Monday, March 23, 2009

Vote on Challenge to Evolution

Where is Clarence Darrow when we need him?
Rev. Carl W. Rohlfs of the University United Methodist Church in Austin, left, talks with Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller, right, Thursday in Austin. The State Board of Education is voting on science-curriculum standards on the teaching of evolution.

We're still debating evolution? Maybe we should make sure the earth really rotates around the sun, unless we're in danger of falling off the edge of the earth while navigating. Geez.

The Texas Board of Education will vote this week on a new science curriculum designed to challenge the guiding principle of evolution, a step that could influence what is taught in biology classes across the nation.

"This is the most specific assault I've seen against evolution and modern science," said Steven Newton, a project director at the National Center for Science Education, which promotes teaching of evolution.

As Ralph Kiner once said about Casey Stengel, "if he were alive, he'd be turning over in his grave." This time it'd be Clarence Darrow.

Texas school board chairman Don McLeroy also sees the curriculum as a landmark -- but a positive one.

Dr. McLeroy believes that God created the earth less than 10,000 years ago. If the new curriculum passes, he says he will insist that high-school biology textbooks point out specific aspects of the fossil record that, in his view, undermine the theory that all life on Earth is descended from primitive scraps of genetic material that first emerged in the primordial muck about 3.9 billion years ago.

Huh? Never mind the separation of church and state, but this is ridiculous.

He also wants the texts to make the case that individual cells are far too complex to have evolved by chance mutation and natural selection, an argument popular with those who believe an intelligent designer created the universe.

Of course he couldn't possibly see that complexity arose across vast ages. Nah. God did it.

The textbooks will "have to say that there's a problem with evolution -- because there is," said Dr. McLeroy, a dentist. "We need to be honest with the kids."

That's rich: let's be honest.

Polls show many Americans are skeptical of or confused by evolution; in a recent survey by Gallup, 39% said they believe the theory, 25% said they didn't, and 36% had no opinion.

What can one possibly say about that? Well, 4 of 10 believe in evolution, 1 in 4 don't, and a third are skeptical, dumb or indifferent.

Someone sent this cartoon to the Wall Street Journal discussion of this article and topic.

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