In Understanding evolution is crucial to debate Sally Lehrman of the Boston Globe writes:
intelligent design proponents claim that schools should do a better job of explaining evolution. They may very well be right.
Unfortunately, this was the only good line in an otherwise horrible piece of biased tabloid style editorializing by Lehrman, who appears to have gladly become a part of the propaganda machine of the National Center for Selling Evolution (NCSE).
She is indeed correct to say the ID proponents are right. ID proponents are advocating that Darwin’s theory be taught in the way that Charles Darwin would have wanted his theory be taught. It was Darwin who said:
A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question
To that end, a book consistent with Darwin’s wishes, Explore Evolution, was written and promoted by several individuals affiliated with one of the nation’s top-rated think tanks, The Discovery Institute.
Explore Evolution states:
This book is one of the first textbooks ever to use the inquiry-based approach to teach modern evolutionary theory. It does so by examining the current evidence and arguments for and against the key ideas of modern Darwinian theory. We hope examining the evidence and arguments in this book will give you a deeper understanding of the theory and help you to evaluate its current status.
In contrast, this is Lehrman version of the story:
As evolutionary science accelerates, however, antievolutionists are pushing back — and exploiting the questions that recent discoveries have raised. A new high-school textbook from the Discovery Institute, “Explore Evolution,” claims to teach students critical thinking but instead uses pseudoscience to attack Darwin’s theories. The National Center for Science Education, which tracks trends in schools, has compiled a frightening list of bills and local proposals intended to open the door for creationist teaching in science education. In a survey published in Science magazine last year, 39 percent of American adults flat-out rejected the concept of evolution.
Frightening, relative to whom? Frightening relative to the dwindling readership of the Boston Globe? Lehrman falsely accuses the book of teaching pseudo science. She fails to mention Explore Evolution was co-authored by one of the nation’s leading scientists in his field of specialty, Scott Minnich. And co-author Ralph Seelke is another respected scientist who has had his worked published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Bacteriology, and Molecular and General Genetics. It is clear rather than objective reporting, Lehrman has reduced herself and her newspaper to being a propaganda arm for the NCSE and its allies.
Lehrman further misreports:
Darwin’s brilliant [sic] theory, a powerful [sic] and central [sic] concept in biology, offers a path toward understanding everything else: the history of our universe, the world we inhabit, and ourselves.
[note: Lehrman misspells ill-conceived, baseless, and irrelevant. I marked her misspellings with sic.]
Lehrman here is acting like a used-car salesman. She might do well to be cognizant of the words of the chief spokesman for evolutionary theory, Jerry “Herman Munster” Coyne. Herman, I mean, Jerry said here,
In scienceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics.
Lehrman gets a few facts right:
Last year, the American Association for the Advancement of Science asked teachers about their top concerns in teaching evolution. Most confessed that they didn’t feel confident about their knowledge.
One remedy is that these ill-equipped teachers read Explore Evolution or watch videos like and Icons of Evolution. Although it would be premature for them to teach ID in the class, for their own edification and scientific understanding they would do well to watch Unlocking the Mystery of Life or read Michael Behe’s books. Some of us managed to get Unlocking into the hands of every biology teacher in one public school. They won’t be able to show it in class, but hopefully it will prick their conscience. Hopefully they might have a little more reservation and caution before they feed their students the standard NCSE propaganda line which Lehrman recites like the pledge of allegiance:
Darwin’s brilliant theory, a powerful and central concept in biology, offers a path toward understanding everything else: the history of our universe, the world we inhabit, and ourselves.
[HT William Dembski for alerting me to this article and encouraging me to post on it]