political science

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 04, 2008

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has produced a new text warning against the terrible danger that someone, somewhere, might not entirely accept evolutionary theory.

Scientific understanding of evolution is "so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter it," according to Science, Evolution, and Creationism. The 89-page report claims that science teachers are "under considerable pressure" to incorporate some discussion of Intelligent Design or Creationism into science classes. That's terrible, the NAS says, because-- well, because science teachers should only come under pressure to teach evolution.

Evolution, you see, is "the foundation of modern biology." That means, presumably, that if you don't believe in evolution you can't possibly pursue the study of biology. Or at least you can't expect the NAS to support you in that study.

Some scientists question the rigid evolutionary orthodoxy proposed by the NAS and its allies. Science, Evolution, and Creationism has a simple response to them: Shut up. "No scientific evidence supports those viewpoints," the NAS study claims, in one of its many astonishing, sweeping, and utterly unscientific passages.

Can you imagine Albert Einstein saying that no new evidence was likely to alter the understanding of Relativity? No, because Einstein understood that a) his theory was incomplete, and b) all scientific theories change, over time, with the emergence of new evidence. Or perhaps it would be simpler to say that Einstein wanted new evidence to emerge, whereas the authors of this study want to slam the books closed.

If you actually want to examine the case against evolution, the Discovery Institute can provide plenty of thought-provoking material. But the NAS report is not intended to stimulate scientific discussion. Quite the contrary, this report is intended to choke off discussion-- to convince educators that they risk ridicule (and maybe worse) if they allow their students to question the reigning orthodoxy.

If you honestly believe in the scientific method, you should be prepared to match your evidence against the evidence supplied by your academic rivals, and see whose theory is more persuasive. If the fittest always survive, it's surprising that the devout apostles of evolutionary theory aren't willing to risk the competition.

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  • Posted by: - Jan. 07, 2008 3:54 PM ET USA

    Olorin,There's a crusade against this scientific theory for good reasons.1) evolution is bad science and has many holes.If it's needs to be corrected to be good science.2)Religion acknowledges the worth and legitimacy of other disciplines like philosophy, history, and science.Modern science arrogantly excludes any other way of knowing except it's own.And in doing such it stunts it's own growth.3)Darwinian evolution taken in entirety legitimizes acts such as rape and ethnic cleansing.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 06, 2008 5:41 PM ET USA

    Gil's comment is right on target. Take a look at how Dinesh D'Souza handled this subject in his brilliant new book What's So Great About Christianity. He accepts the theory of evolution but rejects Darwinism. I've had university colleagues who were Darwinian fundamentalists, and I'll tell you that the dogma they espouse has more to do with politics than science.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 06, 2008 12:23 PM ET USA

    About "Islamic science" in the 10th century: Up to the 10th century, the majority of Arab population in Syria (including Lebanon & Palestine), Iraq & Egypt were Christians.The Arabs did contribute to progress in philosophy & science, but this was due in the first place to Siriac & Arab Christians who introduced Hellenism in the Arab/Islamic world,and promoted this culture for centuries.The problem, then like today, is doing away with the Christian leaven.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 05, 2008 4:09 PM ET USA

    Why is religion leading efforts against a scientific theory? What scientists object to is faith-based scientific theories. When there is some actual scientific evidence of design or special creation, bring it around. Otherwise, quit trying to cut in line. You might notice what happened to Islamic science when the mullahs began interfering with it. In the tenth century, Baghdad was the scientific capital of the world. Laughable? Keep up your efforts.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 05, 2008 3:52 PM ET USA

    My hypothesis is that politics, in the broadest sense, has become so pervasive that it has corrupted even science. Everybody has to be politically correct, or perish. Belief in evolution is one example. An even more egregious one is belief in man-caused global warming. There's much less evidence for that than for evolution. But the "scientists" have voted, and if you disagree with them, you're in the same boat as those who disagreed with Stalin, Castro or Mao.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 05, 2008 10:16 AM ET USA

    Now, just so I understand: the Theory of Evolution is equivalent to the Law of Evolution? I guess my hypothesis is that definitions in the process of Scientific Inquiry have become irrelevant - or is that my law?

  • Posted by: - Jan. 04, 2008 9:51 PM ET USA

    If you studied the Krebs cycle in college biology, you realize that each of the several steps of the cycle 1) needs one or more complex enzymes, each with a specific stereochemistry 2) produces a chemical, and that all but one of these chemicals is toxic to the cell 3) would have had to evolve all at once or it wouldn't work. And there's no element of design in the system!

  • Posted by: - Jan. 04, 2008 6:21 PM ET USA

    You can certainly understand their worry. I mean, to indulge in a bit of Orwell, while they may be the fittest, some throw a bigger fit than others. It is like so much from progressive thinking (sic) in that it harks back to a rigid orthodoxy that would make Marx, Lenin and Mao green with envy.