The USA Today has published an article about the chicken littles at the National Academy of Sciences. Apparently, their pet theory hasn’t been faring so well of late, and they’ve decided to circle the wagons.
The article itself isn’t so bad. It’s the comments from the desperate Darwinists that provide any real entertainment.
The story opens with this not so stupendous news:
“Nearly one-third of science teachers who participated in a national survey say they feel pressured to include creationism-related ideas in the classroom.”
Never mind that they’ve mucked up the differences between creationism and other science based theories, and lumped them all together, this is hardly news.
What is interesting is the way they interpret these numbers. Typically, a newspaper leads with the majority numbers when a survey is reported. Most people tend to want to know what the prevailing opinion is. That only one-third are expressing this opinion here means that the majority, over two-thirds, don’t feel this pressure. But, of course, that isn’t news.
The article goes on (you can refer to any typical article on the subject to catch up at this point).
Another alternative to evolution is called “intelligent design.” Proponents believe some cellular structures are too complex to have evolved over time.
Of course, proponents of intelligent design actually offer a robust theory of experiential evidence that supports their hypothesis, but that seems to often be forgotten when defining ID in a mainstream newspaper.
Alberts complains that creationists, under the guise of intelligent design, have attempted to push evolution out of textbooks and classrooms in 40 states.
Note the change in stance here: Alberts is admitting that creationists are using ID theory to advance their own agenda, which is an acknowledgement that the ID proponents are NOT creationists. He is admitting that it is possible for people to use the research of ID scientists to advance their own agendas.
Later the article reports:
“‘If there were indeed deep flaws in parts of evolutionary biology, then scientists would be the first to charge in there,’ says Jeffrey Palmer of Indiana University in Bloomington.”
Indeed. Scientists from biochemist Mike Behe at Lehigh University to heart researcher Bill Harris at St. Lukes in Kansas have done exactly that. And, there are more and more scientists – Scott Minnich at Idaho St. University, Keith Delaplane at University of Georgia, Leon Combs at Kennisaw State, Glen Needham at Ohio State University and the list goes on for another 380-some scientists – who are skeptical of the supposed evidence for Darwinian evolution.
In his letter, Alberts criticizes Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe, a leading proponent of intelligent design, as being representative of the “common tactic” of misrepresenting scientists’ comments to cast doubts on evolution.
Actually, Alberts tries to lump Behe in with all manner of other non-science based critics of evolution. This is ridiculous. The letter singles out for criticism people who don’t believe in the big bang, that the earth is older than 10,000 years a plate tectonics. Please. I challenge you to find a serious, leading intellectual ID proponent who does not subscribe to the big bang or does not believe the earth is billions of years old. It’s ludicrous to try and demean design theory by mistakenly equating design theorists with non-scientific anti-evolutionists.
The story wraps up with a quote from an NCSE person who we can completely agree with in this instance:
Susan Spath, of the National Center for Science Education, a non-profit group that defends evolution, says proponents “need to work together more proactively in educating the public about these issues. The silver lining may be that this is an opportunity to enhance public understanding of science.”
Indeed, proponents of science — evolutionary or otherwise – do need to work together to improve science education within the general public. She’s right, this is an opportunity to do that.
UPDATE: Alert reader Dave Thomas answered my challenge by pointing out that design proponents Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds have no trouble with young earth viewpoints. Though it should be pointed out that this does indicate that what they’ve endorsed is more research and they have not been dogmatic about this point.
“Among proponents of young-earth theories, attitudes span a wide spectrum. Some (such as Ham, Morris, and Morris, in the quotes above) are certain that their interpretation of the Bible is correct, and that anyone who disagrees with them is certainly wrong. Others (such as Paul Nelson & John Mark Reynolds, in Three Views on Creation and Evolution) adopt a more humble approach. Nelson & Reynolds acknowledge the difficulties in current young-earth science, but think there are enough questions (about old-earth theories) to make young-earth theories worthy of further scientific research and development. Although they think a young-earth interpretation of the Bible is justified, and young-earth theology is preferable, they are not dogmatic about these views and are less critical of fellow Christians who think old-earth views are justified and preferable.”
I should have said: Name one prominent ID proponent who has ever proposed that the Big Bang concept be removed from science classrooms.
Regardless, there’s nothing in ID that even implies the details of young earth creationism, and the prominent IDers –Steve Meyer, Jay Richards, Guillermo Gonzalez, Walter Bradley, et.al.– who’ve written extensively on the subject of Big Bang cosmology and an old universe have written in defense of both ideas.
I’m glad I didn’t offer a cash prize for that one.