Running Scared

  According to an amendment to the Senate education bill written by Senator Rick Santorum, "good science education should prepare students to distinguish the testable theories of science from philosophical or religious claims that are made in the name of science." Second, Santorum's amendment stated, "Where biological evolution is taught, the curriculum should help students to understand why this subject generates so much controversy. [It] should prepare students to be informed participants in public discussions" about it. As Wilberforce Forum board of reference member Phillip Johnson points out in his new book The Right Questions, the amendment made no demands as to how this should be carried out, giving science teachers a free hand. It simply acknowledged that when it comes to biological theories, controversies exist and should be examined in the classroom -- certainly reasonable. You'd think science teachers would have welcomed the amendment as a means of helping the public to understand science as they do. Instead, most of them did everything they could to kill it. They were outraged that it singled out biological evolution as a subject of controversy. Oh, sure, there might be religious controversies over evolution, they allowed, but not scientific ones. Their supporters in the press agreed. "Just when science teachers thought they'd heard the last of the so-called evolution controversy, it slithers back onto the public platter," complained the Albuquerque Tribune. As Johnson points out, the logic seems to be that highly regarded scientists who don't accept evolutionary theories must not really be scientists. Why not? Because they don't accept evolutionary theories. When the circular reasoning is exposed, the evolution hullabaloo sounds almost amusing. But there's a deadly serious point to all the scientific wrangling, Johnson says. Darwinist educators cannot afford to acknowledge one vital fact to either their students or the public: that is that there's a distinction between the data, or testable theories, of science, and the philosophical claims that are made in the name of science. As Johnson observes, "Darwinist propaganda depends on blurring that distinction so that a credulous public is taught to accept [philosophical opinions] as inherent in the definition of 'science.'" The trick is to keep us confused so that we'll accept philosophy as science. And that should keep us from realizing that the scientific evidence is inconsistent with naturalistic Darwinian philosophy. Thanks to Senator Santorum and his colleagues, Darwin's adherents now have one less weapon at their disposal: that is, a monopoly on public schools' curriculum. After a bitter fight, Santorum's amendment to the education bill survived virtually unchanged. The bill was approved by both houses of Congress and signed by President Bush. Public school officials will now have a hard time justifying the firing or disciplining of teachers who dare to tell students about the weakness of evolutionary theory. Of course, Darwin's defenders aren't going to give up without a fight. Read Phil Johnson's new book The Right Questions to learn more about how parents and teachers can help bring needed diversity to the science classroom -- diversity that will help biology students recognize what's right before their very eyes in every living thing: evidence of intelligent design. For further reading and information: Phillip E. Johnson, The Right Questions: Truth, Meaning, and Public Debate (InterVarsity, 2002). Read the text of Sen. Rick Santorum's (R-PA) amendment, SA 799, to the education bill (scroll to bottom of the page). For more information on intelligent design and evolution visit the Discovery Institute. The Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center (IDEA) fosters conversation about intelligent design among students, educators, and other interested parties. BreakPoint commentary no. 020314, "What Would Darwin Say?" "Senate steps back in ooze with anti-evolution move," Albuquerque Tribune, 5 September 2002. Alison Motluk, "'Of Moths and Men' by Judith Hooper,'" book review, 18 September 2002. Chris Stamper, "Big bang in Ohio," World, 14 September 2002 (free registration required).


Chuck Colson


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