Author: David Buckna
Subject: Apologetics
Date: 12/22/2004

Updated: December 22/04

“Darwinian theory is the creation myth of our culture. It’s the officially sponsored, government financed creation myth that the public is supposed to believe in, and that creates the evolutionary scientists as the priesthood…So we have the priesthood of naturalism, which has great cultural authority, and of course has to protect its mystery that gives it that authority–that’s why they’re so vicious towards critics.”
–Phillip Johnson, on the PBS television documentary “In the Beginning: The Creationist Controversy” (May 30-31, 1995)

“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”
–Theodosius Dobzhansky, in The American Biology Teacher, March 1973

“A true scientist would say that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evidence.”
–Jonathan Wells, in “Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth?” (2000)

*

Dr. Desmond Collins (associate professor of zoology at the University of Toronto and curator of invertebrate paleontology at the Royal Ontario Museum) is arguably the world’s leading expert on the Burgess Shale fossils, having conducted digs at the site for several summers.

The Burgess Shale is especially important because so many types of a single marine community were preserved together. The animals appear to have lived at various depths, relative to the sea floor, but were all engulfed in silt. The standard interpretation is that over a long period of time, a series of mudslides led to their unique preservation (“Wonderful Life”, Stephen Jay Gould, pp. 91; 347)

Some of these animals are strikingly different from any known today (eg. Hallucigenia, Anomalocaris) and had highly complex anatomies well-suited to their environment.

As Dr. Collins is one of the leading experts on the Burgess Shale fossils, I asked him the following questions in an August ’97 email:

1. If you were asked to estimate what percentage of total species that have ever lived have been identified (either extant or extinct), what would be your estimate, and what reasoning would you use to arrive at that percentage?  What percentage of orders, phyla, genera, family, etc. would you estimate have been found?

2. Stephen Jay Gould noted that the Burgess Shale fossils turn the cone of increasing species diversity predicted by neo-Darwinian theory virtually upside down. Do you agree with Gould’s assessment of the situation: that the disparity of the phyla precedes the diversity of species? Isn’t this, in fact, backwards from Darwinian predictions?

3. If one were not committed to a purely materialistic explanation of the origin of the phyla as Richard Dawkins is, would natural history be modeled most accurately as a tree or a forest of life?

4. What natural processes have prevented new phyla from evolving from the Burgess species over the past 500 million years? Why haven’t but a small handful of phyla appeared after the Cambrian explosion?

5. Is the common ancestry of the Burgess phyla simply assumed, or might there be natural discontinuities between them? What scientific tests might be conducted to determine whether or not species classified in different phyla shared a common ancestor?

[I did not receive a reply from Dr. Collins.]

Gould wrote “Wonderful Life” to reassure the public that evolution can accommodate such drastic revision, and suggested that many-celled animals, early in their history, were especially prone to develop variety. However, there are no known mechanisms which could produce such a rapid development of complex creatures.

Darwinists believe the Cambrian explosion of new life began about 525-550 million years ago. In Time magazine’s cover story, “Evolution’s Big Bang” by J. Madeleine Nash (December 4, 1995) (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/archive/covers/0,16641,1101951204,00.html) it was reported that John Grotzinger and his team used zircon dating to recalibrate the geological clock, “chopping the Cambrian period to about half its former length”, and “announced that the interval of major evolutionary innovation did not span the entire 30 million years, but rather was concentrated in the first third”. Nash reported this “explosion of biological diversity” occurred “within the span of no more than 10 million years” (p.40).

Stephen Jay Gould reduced this figure even further, and wrote: “…an elegant study, published in 1993, clearly restricts this period of phyletic flowering to a mere five million years.” (Scientific American, October 1994, p. 89).

However, if the Cambrian explosion is now deemed to have occurred within a time frame of no more than 10 million years [Gould was convinced it was “a mere five million years”] then how does Grotzinger (or any other evolutionist for that matter) know with certainty how long the Cambrian period was, or that the Cambrian explosion happened “almost exactly 543 million years ago”? It all depends on the assumptions built into the dating methods used.

For example, all radiometric dating methods assume a) that no decay product was present initially or that initial quantities can be accurately estimated b) that the decay system was closed through the years and c) that the decay rate was constant over time.

One question that needs to be asked is: What conditions could invalidate these assumptions?

As Sam Bowring (one member of Grotzinger’s team) commented in the Time article: “And what I like to ask my biologist friends is, How fast can evolution get before they start feeling uncomfortable?”

I would add: Is it at four million, three million, two million, one million years?

*

One popular biology textbook used in public schools is “Inquiry Into Life” by Sylvia Mader, published by McGraw-Hill Ryerson. On page 529 (eighth edition) are diagrams of giraffes which compare Lamarck’s theory and Darwin’s theory. According to Darwin, “Early giraffes probably had  necks of various lengths. Natural selection due to competition led to survival of the longer-necked giraffes and their offspring. Eventually, only long-necked giraffes survived the competition.”

Regarding giraffes, shouldn’t students be taught to distinguish between fact and speculation? No fossil evidence has ever been unearthed showing giraffes with shorter necks.

Even ardent evolutionists such as Gould have commented on the “indefensible” and “entirely speculative” use of the giraffe to show students how Darwin’s theory is better than Lamarck’s earlier view. “No data from giraffes then existed to support one theory of causes over another, and none exist now, ” said Gould. “…the spotty evidence gives no insight into how the long-necked modern species arose. … The standard story, in fact, is both fatuous and unsupported” (Stephen Jay Gould, May 1996, “The Tallest Tale,” Natural History, Vol. 105 No. 5, pp. 18-23, 54-57).

Critical thinkers should be asking, “Why are these diagrams included in Mader’s book, if the empirical evidence doesn’t support a Lamarckian or Darwinian view of giraffes? Is this good science?”

The claim of evolutionists that there are fossil *ancestors* for giraffes is story telling. There’s not a single transitional form between the so-called short-necked “giraffe” and the modern long-necked giraffe. For example, calling the fossil Palaeotragus a “giraffe” certainly doesn’t make it a “giraffe” or the ancestor of giraffes, any more than calling Hyracotherium a “horse” makes it a “horse” or the ancestor of horses. Of course, evolutionists maintain the okapi is a “living example” of one of these short-necked “giraffes”.

I’ve not read all the literature on giraffes, but what I’ve found in my brief search is that Colbert and Morales (5th edition) devote two paragraphs to giraffes, Robert Carroll — one paragraph, Romer — two paragraphs, and Barbara Stahl — one paragraph.

Concerning the okapi, Stahl writes: “The only other extant giraffe is the rare okapi. This lone form, in which the lengthening of the neck and forelegs is far less pronounced than in Giraffa, seems to be a relic derived with little change from Palaeotragus or a close ally”. She repeats an often-told error–that the forelimbs of the giraffe are longer than the hind limbs. As Gould points out in his article on giraffes (Natural History  May 1990, p. 22) both pairs of legs of the giraffe are equally tall. It would seem that if some ancient “giraffes” evolved into the modern giraffes, evolutionists would have more than a paragraph or two to tell about this incredible transition, and could give examples of fossils showing the transition of the short necks into the long necks of modern giraffes.

It’s certainly easy enough for evolutionists to pick out something and call it a “giraffe” and thus generate an ancestor for giraffes. Carroll illustrates a marvelous example of how other ancestors are generated: He suggested that the wolf-like Mesonychus (which he believes was the terrestrial ancestor of whales) should be placed in the Order Cetacea. Since the Order Cetacea is reserved for whales, presto! Mesonychids are whales!

But with regard to the evolution of giraffes, what is required is a compelling gradual series of intermediate-length neck giraffes in the sedimentary rocks — 10 to 20 would do nicely. But where are they?

*

In the widely-used cell biology textbook, Molecular Biology of the Cell, 3rd edition, by Bruce Alberts et al., the figure of comparative vertebrate development on page 33 is taken from none other than German biologist E. H. Haeckel, the same person who faked his drawings to support the “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” theory.

However, far from distancing themselves from the fraudulent work of Haeckel or acknowledging that it is incorrect, the authors write:
(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?db=Books&rid=cell.section.61)

“In terms of anatomy, furthermore, early developmental stages of animals whose adult forms appear radically different are often surprisingly similar; it takes an expert eye to distinguish, for example, a young chick embryo from a young human embryo (Figure 1-36).”

“…It is presumably for this reason that the embryos of different species so often resemble each other in their early stages and, as they develop, seem sometimes to replay the steps of evolution.”

(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?call=bv.View..ShowSection&rid=cell.figgrp.76)

***
Figure 1-36. Comparison of the embryonic development of a fish, an amphibian, a reptile, a bird, and a selection of mammals. The early stages (above) are very similar; the later stages (below) are more divergent. The earliest stages are drawn roughly to scale; the later stages are not. (From E. Haeckel, Anthropogenie, oder Entwickel-ungsgeschichte des Menschen. Leipzig: Engelmann, 1874. Courtesy of the Bodleian Library, Oxford.)
***

The textbook also mentions Stanley Miller’s 1953 experiment, which used a mixture of methane, ammonia, nitrogen and water vapour to simulate earth’s primitive atmosphere. Isn’t Miller’s experiment now considered irrelevant to origin-of-life studies because many evolutionary scientists now say the primitive atmosphere was probably quite different? The text gives no hint of this, and makes it sound as though Miller’s experiment is the key to chemical evolution.

Are these good examples of how science corrects itself?

*

A November 8/04 news item reported on the fossil discovery by a first-year University of Pittsburgh geology student of a new species of amphibian, a salamander-like creature. (The student, Adam Striegel, had picked up a rock the size of a baseball along a road near Pittsburgh International Airport.)

According to Christopher Beard, curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History: “…we know it belongs to fairly terrestrial adapted amphibians living in the Pennsylvanian Period, about 300 million years ago”.

Critical thinkers should be asking how Beard can be so certain the fossil is really that old.

Evolutionary geologists use rocks to date the fossils, and use fossils to date the rocks. This is a classic case of circular reasoning. J.E. O’Rourke recognizes the problem:

“The rocks do date the fossils, but the fossils date the rocks more accurately. Stratigraphy cannot avoid this kind of reasoning if it insists on using only temporal concepts, because circularity is inherent in the derivation of timescales.” (American Journal of Science, January 1976, p. 53)

So why aren’t transitional fossils leading up to trilobites, sponges, jellyfish, pterosaurs, dinosaurs and countless other creatures found in the fossil record? Most paleontologists would probably cite the “punctuated equilibrium” model of evolution (Eldredge and Gould, 1972) which is unique. It must be the only theory put forth in the history of science which claims to be scientific, but then explains why evidence for it cannot be found.

I thought a good theory was based on evidence, not a lack of evidence.

While on the subject of amphibians, I wonder if Beard could describe even one undisputed example of a creature that was transitional between fish and amphibian.

Phillip Johnson writes in “Darwin on Trial”: “The fossils provide much more discouragement than support for Darwinism when they are examined objectively, but objective examination has rarely been the object of Darwinist paleontology. The Darwinist approach has consistently been to find some supporting fossil evidence, claim it as proof for ‘evolution,’ and then ignore all the difficulties.” (2nd edition 1993, p. 86)

*

The article, “Was Darwin Wrong?”, in the November 2004 issue of National Geographic, is a good example of an evolutionary article. It’s typical of readings given to students studying evolution. Teachers should be encouraged to distribute such articles and three different colored markers to each student, then ask them to mark the verified facts with one color, the opinions with another and the suppositions with another. Students should be taught to weigh the factual evidence, evaluate statements and recognize the writer’s purpose and point of view.

Evolutionists say, “We continually revise our theories and welcome critical examination and evaluation.” They may revise aspects of their theories, but because evolution is so incredibly malleable, no amount of contrary evidence will convince them otherwise. But how much contrary evidence must accumulate before a theory is discarded?

Today evolution survives, not so much as a theory of science, but as a philosophical necessity. Good science is always tentative and self-correcting, but this never really happens in the case of evolution. Regardless of the scientific data, the idea of evolution as a valid concept is not open to debate. Students are allowed to ask “HOW did evolution occur?”, but never “DID evolution occur?”.

Which is a more objective question: “What were the ape-like creatures that led to man?” or ” Did man evolve from ape-like creatures?”

*

On December 3/04 evolutionist Richard Dawkins, [the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science, Oxford University] was interviewed on “NOW with Bill Moyers” (PBS) (http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript349_full.html)

At the conclusion of the interview Dawkins read from his book, “The Devil’s Chaplain”–reading aloud the last paragraph from the letter he originally wrote to his then 10-year-old daughter [Good and Bad Reasons for Believing]:

“What can we do about all of this? It’s not easy for you to do anything because you are only 10. But you could try this. Next time somebody tells you something that sounds important, think to yourself, ‘Is this the kind of thing that people probably know because of evidence or is it the kind of thing that people only believe because of tradition, authority or revelation?’ And next time somebody tells you that something is true, why not say to them, ‘What kind of evidence is there for that?’ And if they can’t give you a good answer, I hope you’ll think very carefully before you believe a word they say. Your loving Daddy.”

Some questions for Richard Dawkins:

1. In your book, “The Devil’s Chaplain”, you write to your then 10-year-old daughter: “And next time somebody tells you that something is true, why not say to them, ‘What kind of evidence is there for that?’

What is the best evidence you can cite for vertical evolution (information-enhancing evolution)? How do you know it’s true?

2. Regarding University of Massachussetts professor Lynn Margulis, Michael Behe writes in “Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution” (1996): “At one of her many public talks she asks the molecular biologists in the audience to name a single, unambiguous example of the formation of a new species by the accumulation of mutations. Her challenge goes unmet.” (Behe, p. 26).

In the years since Margulis first asked the question, can biologists now name a single, unambiguous example of the formation of a new species by the accumulation of mutations? Can you give one example of an evolutionary process or mechanism which can be seen to create new functional information at the genetic level? Can you give one reference for any study that has shown that duplicated genes acquired different functions during an experiment or series of experiments?

3. Are you able to describe the specific evolutionary process that accounted for the complex arrangement of inanimate matter into a life form that grows, metabolizes, reacts to stimuli, and reproduces? (the four criteria for biological life). If ‘yes’, what was the process? If ‘no’, why can’t the process be specifically described?

4. On page one of your book, “The Blind Watchmaker” you write: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose”.

a) If living things look designed–if the empirical evidence suggests purpose–then how do you know they weren’t designed?

b) What is your criteria for “apparent” design?

*

Washington Post reporter Valerie Strauss mentions in her December 7/04 story [“Fresh Challenges in the Old Debate Over Evolution”] that University of Georgia professor of science education David Jackson has taught his students about evolution and the Supreme Court decisions that have said it is unconstitutional to teach creationism as a science.

For example, regarding McLean v Arkansas, 1981, U.S. District Court Judge William Overton ruled in 1982:

“The conclusion that creation science has no scientific merit or educational value as science has legal significance in light of the Court’s previous conclusion that creation science has, as one major effect, the advancement of religion….Since creation science is not science, the conclusion is inescapable that the only real effect of Act 590 is the advancement of religion.”

Eleven years later, Michael Ruse, professor of zoology and philosophy of science at the University of Guelph (Ontario) spoke at the 1993 annual AAAS meeting in Boston. Tom Woodward writes in “Ruse Gives Away the Store”: (http://www.leaderu.com/real/ri9404/ruse.html)

***
Assuring his audience, “I’m no less of an evolutionist now than I ever was,” Ruse nevertheless explained that he had given fresh consideration to Johnson’s thesis that Ruse himself, as “an evolutionist, is metaphysically based at some level just as much as . . . some creationist. . . . I must confess, in the ten years since I . . . appeared in the Creationism Trial in Arkansas . . . I’ve been coming to this kind of position myself.”

Ruse was referring to McLean v. Arkansas, in which Federal Judge William Overton ruled that Arkansas’ “Balanced Treatment Act” was unconstitutional. At the trial, Ruse had testified that creation-science is not science at all. Invoking the fact/faith dichotomy, Ruse claimed that Darwinism was scientific because establishing its validity required no philosophical assumptions. All other views, he claimed, required such assumptions and were therefore unscientific. His testimony became the centerpiece of Judge Overton’s ruling.
***
To read the full transcript of the speech by Ruse, go to: (http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/arn/orpages/or151/mr93tran.htm)

*

In Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed December 14/04 by the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State on behalf of 11 parents, challenges the Dover Area School Board¹s decision requiring biology teachers to present intelligent design as an alternative to evolution.

But even Phillip Johnson disagrees with the board’s decision. From the December 12/04 San Francisco Chronicle: “‘What the Dover board did is not what I’d recommend,’ said Johnson. He thinks it was ill-advised to mandate teaching intelligent design, the idea to which he has dedicated a second career of writing and lecturing.”
David Roach reported in Baptist Press News (December 15/04): (http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?ID=19730)

***
The Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based organization that promotes intelligent design, called the Dover school board “misguided” and advised that the policy should be withdrawn and rewritten.

“While the Dover board is to be commended for trying to teach Darwinian theory in a more open-minded manner, this is the wrong way to go about it,” said John G. West, associate director of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. “Dover’s current policy has a number of problems, not the least of which is its lack of clarity. At one point, it appears to both mandate as well as prohibit the teaching of the scientific theory of intelligent design. The policy’s incoherence raises serious problems from the standpoint of constitutional law.”

West urged school boards to adopt policies permitting the teaching of intelligent design but not requiring it.

“Although we think discussion of intelligent design should not be prohibited, we don¹t think intelligent design should be required in public schools,” he said. “What should be required is full disclosure of the scientific evidence for and against Darwin’s theory.”
***

Then on December 22/04, the York Daily Record reported:

“Despite a Dover Area School District curriculum stating students must be made aware of intelligent design, attorneys representing the district in court Tuesday said the concept will not be taught in biology class next month…’Intelligent design is not going to be taught,’ said Robert Muise, a lawyer with the Thomas More Law Center representing the Dover district in a federal lawsuit filed last week. ‘Creationism is not going to be taught. Religion is not going to be taught.'”

*

Still, I wonder how many students in schools, colleges and universities would say they have the academic freedom to critique evolution in their science classes? Gallup should take state and national polls of high-school and college/university students studying evolution, asking two questions:

In this class: a) is evolution taught as fact or theory? b) do you have the academic freedom to critique evolution?

Dr. David N. Menton is a former Associate Professor of Anatomy, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, now retired. In his September 1995 address (“Evolution: Is a scientific critique possible?”) at the Abbey Arts Centre in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Menton commented:

“What I’m suggesting in the classroom is: not teaching creation. What I’m suggesting you consider in the classroom is: teach evolution the way your Minister of Education says you ought to–teach the curriculum the way they say you ought to. I believe in obeying the laws. I didn’t come here to tell you to get yourself thrown out of a job or anything like that…Do what you’re asked to do.”

“But there isn’t anyone that’s going to stop you from presenting critical evidence against evolution. No one.”

“I eagerly look forward to the first test case in court, where they drag a teacher kicking and screaming into the courts who has done the job they’re supposed to do. They’ve taught evolution–they’ve covered the curriculum–they’ve covered the points in the book–but they also presented scientific evidence that is critical of these evolutionary views–evidence generated by other evolutionists themselves. I’m waiting for the court case when they take that person in the school and say: ‘You have no right presenting scientific evidence from evolutionists critical of evolution.'”

“I’ll tell you–the approach that is being taken here guarantees one thing…you’re guaranteeing this course is going to be boring–you’re going to teach evolution as a ‘Just So Story’. Anyone with dissenting points of view is going to get crushed. They’re either going to go along with the evolutionary paradigm, or be told that they can’t speak out; they’re not going to win that round, and neither will you. You’re going to bore your kids silly.”

And in May 2001, Jonathan Wells (Discovery Institute) presented the lecture, “Promoting Accuracy in Biology Textbooks”, at the British Columbia Science Teachers Association conference in Richmond, British Columbia to a packed audience:

“Promoting Accuracy in Biology Textbooks–Introductory biology textbooks cannot be expected to cover everything, but what they do cover should be presented as accurately as possible. Yet many textbook presentations of the evidence for evolution are seriously deficient. Some common ‘evidences’ were discredited decades ago, while others continue to be presented in distorted or misleading ways. In the interest of educating good scientists and promoting public respect for the scientific enterprise, we need to correct such misrepresentations and bring our biology textbooks more into line with recent discoveries.”

*

The following suggested Origins of Life policy, which first appeared in the Buckna/Laidlaw article, “Should evolution be immune from critical analysis in the science classroom?”(http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=print&ID=411) is a realistic, practical and legal way for local and state school boards to achieve a win-win with regard to evolution teaching. Even the ACLU, the NCSE, and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State should find the policy acceptable:

“As no theory in science is immune from critical examination and evaluation, and recognizing that evolutionary theory is the only approved theory of origins that can be taught in the [province/state] science curriculum: whenever evolutionary theory is taught, students and teachers are encouraged to discuss the scientific information that supports and questions evolution and its underlying assumptions, in order to promote the development of critical thinking skills. This discussion would include only the scientific evidence/informationfor and against evolutionary theory, as it seeks to explain the origin of the universe and the diversity of life on our planet.”

*

I would encourage those interested in the subject of evolution to read “In the Minds of Men: Darwin and the New World Order” by Ian T. Taylor (TFE Publishing, Toronto, Fourth Edition, 1999). This book fills a vital gap by relating the sciences to the humanities, and carefully documents the history of the ideas that are the foundation of the evolutionary worldview, and has become the definitive work in its field.

If science is a search for truth, no scientific theory should be allowed to freeze into dogma, immune from critical examination and evaluation.

For further information:

“Teaching Evolution–Is There a Better Way?” by Ian T. Taylor

“Teaching Origins in Public Schools” by David N. Menton
(http://emporium.turnpike.net/C/cs/teach.htm)

Darwinism: Science or Naturalistic Philosophy?
Phillip Johnson — William Provine
Debate at Stanford University (April 30, 1994)
(http://www.arn.org/docs/guides/stan_gd1.htm)

National Geographic Shoots Itself in the Foot<again!
(http://www.trueorigin.org/ng_ap01.asp)

* David Buckna is the author of the Top Ten list, “Cool Things About Being an Evolutionist” (http://www.nwcreation.net/topten.html) and “Do
Creationists Publish in Notable Refereed Journals?” (http://www.trueorigin.org/creatpub.asp)

Additional info:

(http://www.arn.org/docs/kansas/talkback81699.htm)
CNN Talkback Live
Kansas Deletes Evolution from State Science Test

————————————————————————
Aired August 16, 1999 – 3:00 p.m. ET

[snip]

BATTISTA: Mr. Johnson, what is your objection to evolution being taught in the public schools?

PHILLIP JOHNSON, AUTHOR, “DARWIN ON TRIAL”: I think we should teach a lot about evolution. In fact, I think we should teach more than the evolutionary science teachers want the students to know. The problem is what we’re getting is a philosophy that’s claimed to be scientific fact, a lot of distortion in the textbooks, and all the difficult problems left out, because they don’t want people to ask tough questions.

This is indoctrination not genuine science education, which should teach people to raise those tough questions and to look at the philosophy and separate the philosophical claims from the real facts. That’s the kind of education we need, and there’s a public protest that is going on that wants to get that kind of education.

BATTISTA: You know what? Could you be a little bit more specific for us, because you’re speaking very generally?

JOHNSON: Sure, I’ll be very specific. There is a claim being made as fact that science has discovered a mechanism which has been tested and can be shown capable of creating the enormously complex things that we call living organisms. The evidence is, in fact, totally inadequate for that. It’s basically a philosophical claim, and if people think that that goes way beyond the available evidence, in my opinion they’re right to think so. And in any case, they ought to be able to challenge it. So this is really a growing public protest against dogmatism and the imposition of a naturalistic philosophy in the name of science education.

BATTISTA: So is your goal then not to have education taught in the public schools and to have creationism taught instead?

JOHNSON: No, as I said, my goal is to teach a lot more about the controversy and why the subject is controversial and why so many people having growing doubts. Instead, what we’re getting is this is the official line. Believe it. You’re just supposed to just accept it because we say it’s true. And that’s not the real science education.

Discovery Institute calls new policy “improved”
Associate Director says “Students are real winners here.”
By STAFF DISCOVERY INSTITUTE

After weeks of public debate, by a vote of 6-1, the school board of Grantsburg, Wisconsin adopted a revised policy on the teaching of evolution at a special meeting on December 6, which states that “Students shall be able to explain the scientific strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theory.”

The new policy makes clear that the school board is not authorizing the teaching of either creationism or the scientific theory of intelligent design.

“Students are the real winners here, because now they will be able to study all the relevant scientific evidence relating to evolutionary theory, not just a skewed selection of the evidence,² said Dr. John West, Associate Director of Discovery Institute¹s Center for Science and Culture.”

“This revised policy eliminates any ambiguity in earlier versions and makes clear that the new policy is focused on science, not religion,” added attorney Seth Cooper, also with Discovery Institute.

The Center for Science and Culture is the nation¹s leading think-tank supporting teaching students more about evolution, including peer-reviewed scientific criticisms of the theory.

The full text of the policy adopted by the school board in Grantsburg reads: “Students are expected to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information. Students shall be able to explain the scientific strengths and weaknesses of evolutionary theory. This policy does not call for the teaching of Creationism or Intelligent Design.”

The adoption of the Grantsburg policy follows a number of similar actions in other states earlier in 2004. In March, the Ohio State Board of Education adopted a statewide model lesson plan on the “critical analysis of evolution.” In May, the Minnesota legislature enacted a science standard requiring students to be able “to explain how scientific and technological innovations as well as new evidence can challenge portions of or entire accepted theories and models including … [the] theory of evolution …” Cooper noted that there are now hundreds of scientists who are raising concerns of modern evolutionary theory, also known as “neo-Darwinism.” “If scientists can debate neo-Darwinism on scientific grounds,” he asked, “what’s wrong with students learning about some of these debates in a biology class?”

About Discovery Institute
Discovery Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan, public-policy, think tank which promotes ideas in the common sense tradition of representative government, the free market and individual liberty. Current projects include technology, the economy, science and culture, regional transportation, and the bi-national region of “Cascadia.” http://www.discovery.org/.