The two scariest words in the English language? Intelligent Design! That phrase tends to produce a nasty rash and night sweats among our elitist class.
Should some impressionable teenager ever hear those words from a public school teacher, we are led to believe, that student may embrace a secular heresy: that some intelligent force or energy, maybe even a god, rather than Darwinian blind chance, has been responsible for the gazillions of magnificently designed life forms that populate our privileged planet.
You don’t have to be a liberal to be spooked. Two of our nation’s most illustrious conservative elitists—Charles Krauthammer and George Will—have become terrified by the doubts about Darwinism. Krauthammer’s argument boils down to this: ID is just a “tarted up version of creationism”—and such a “religious” view has no business entering a classroom dealing with a really holy subject such as Darwin. Even if a student is inexorably led by the science to believe that ID is a possibility, according to Krauthammer’s logic, neither the student nor his teacher should be allowed to blurt out something so inappropriate in a biology class.
Will has nothing but scorn for the lower human life forms who think ID should be mentioned, even if just shyly whispered, in a public school setting. When the Kansas State Board of Education decided to allow—but not require—ID discussions in science classes, Will raged that the board “is controlled by the kind of conservatives who make conservatism repulsive to temperate people.” (Are these the words of a “temperate” man?) Those repugnant conservatives had the audacity to proclaim that evolution is not a fact— “But it is,” Will sniffed.
Really? Well, let’s just see if only dimwitted (and repulsive) conservatives think the case for Darwinian theory is weak. Literally hundreds of geneticists, biologists, paleontologists, chemists, mathematicians and other scientists—whose religious views vary from agnostic to evangelical—say the theory is not a fact. Among them: Lev. V. Beloussov and Vladimir L. Voelkov, two prominent Russian biologists from Moscow State University; Dr. Richard Sternberg, an evolutionary biologist at the Smithsonian Institution; and Dr. David Berlinski, a mathematician with post-doctoral training in molecular biology. (Berlinksi’s scholarly article in the February issue of Commentary will prove an unpleasant read for evolutionists.)
The Discovery Institute recently produced a list of over 400 scientists of varying faith and non-faith—including those from such prestigious institutions as Princeton, MIT and Cornell—who signed onto a statement stressing they were “skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life.”
Even many evolutionists, it seems, are uncertain that Darwinian theory is scientific fact. There is the famous story of the late Colin Patterson, who had been a senior paleontologist at the British Natural History Museum and the author of the museum’s general text on evolution. Patterson gave a remarkable lecture in 1981 at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City—all of it nicely retold by Tom Bethell in his book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science (Regnery—a HUMAN EVENTS sister company). A brilliant essayist and scholar, Bethell has been a long-time critic of evolution and, unlike Will, has a science degree from Oxford University.
Patterson informed his audience of mostly expert biologists that he had studied evolution for some 20 years and suddenly realized that “there was not one thing I knew about it. … So either there was something wrong with me, or there was something wrong with evolutionary theory.”
Thus he decided to put this question to various groups of experts: “Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing, any one thing that you think is true? I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural History and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology seminar at the University of Chicago, a very prestigious body of evolutionists, and all I got there was silence for a long time and eventually one person said: ‘I do know one thing—it ought not to be taught in high school.’” Bethell stresses that Patterson “never repudiated” his statements, though he never truly repudiated evolution either.
Irving Kristol is a prominent, brainy, Jewish social critic and the godfather of neoconservatism. He can hardly be accused of being a “literalist” when it comes to the Bible, as evolutionists so frequently try to portray their critics. In a Sept. 30, 1986, article in the New York Times, Kristol observed the following:
Though Darwin’s theory on how man and animals were created “is usually taught as an established scientific fact, it is nothing of the sort. It has too many lacunae. Geological evidence does not provide us with the spectrum of intermediate species we would expect. Moreover, laboratory experiments reveal how close to impossible it is for one species to evolve into another, even allowing for selective breeding and some genetic mutation.” Does anyone have the nerve to suggest Kristol is a close-minded, religious dogmatist as well?
So here’s the crux of the matter: If a theory as shaky as Darwin’s is a mandatory subject in the public schools, why shouldn’t public school teachers be at least allowed, if not compelled, to inform their students that many reputable scientists, although still a distinct minority, believe that something else, including Intelligent Design, is worthy of some consideration?
The Kansas school board that caused poor George Will to unravel did not try to impose a single view of creation on the state’s public school system. The board majority is very unlike the rigid Darwinists in that regard. In November 2005, the board, by a 6-to-4 vote, drafted new scientific standards for education in the high schools. Far from eradicating the study of evolution, these “intemperate” board members made it a requirement, explaining that the new “curriculum standards call for students to learn about the best evidence for modern evolutionary theory …” But the members also called for students “to learn about areas where scientists are raising scientific criticisms of the theory.”
These serious criticisms have now risen to a level where the board majority felt it would be positively remiss if those views weren’t also discussed in the classrooms. Isn’t this as American as apple pie? (Interestingly, Board Chairman Steve Abrams, a veterinarian, informed this writer that he set aside three days of hearings for pro-evolutionist experts, and three days for the skeptics, with each side allowed to cross-examine the other. The pro-evolutionist experts refused to testify and be questioned. The skeptics testified and faced cross-examination.)
What scares the pants off the Darwinians today is that the Bush Supreme Court may validate the Kansas-style scientific standards that have already been embraced by at least four other states. The Darwinians were deliriously happy when the High Court ruled against a Louisiana statute in 1987 requiring the state’s public schools to give “balanced treatment” to “creation science” (sometimes equated with “intelligent design”) and “evolution science.” It amounted to imposing religion, said the court majority. But Antonin Scalia, with Chief Justice William Rehnquist in agreement, said this was nonsense. The evidence, said Scalia, was overwhelming that the law’s framers were not trying to impose religion in the classrooms.
“The act’s reference to ‘creation’ is not convincing evidence of religious purpose,” said Scalia, “because the proponents and witnesses repeatedly stressed that the subject can and should be presented without religious content. We have no basis on the record to conclude that creation science need be anything other than a collection of scientific data supporting the theory that life abruptly appeared on Earth.” (Emphasis added.)
Scalia, in short, blew both Krauthammer’s and Will’s reasoning about the teaching of “creation science” and “intelligent design” out of the water. Kansas and the other states, in truth, have done nothing more odious than attempt to permit a whiff of scientific freedom to enter the classrooms. With the High Court now about to have four justices in the Scalia mode, the Darwinist ideologues, including George Will, have a right to feel insecure.
Regnery Publishing, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company, has been in the forefront of publishing houses that have produced important books questioning evolution. Among Regnery books dealing with the topic: The Theme is Freedom, by M. Stanton Evans; Darwin on Trial, by Phillip E. Johnson; Icons of Evolution, by Jonathan Wells; The Privileged Planet, by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay W. Richards; and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science, by Tom Bethell.