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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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