Teaching Evolution

A blog devoted to teaching evolution, both in our schools and in our communities.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

If They Can't Explain it, They Shouldn't Report It

This article from the Los Angeles Times might come across at first as an evenhanded examination of the hearings in Kansas on whether "intelligent design" should be part of the school curriculum. But then we get to the part where Pedro Irigonegaray is described as "a Topeka attorney representing what he called mainstream science." No, he's representing what everyone calls mainstream science. You can doubt Darwinism all you want, but you can't claim it's somehow outside the scientific mainstream.

And then check out this paragraph toward the end:
Evolution says species change over time and that such changes can lead to new species, giving different ones, such as man and apes, common ancestors. Intelligent design says some features of the natural world, because of their well-ordered complexities, are best explained by an intelligent cause.

Huh? An intelligent cause?

We conclude with a complete mischaracterization of the Scopes trial:
The board has sought to avoid comparisons of its hearings with the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial in Dayton, Tenn., in which a teacher was convicted of violating a law against teaching evolution. But the hearings resemble a trial, with attorneys managing each side's case.

There was one key difference. In 1925, attorney Clarence Darrow, representing teacher John Scopes, attempted to make creationism look foolish. In the Kansas hearings, evolution is under attack.

Yes, Darrow tried to make creationism look foolish. And William Jennings Bryan tried to make evolution look foolish. (Although, as I've written before, Bryan's views were more nuanced than you'd think if all you know about the trial comes from "Inherit the Wind.") In fact, in terms of the content of the arguments, the Kansas hearings are almost identical to the Scopes trial: one side will explain why it supports evolution; the other side will explain why it supports creationism, although in 80 years that side has learned to dress up its creationism with the fancy name of "intelligent design."

If all the media accounts of the Kansas hearings go like this, it's going to get ugly.


At 7:00 PM, Blogger Justin said...

I've also heard that a number of the people who would be representing the science side of the debate are simply not going to be a part of it, calling it a circus.

It most certainly is that, but when the science side bows out of the debate, that doesn't do any good.

They at least need to take part and then tell people why there's just no arguing with the ID people.


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