itself as a Christian institution. The paper appeared in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. According to the society's governing council, the paper "was published without the prior knowledge of the council, which includes officers, elected councilors, and past presidents, or associate editors." "We have met," the statement said, "and determined that all of us would have deemed this paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings." The statement said nothing about retracting the article. The paper was accepted for publication by the journal's previous editor, Richard Sternberg, a fellow at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, part of the National Institutes of Health. Mr. Sternberg is also a fellow of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design, which promotes the idea that nature has a purpose. He did not respond to repeated telephone calls from The Chronicle. … Mr. Meyer's paper on the much broader issue of the origin of animal phyla represents a significant departure, said the society's president, Roy W. McDiarmid, a scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey. He received several complaints from society members, prompting the council to issue its statement. 5
Notice that Meyer and Sternberg are called “Mr.” rather than “Dr.”. Notice that Sternberg is no longer the editor. Is that just a coincidence? Notice that the Chronicle felt it necessary to mention that the previous editor was a member of an organization that “promotes the idea that nature has a purpose.” But Roy McDiarmid is “a scientist.” Notice the use of the terms “so-called” and “describes itself.” The prejudice just drips off the page.
Evolutionists just can’t stand to have the theory of evolution examined openly and honestly. Any means that prevent criticism of the theory of evolution are justified in their eyes.
There is a plot alright, but the evolutionists are the ones doing the plotting. Evolutionists are the ones pressuring school boards to censor the science curriculum. Evolutionists are the ones putting pressure on peer-reviewed journals that publish articles critical of evolution.
Evolutionists are desperately afraid that someone will tell you, “Science is against evolution.” We hope to have struck fear into their hearts this Halloween season.
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Ratliff, Wired, October 2004, “The Plot to Kill Evolution”, page 158,
2 ibid. page 203
3 ABC television never answered our request for the source data used in their “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” question about how old “most scientists” think the Earth is. The Gallop poll web site says that only about 1/3 of all Americans believe in the theory of evolution, despite the fact that “most scientists” believe it. When we wrote to Gallop asking if they had actual polling data to substantiate the “most scientists” statement, they did not reply.
4 Ratliff, Wired, October 2004, “The Plot to Kill Evolution”, page 202
5 Chronicle of Higher Education, September 10, 2004, “Biology Journal Says it Mistakenly Published Paper” (Ev+)