Review of “The Latest Face of Creationism” in Scientific American

Ed Garrett

Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch have a wonderful article in Scientific American for January, titled “The Latest Face of Creationism.” It is wonderful for creationists, however, and not necessarily for the NCSE. We should appreciate such a good Christmas present.

It is full of a wide variety of clichés from the last century, or maybe even the century before last. These include the argument from Darwin’s day that evolution is science, and opposition to it is religion. They pretend that this is a new cutting-edge idea, answering the very latest creationist arguments.

They quote the National Association of Biology Teachers in opposition to the Louisiana Science Education Act, saying that it encouraged the introduction of teaching material produced for the sole purpose of confusing students about the nature of science. At the same time, they admit that the law looks innocent. Their problem with the law is that it specifically targets evolution of humans from nonhuman ancestors for criticism.

They define creationism as “the rejection of a scientific explanation of the history of life…” and with the definition of “science” that they are clearly using, they are no doubt correct.  More about that later.

There is a short account of the legal battles over teaching of creation in the public schools, which is more or less correct, from the standpoint of the ACLU at least. The evolutionists successfully used the courts to keep the majority view from being taught, by confusing evolution of man from monad with science, confusing observed change in species with evolution of man from monad, and equating opposition to evolution with religion.

The Intelligent Design movement unsettled them somewhat, since it abandoned a religious viewpoint and posited an intelligent designer who might not be God; perhaps an alien race from another planet. They met this challenge by asserting that ID was nothing but creationism in disguise, and their friends in the courts of course accepted that argument. The reason for this is that ID allows room for God, even though not specifically mentioned. Naturalistic evolution necessarily allows no room for God to act in the world.

Moving on, our friends claim that opponents of evolution pretend that there is a controversy in science about whether evolution occurred, when there is no such thing. With their definition of “science,” again they are right.

They mention the strategy used in the Arkansas trial that presenting evidence against evolution is proof of creation. So creationists, they assert, are trying to promote creationism by criticizing evolution. Never mind that they admit that the judge in the case did not consider that a meaningful argument; they still resort to it to attempt to prove that criticizing evolution is promotion of religion, and unconstitutional in public schools.

They then go off the deep end. They actually say that “academic freedom” is a catchphrase used to promote creationism. They mention Ben Stein’s “Expelled” movie about academic freedom, but only to say it is riddled with errors that they cannot be bothered to document. Their argument that evolution does not interfere with academic freedom is that the American Association of University Professors promotes academic freedom, and oppose anti evolution laws. They no doubt promote academic freedom by their own definition, somewhat like the NCSE promotes science according to their definition of science.

In short, the argument of Scott and Branch is that evolution of man from monad should be taught as unquestioned dogma, because to teach otherwise is unconstitutional government support of religion. In other words, they actually mean that science is materialist mythology. In their worldview, science is not a method of observation and experiment, but an entity that can give them final information about things that cannot be observed, namely, human origins. They have made science into a pagan god, just as surely as the ancient Pagans carved a god out of the trunk of a tree.

They have made it quite clear that all of this vast evidence for evolution has no meaning whatever in what is really true science, because they are using evolution of man from monad not as a scientific theory, but an assumption which is used to interpret all data. They are defending not science, but their materialist mythology, which is no more likely to be true than the mythology of the gods on Olympus.