The Kansas State Board of Education is holding hearings this week on whether to teach both strengths and weaknsses of conventional evolutionary theory in the Kansas high school biology curriculum. Currently, only strengths of evolution are being taught. (For up to date news on what’s happening there, go to www.evolutionnews.org).
The hearings were intended to allow both evolutionists as well as critics of evolution to have their say, but the evolutionists decided to boycott the event, so only the critics of evolution are having their say. But there’s an added twist: given the way the hearings are set up, an evolutionist lawyer (Pedro Irigonegaray) gets to interrogate the evolution critics and an evolution critic lawyer (John Calvert) gets to interrogate the evolutionists. Yet given that the evolutionists are boycotting the event, only the evolution critics are being interrogated.
There is thus a reversal as well as a strange parallel with the original Scopes Trial. In the original Scopes Trial, the Tennessee law was against evolution whereas in Kansas and throughout the U.S., the law gives evolution a privileged position in high school biology instruction. That’s the reversal.
The strange parallel is this: In the Scopes Trial, Clarence Darrow (cf. Pedro Irigonegaray) got to interrogate the evolution critics, but William Jennings Bryan (cf. John Calvert) did not get to interrogate the evolutionists. Interestingly, in the original Scopes trial, William Jennings Bryan agreed to be interrogated by Clarence Darrow only if Bryan could in turn interrogate Darrow on Darrow’s views of evolution. Darrow agreed, but then right after interrogating Bryan directed the judge to find Scopes guilty, thereby closing the evidence and thus preventing Bryan from interrogating Darrow (for the details about this shabby ploy, see Edward Sisson’s essay in my book Uncommon Dissent).
Thus, in a crucial way, the Kansas hearings repeat the pattern set by the Scopes Trial, which has been repeated many times since, namely, evolutionists escaped critical scrutiny by not having to undergo cross-examination, in this case by boycotting the hearings.
I’m waiting for the day when the hearings are not voluntary but involve subpoenas in which evolutionists are deposed at length on their views. On that happy day, I can assure you they won’t come off looking well.