Countering anti-intellectualism

Fang-Face writes "There is an article at the First Amendment Center about
a free speech law suit to counter anti-intellectualism. It also contains an examination of the ultra-conservative hysteria over the presence of evolution in high school curricula.

At least one board member dismissed the lawsuit as "frivolous" and "stupid" and said the book, Environmental Science: Creating a Sustainable Future, was rejected because it contained factual errors.


Chiras argued that board members rejected the book solely because of protests by conservative groups that labeled it anti-Christian, anti-free enterprise and anti-American. Chiras denied the claims. He said that though the book does argue that America is not on a sustainable environmental course, it provides a healthy debate on issues from real estate development to nuclear energy

This is typical of the ultra-conservative hysterics who are unable to see beyond the very narrow confines of their religious prejudices. Since they cannot refute the information presented they attempt to discredit it instead.

Texas will also be under the microscope next week in a fight over teaching evolution in public schools as the State Board of Education votes on adopting biology textbooks that have been at the center of the debate.

For those not aware of it, the state of Texas pretty much sets the standard, or lack thereof, for what goes into high school textbooks for a large proportion of the U.S., which is probably why the anti-intellectual movement is so strong there, and particularly the biblical literalists."


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Free Speech vs. the Truth

I have never understood how an educational curriculum could be a free speech issue, nor how "community standards" could possibly be relevant in determining what a curriculum is. Truth is truth, and no amount of legislation or hiding behind misinterpreations of the First Amendment will ever make evolution untrue or any less valid.

What scares me the most about these Biblical ultra-literalists (aside from their terrifying misinterpretations of the Bible) is that they have no understanding of nor concern for the harm that they are doing to their children. Even if they have their way and get evolution wiped out of their school's curriculum, they won't manage it at the University level; and the students who graduate from the injured high schools will have to compete against University students who had the advantage of being taught real science and real knowledge in their high schools.

Re:Free Speech vs. the Truth

Another problem is how far ranging the issue of evolution can be. It isn't just a subject in basic biology textbooks, but some biochemistry textbooks also cover the topic in dealing with the development of proteins from primordial soup, and the development of early life forms from prokaryote to eukaryote. If a group wanted to strictly enforce a ban on teaching evolution, biochemistry textbooks would be forbidden to explore the development of biochemical processes and only teach how they happen today; not how they came about.

Not Only Biology

Geology and Earth Science are often accacked because they do not include the flood and date the age of the Earth different from that computer from the Bible.Astronomy is also attacked on the same grounds, the universe is seen as too old. The big bang is seen as unchristian.Anything dealing with the environmnet is seen as playing into the hands of the tree-huggers and unamerican.Pretty much all science is under attack by the forces of ignorance.These people give religion a bad name. There are some religous people who see in creation something other than an attack on their beliefs. However, they have no voice. Teilhard de Chardin and Madaline L'Engle will not be found at the "christian" bookshop. Make sure they are at least in the library.

Re:Free Speech vs. the Truth

Well, wait a minute.Yes, it is scary to think of educated people who won't get science because they have no exposure to the dominant theories underlying almost all current scientific thought.BUT, the response that truth is truth gets messy. Creation myths aim for truth (the way that great literature is "true") but not accuracy. Science aims for accuracy not truth. (If the theory accounts for what we see happening, it is a good theory, but everyone knows it will have to change eventually).Certainly when you talk about writings on a topic, and perhaps especially with textbooks, you can't talk about truth. The whole truth never fits, and what gets left out depends on the bias, agenda, perspective, whatever, of the author and publisher.You could have a 'true' and 'factually accurate' history of the US that makes no mention of women and minorities. (Another complaint that comes up is that white men are underrepresented in history texts.) If truth is truth, than that textbook should be just fine.The Texans are right: Textbooks do carry an agenda. It would be impossible for them not to. They just want to make sure the texts match their agenda. And their agenda happens to be scary.

Who's Anti-Intellectual Here???

As another who supports the intellectual pursuit of scientific discovery, I would think that teaching both sides of Darwin's theory would be the "intellectual" thing to do. (See Hegel)

Obviously the overwhelming majority of Texans, (comprising many ethnic, socioeconomic, religious and educational backgrounds as shown in this sample) rather than a parochial group of "ultra-conservative hysterics", believe Darwin's theory should be taught as such. A "theory".

This sounds more like good science than hysteria to me.

"New Poll Shows Overwhelming Majority of Texans Favor Teaching Both Strengths and Weaknesses of Darwin's Theory of Evolution"

Copyright 2003 PR Newswire Association, Inc.
PR Newswire

September 8, 2003, Monday

By nearly a five-to-one margin, 75% of Texas residents say the state board of education should approve biology textbooks that teach both Darwin's theory of evolution and the scientific evidence against it, according to a statewide poll released today by Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based public policy think-tank.

(Zogby International conducted telephone interviews of 601 adults chosen at random in Texas. All calls were made from Monday, August 25 to Wednesday, August 27, 2003. The margin of error is +/- 4.1%. )

Pollsters presented respondents with the following:

Which of the following two statements comes closer to your own opinion?

A: The state board of education should approve biology textbooks that teach only Darwin's theory of evolution and the scientific evidence that supports it.

B: The state board of education should approve biology textbooks that teach Darwin's theory of evolution, but also the scientific evidence against it.

Seventy-five percent answered that they agreed with statement B. Strong support was shown in every region of the state and across all ethnic and age groups.

Re:Who's Anti-Intellectual Here???

As another who supports the intellectual pursuit of scientific discovery, I would think that teaching both sides of Darwin's theory would be the "intellectual" thing to do.

If by "both" sides you mean creationism that is an egregious misapprehension. Creationism and intelligent design are not science in any way, shape, or form. They are religion. And while religion and science are not in diametric opposition, they are mutually exclusive due to being about mutually exclusive fields of study. Science is about the physical, religion is about the metaphysical. There is no overlap.

Nor is there any evidence against evolution. Scientists -- honest scientists, not those pseudo-scientific nut cases who try to subvert science to their religious prejudices -- do not understand the mechanism by which evolution operates, but they are in agreement that it does operate. Compare this situation to Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Just because the physicists of the day couldn't understand it and didn't like to consider it because it made no sense to them, that did not invalidate the laws of physics.

Seventy-five percent answered that they agreed with statement B.


This fallacy is closely related to the argumentum ad populum. It consists of
asserting that the more people who support or believe a proposition, the more
likely it is that that proposition is correct.

At one time the popular consensus of reality was that the earth was flat, and also the center of the universe. Ask Galileo what he thinks about those schools of thought. And for more information about this anti-intellectual movement, see the viewpoints and reporting of the facts of the situation by Steven Gould or Niles Eldredge or Isaac Asimov.

The demands to teaching anti-intellectual misinformation are not based on science, nor are they simply another aspect of intellectualism. Any allusion to presenting misinformation under the guise of an intellectual pursuit is double think.

Re:Who's Anti-Intellectual Here???

May we "cut out" the Latin business?? Please.

It really means nothing to me other than my contemplation of the moniker "The Adhominator".

Please, leave it be. (See Sanamens recent post)

Regarding your response:

First, I don't recall using the terms "creationism" or "intelligent design" in my post. That was your "logic" trying to assign meaning to my post. ( I believe this is called "ipso facto" and is generally regarded as a philosophical faux pas)

My point is simple. Darwin's theory is a theory. A theory does not preclude any possibility for scientific refutation. (Surely your quoted Bohr, and his debate with Einstein re quantum mechanics should serve to illustrate the nature of a theory)

You state >> Creationism and intelligent design are not science in any way, shape, or form. They are religion.

According to this "logic" we should chuck the "Origins of Species" in the heap with the Vedas, Bible, Torah, etc.. See Church of Scientific Humanism.

>>Scientists -- honest scientists, not those pseudo-scientific nut cases who try to subvert science to their religious prejudicices.

Certainly you are not calling the following folks who believe in God "pseudo nut cases" (ad hominem???)

It's ironic you mention Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Does the quote, "Before God we are all equally wise - and equally foolish" ring any scientfic bells?

"Nut case" quotes:

  • We account the Scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever.'' Isaac Newton

  • The current scenario of the origin of life is about as likely as the assemblage of a 747 by a tornado whirling through a junkyard.'' Sir Fred Hoyle, The Intelligent Universe
  • Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it only because the only alternative is special creation and that is unthinkable.'' Sir Arthur Keith, a famous British evolutionist
  • If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.'' --Charles Darwin The Origin of Species
  • There are two books laid before us to study, to prevent our falling into error; first, the volume of the Scriptures, which reveal the will of God; then the volume of the Creatures, which express His power.'' Francis Bacon
  • Don't impose a "self-censorship" with respect to your unfailing devotion to Darwin's theory. Some may consider this to be "Darwinist Fundamentalism"

    A Few Suggested Published Scientific Readings:

  • Darwin's Blind Spot: Evolution beyond Natural Selection by Frank Ryan, 2003.
  • Darwin's God by Cornelius G. Hunter, 2001.
  • "Evolutionary Biology; Theory challenges Darwin doctrine of common descent" Genomics & Genetics Weekly. Atlanta: Jul 19, 2002. pg. 5"
  • "Creationism, Evolutionism and Anthropology" Ellen, Roy, Anthropology Today; Oct2002, Vol. 18 Issue 5, p3, 6p
  • "The hand of God." New Scientist; 9/28/2002, Vol. 175 Issue 2362, p3, 1p
  • "Darwin's naturalization hypothesis challenged.."Nature; 6/6/2002, Vol. 417 Issue 6889, p608, 2p
  • "The Challenge of Irreducible Complexity." Behe, Michael J. Natural History; Apr2002, Vol. 111 Issue 3, p74, 1p
  • "Science vs. Darwin" D'Agostino, Joseph A. Human Events; 06/02/2000, Vol. 56 Issue 20, p14, 1/2p
  • Do we need species concepts? Kerry L Shaw. Science. Washington: Feb 15, 2002. Vol. 295, Iss. 5558; pg. 1238, 2 pgs
  • Has Darwin Met His Match? Berlinski, David Commentary; Dec2002, Vol. 114 Issue 5, p31, 11p
  • The Whale's Tale Science News; 11/06/99, Vol. 156 Issue 19, p296, 3p

    Challenges to Darwinism aren't necessarily the rattlings of "religious nut cases".

    Let the kids hear all scientific challenges.

  • Re:Who's Anti-Intellectual Here???

    May we "cut out" the Latin business?? Please.

    No. If you insist on posting such samples of sloppy thinking I will insist on properly defining them as the illogic they are. People have a right to that information; and your request amounts to an attempt to impose a chilling affect. Besides, in light of your request to teach alternative viewpoints so people can make up their own minds, your demand that information be withheld from them so they cannot make an informed choice is a double standard morality. Not a fallacy; just a form of hypocrisy.

    My point is simple. Darwin's theory is a theory.

    Darwin's theory of evolution is a theory, on one level, the way Einstein's Theory of Relativity is a theory. In physics, the term theory should correctly be used to denote not a hypothesis, but a series of metalaws. The only thing that should be in question in Darwin's theory of evolution is his hypothesis of natural selection. Not whether or not evolution happens. Anti-intellectuals don't care about that, of course, and don't think rationally enough to give the idea due consideration any way.

    Certainly you are not calling the following folks who believe in God "pseudo nut cases" (ad hominem???)

    You forgot Fred Hoyle, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking. And no, I am not calling honest scientists religious nut cases, I am referring to "those pseudo-scientific nut cases who try to subvert science to their religious prejudices". You can hardly be in a position to complain about logical fallacies if you are going to quote me out of context while doing so.

    It's ironic you mention Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Does the quote, "Before God we are all equally wise - and equally foolish" ring any scientfic bells?

    Does "Two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity." ring any bells? How about: Two things are certain: There is a God, and you're not him. Try telling that to the nut cases.

    Don't impose a "self-censorship" with respect to your unfailing devotion to Darwin's theory.

    This is a Non Sequitur. Just because I believe in evolution the way I believe in theoretical physics, it does not necessarily follow that I believe slavishly in Darwinism. And I will further point out that anti-intellectual religious nuts do demand a slavish belief in creationism. Rational people recognize the anti-evolution teaching movement as a means to promote that.

    A Few Suggested Published Scientific Readings:

    Published by the Institute for Scientific Creationism, I presume? An "insitute" founded in part to publish pseudo-scientific clap-trap that is so totally unacceptable to peer review journals that papers on "scientific creationism" are subject to automatic rejection. Along with papers about Perpetual Motion Machines.

    Challenges to Darwinism aren't necessarily the rattlings of "religious nut cases".

    No, not necessarily. They are, however, when "those pseudo-scientific nut cases who try to subvert science to their religious prejudices" make those challenges in an effort to promote the supremacy of the bible and religious fanaticism over physical reality.

    Let the kids hear all scientific challenges.

    Absolutely. The key word being: scientific. Not religious. And if you're going to promote pseudo-scientific misinformation, then let's also demand the teaching of the place of Ptolemaic Geocentrism in astronomy, Aristotlean Laws of Motion along with Newton's, the idea that "If God had meant for man to fly we'd be born with wings" along with Bernoulli's Principle and the rest of Flow Dynamics. Oh, and don't forget that teaching creationism is not restricted to evolution alone. We must also demand that it be taught as a feasable cosmology. Then, in the field of economics, we can teach, as an alternative viewpoint, that Barbara Ehrenreich and others who speak out against global capitalism, are unAmerican and godless communists.

    If you want a balanced teaching of evolution then you have teach that evolution exists, just that scientists don't yet understand the process by which it operates. Again: the system of misinformation by the religious nut cases is a matter of censorship and hence in diametric opposition to free speech, and a belief that it equates with a balanced education is double think.

    Re:Who's Anti-Intellectual Here???

    No need to continue this thread. You have answered my question and proven my point.

    "Sloppy thinking" or just plain willful ignorance, your comment below perfectly illustrates your familiarity, or lack therof, of scholarly, scientific literature sources.

    >> Published by the Institute for Scientific Creationism, I presume? ....

    It's a choice for you, it shouldn't be for the kids.

    Re:Who's Anti-Intellectual Here???

    your comment below perfectly illustrates your familiarity, or lack therof, of scholarly, scientific literature sources.

    You're projecting, Tomeboy. ISC is not a scientific institution, it is a pseudo-scientific institution. Part of a religious school, if I recollect. It does not produce scientific literature. Creationism is not scientific because it is not falsifiable; testable by scientific criteria.

    It's a choice for you, it shouldn't be for the kids.

    Ah, yes. The favorite rationale of the totaltarian. Children should have no rights and no choices because they are only children and we "older and wiser" adults should be making all their choices for them. Another non sequitur, as well. Children should make their own choices about what to believe in: natural selection vs: punctuated equilibrium vs: the Gaia Complex. They can even opt for creationism if that's what they want and if it is a creed in their individual religion. They should not be demanded to be believe in it as the only option, however.

    Nice try copping out, by the way, but I'm not going to let you get away with it. Obviously you have no rational rebuttals to any of my arguments and that's why you tried to duck them.

    Re:Who's Anti-Intellectual Here???

    No "ducking" here. Just having fun exposing logical "quackery".

    As for this ITC business, I have no idea what you are talking about. All of my sources are “legit". Nothing cited from vague and sundry web sites such as angelfire. Only "published" material cited in academic databases which are not free on the web. Hence your unfamiliarity.

    Credence is given by challenging the content.

    The issue here is whether there are scientific challenges to Darwin’s theory. The answer is “yes�.That’s it!

    Darwin's Blind Spot
    "For academic and larger public library science collections" (Library Journal, Gregg Sapp, Science Lib., SUNY at Albany)

    Darwin’s God
    "An award-winning volume argues that the theory of evolution was motivated by theological concerns, contending that Darwinism is a mixture of metaphysical dogma and biased scientific observation" (Baker & Taylor)

    "...Still more fascinating is the way Hunter traces similar metaphysical arguments in evolutionary rhetoric from Darwin to the present day, suggesting that theological attitudes from the naive summit of the "modern" era continue to color perceptions of evolution and creation, often to the detriment of both....readers who strongly identify with either side of creation-evolution debates will find grounds for disagreeing with some of Hunter's assertions; but the cogency of his central argument should attract readers of both persuasions" (Publishers Weekly)

    Again, your ignorance of publishers such as the Royal Anthropological Institute and the American Association for the Advancement of Science only serves as more fodder for you public dressing down.

    Every, and I do mean every, journal I listed is indexed in one or more of the following academic databases

  • Biology Abstracts
  • Chem Abstracts
  • Periodical Abstracts
  • General Science Abstracts
  • Applied Science and Technology Abstracts
  • Academic Universe
  • Periodical Abstracts
  • Proquest
  • Wilson Select
  • Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe
  • ERIC

    I can keep pulling these out of my hat all day.

    “Darwin's naturalization hypothesis challenged�
    Nature v. 417 no6889 (June 6 2002) p. 608-9

    “Perspective: Evolutionary developmental biology and the problem of variation�
    Evolution 54, no. 4 (Aug 2000): p. 1079-1091

    Species as family resemblance concepts: the (dis-)solution of the species problem?
    BioEssays; Jun2003, Vol. 25 Issue 6, p596, 7p

    Fertility or sterility? Darwin, Naudin and the problem of experimental hybridity
    Endeavour; Jun2003, Vol. 27 Issue 2, p57, 6p

  • Re:Who's Anti-Intellectual Here???

    The issue here is whether there are scientific challenges to Darwin’s theory. The answer is "yes". That’s it!

    Bullshit. Once again, finding yourself unable to support your assertions, you duck the issues. The issue is whether creationism constitutes a scientific challenge to evolution. The answer is a very flat: No. Moreover, if any of the samples of questioning evolution you cited above deal with the process of evolution rather than whether or not it happens, you have cited nothing at all to support your assertions. To drag you back on topic: Creationism has no place in schools as an alternative viewpoint to evolution.

    Re:Who's Anti-Intellectual Here???

    >>Moreover, if any of the samples of questioning evolution you cited above deal with the process of evolution rather than whether or not it happens, you have cited nothing at all to support your assertions.


    Here's a novel idea. Try reading about which you are criticizing first.

    You may not be so quick to use that word "creationism" that you continue to incorrectly attribute to my posts.

    Give it a rest until you do your homework.

    Re:Who's Anti-Intellectual Here???

    Stephen J. Gould:

    According to the idealized principles of scientific discourse, the arousal of
    dormant issues should reflect fresh data that give renewed life to abandoned
    notions. Those outside the current debate may therefore be excused for
    suspecting that creationists have come up with something new, or that
    evolutionists have generated some serious internal trouble. But nothing has
    changed; the creationists have presented not a single new fact or argument.
    Darrow and Bryan were at least more entertaining than we lesser antagonists
    today. The rise of creationism is politics, pure and simple; it represents one
    issue (and by no means the major concern) of the resurgent evangelical right.
    Arguments that seemed kooky just a decade ago have reentered the mainstream.
    --Stephen J. Gould, Evolution as Fact and Theory, essay from his column and
    reprinted in the anthology Hen's Teeth and Horses Toes, pg 253 (see the
    essay Evolution as Fact and Theory transcribed in toto)

    The basic attack of modern creationists falls apart on two general counts
    before we even reach the supposed factual details of their assault against
    evolution. First, they play upon a vernacular misunderstanding of the word
    "theory" to convey the false impression that we evolutionists are covering up
    the rotten core of our edifice. Second, they misuse a popular philosophy of
    science to argue that they are behaving scientifically in attacking evolution.
    Yet the same philosophy demonstrates that their own belief is not science, and
    that "scientific creationism" is a meaningless and self-contradictory phrase, an
    example of what Orwell called "newspeak." --Stephen J. Gould, Evolution as
    Fact and Theory, essay from his column and reprinted in the anthology Hen's
    Teeth and Horses Toes, pg 253 (see the essay Evolution as Fact and Theory
    transcribed in

    If today you can take a thing like evolution and it make a crime to teach it
    in the public schools, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the
    private schools and next year you can make it a crime to teach it to the
    hustings or in the church. At the next session you may ban books and the
    newspapers. . . . Ignorance and fanaticism are ever busy and need feeding.
    Always feeding and gloating for more. Today it is the public school teachers;
    tomorrow the private. The next day the preachers and lecturers, the magazines,
    the books, the newspapers. After a while, Your Honor, it is the setting of man
    against man and creed against creed with flying banners and beating drums we are
    marching backward to the glorious ages of the sixteenth century when bigots
    lighted faggots to burn the men who dared to bring any intelligence and
    enlightenment and culture to the human mind. --Stephen Jay Gould, A Visit To
    Dayton, an essay from his column and reprinted in the anthology Hen's Teeth and
    Horses Toes, pg 278 [This viewpoint could be dismissed as a slippery slope
    argument, yet, given the trend toward religious extremism that does exist in
    christianity I find it an exposé of a very real threat. --MN]

    The need to distinguish sturdy facts (pervasive pattern) from shaky factual
    claim (single cases with dubious documentation) has never been more evident to
    me than in the current debate between evolutionists and so-called "scientific
    creationists." The fact of evolution is as sturdy as any claim in science. Its
    sturdiness resides in a pervasive pattern detected by several disciplines -- for
    examples, the age of the earth and life as affirmed by astronomy and geology,
    and the pattern of imperfections in organisms that record a history of physical

    Against this pattern, creationists employ a destructive, shotgun approach.
    They present no testable alternative but fire a volley of rhetorical criticism
    in the form of unconnected, shaky factual claims -- a pot pourri (literally, a
    rotten pot, in this case) of nonsense that beguiles many people because it
    masquerades in the guise of fact and trades upon the false prestige of
    supposedly pure observation. --Stephen Jay Gould, Quaggas, Coiled Oysters,
    And Flimsy Fact, an essay from his column and reprinted in the anthology Hen's
    Teeth and Horses Toes, pg 385

    The individual claims are easy enough to refute with a bit of research.
    Creationist themselves have been forced to retreat from the more embarrassing
    items. Noted creationist Henry Morris, for example, has often cited the
    supposed footprints of dinosaurs and humans together in rocks of the Paluxy
    River of Texas. But creationist Leonard Brand attributes some of the "human"
    prints to erosion and others to a three-toed dinosaur. He also adds: "We do
    know that there was a fellow during the Depression who carved tracks."
    --Stephen Jay Gould, Quaggas, Coiled Oysters, And Flimsy Fact, an essay from
    his column and reprinted in the anthology Hen's Teeth and Horses Toes, pg

    False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often
    endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for
    every one takes delight in proving their falseness. --Charles Darwin,
    Descent of Man, and quoted in the anthology Hen's Teeth and Horses Toes by
    Stephen Jay Gould, pg 385

    Evolution as Fact and Theory [First appeared in
    Discover Magazine, May 1981 and reprinted here without permission

    Kirtley Mather, who died last year at age ninety, was a pillar of both science
    and Christian religion in America and one of my dearest friends. The difference
    of a half-century in our ages evaporated before our common interests. The most
    curious thing we shared was a battle we each fought at the same age. For
    Kirtley had gone to Tennessee with Clarence Darrow to testify for evolution at
    the Scopes trial of 1925. When I think that we are enmeshed again in the same
    struggle for one of the best documented, most compelling and
    exciting concepts in
    all of sicence, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

    According to the idealized principles of scientific discourse, the arousal of
    dormant issues should reflect fresh data that give renewed life to abandoned
    notions. Those outside the current debate may therefore be excused for
    suspecting that creationists have come up with something new, or that
    evolutionists have generated some serious internal trouble. But nothing has
    changed; the creationists have presented not a single new fact or argument.
    Darrow and Bryan were at least more entertaining than we lesser antagonists
    today. The rise of creationism is politics, pure and simple; it represents one
    issue (and by no means the major concern) of the resurgent evangelical right.
    Arguments that seemed kooky just a decade ago have reentered the mainstream.

    The basic attack of modern creationists falls apart on two general counts
    before we even reach the supposed factual details of their assault against
    evolution. First, they play upon a vernacular misunderstanding of the word
    "theory" to convey the false impression that we evolutionists are covering up
    the rotten core of our edifice. Second, they misuse a popular philosophy of
    science to argue that they are behaving scientifically in attacking evolution.
    Yet the same philosophy demonstrates that their own belief is not science, and
    that "scientific creationism" is a meaningless and self-contradictory phrase, an
    example of what Orwell called "newspeak."

    In the American vernacular, "theory" often means "imperfect fact" -- part of
    a hierarchy of confidence running downhill from fact to theory to hypothesis to
    guess. Thus, creationists can (and do) argue: evolution is "only" a theory, and
    intense debate now rages about many aspects of the theory. If evolution is less
    than a fact, and scientists can't even make up their minds about the theory,
    then what confidence can we have in it? Indeed, President Reagan echoed this
    argument before an evangelical group in Dallas when he said (in what I devoutly
    hope was campaign rhetoric); "Well, it is a theory. It is a scientific theory
    only, and it has in recent years been challenged in the world of science -- that
    it is not believed to be as infallible as it once was."

    Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and
    theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty.
    Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and
    interpret facts. Facts do not go away while scientists debate rival theories
    for explaining them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but
    apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air pending the outcome. And human
    beings evolved whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some
    other, yet to be discovered.

    Moreover, "fact" does not mean "absolute certainty." The final proofs of
    logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve
    certainty only because they are not about the empirical world.
    Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do
    (and then attack us for a style of argument they themselves favor). In science,
    "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to
    withold provisional assent." I suppose the apples might start to rise tomorrow,
    but the possiblity does not merit equal time in physics classrooms. [1]

    Evolutionists have been clear about this distinction between fact and theory
    from the very beginning if only because we have always acknowledged how far we
    are from understanding the mechanisms (theory) by which evolution (fact)
    occurred. Darwin continually emphasized the difference between his two great
    and separate accomplishiments: establishing the fact of evolution, and proposing
    a theory--natural selection -- to explain the mechanism of evolution. He wrote,
    in Descent of Man: "I had two distinct objects in view; firstly, to show
    that species had not been separately created, and secondly, that natural
    selection had been the chief agent of change . . . Hence if I have erred in . .
    . having exaggerated its [natural selection's] power . . . I have at least, as I
    hope, done good service in aiding to overthrow the dogma of separate creations."

    Thus Darwin acknowledged the provisional nature of natural selection while
    affirming the fact of evolution. The fruitful theoretical debate that Darwin
    initiated has never ceased. From the 1940s throught the 1960s, Darwin's own
    theory of natural selection did achieve a temporary hegemony that it never
    enjoyed in his lifetime. But renewed debate characterizes our decade, and, while
    no biologist questions the importance of natural selection, many now doubt its
    ubiquity. In particular, many evolutionists argue that substantial amounts of
    genetic change may not be subject to natural selection and may spread through
    populations at random. Others are challenging Darwin's linking of natural
    selection with gradual imperceptible change through all intermediary degrees;
    they are arguing that most evolutionary events may occur far more rapidly than
    Darwin envisioned.

    Scientists regard debate on fundamental issues of theory as a sign of
    intellectual health and a source of excitement. Science is -- and how else can
    I say it? -- most fun when it plays with interesting ideas, examines their
    implications, and recognizes that old information may be explained in
    surprisingly new ways. Evolutionary theory is now enjoying this uncommon vigor.
    Yet amidst all this turmoil no biologist has been led to doubt the fact the
    evolution has occurred; we are debating how it happened. We are all
    trying to explain the same thing: the tree of evolutionary descent linking all
    organisms by ties of genealogy. Creationists pervert and caricature this debate
    by conveniently neglecting the common conviction that underlies it, and by
    falsely suggesting that we now doubt the very phenomenon we are struggling to

    Secondly, creationists claim that "the dogma of separate creations," as
    Darwin characterized it a century ago, is a scientific theory meriting equal
    time with evolution in high school biology curricula. But a popular viewpoint
    among philosophers of science belies this creationist argument. Philosopher Karl
    Popper has argued for decades that the primary criterion of science is the
    falsifiability of its theories. We can never prove absolutely, but we can
    falsify. A set of ideas that cannot, in principle, be falsified, is not

    The entire creationist program includes little more than a rhetorical attempt
    to falsify evolution by presenting supposed contradictions among its supporters.
    Their brand of creationism, they claim, is "scientific" because if follows the
    Popperian model in trying to demolish evolution. Yet Popper's argument must
    apply in both directions. One does not become a scientist by the simple act of
    trying to falsify a rival and truly scientific system; one has to present an
    alternative system that also meets Popper's criterion -- it too must be
    falsifiable in principle.

    "Scientific creationism" is a self-contradictory, nonsense phrase precisely
    because it cannot be falsified. I can envision observations and experiments
    that would disprove any evolutionary theory I know, but I cannot imagine what
    potential data could lead creationists to abandon their beliefs. Unbeatable
    systems are dogma, not science. Lest I seem harsh or rhetorical, I quote
    creatism's leading intellectual, Duane Gish, Ph. D., from his recent [1978]
    book, Evolution? The Fossils Say No!  "By creation we mean the
    bringing into being by a supernatural Creator of the basic kinds of plants and
    animals by the process of sudden, or fiat, creation. We do not know how the
    Creator created, what processes He used, for He used processes which are not
    now operating anywhere in the natural universe. [Gish's italics]

    This is why we refer to creation as special cration. We cannot discover by
    scientific investigations anything about the creative processives used by the
    Creator." Pray tell, Dr. Gish, in the light of your last sentence, what, then,
    is "scientific creationism"?

    Our confidence that evolution occurred centers upon three general arguments.
    First, we have abundant, direct, observational evidence of evolution in action,
    from both field and laboratory. This evidence ranges from countless experiments
    on change in nearly everything about fruit flies subjected to artificial
    selection in the laboratory to the famous populations of British moths that
    became black when industial soot darkened the trees upon which the moths rest.
    (Moths gain protection from sharp-sighted bird predators by blending into the
    background.) Creationists have tightened their act. They now argue that God
    only created "basic kinds," and allowed for limited evolutionary meandering
    within them. Thus toy poodles and Great Danes come from the dog kind and moths
    can change color, but nature cannot convert a dog to a cat or a monkey to a man.

    The second and third arguments for evolution -- the case for major changes --
    do not involve direct observation of evolution in action. They rest upon
    inference, but are no less secure for that reason. Major evolutionary change
    requires too much time for direct observation on the scale of recorded human
    history. All historical sciences rest upon inference, and evolution is no
    different from geology, cosmology, or human history in this respect. In
    principle, we cannot observe processes that operated in the past. We must infer
    them from results that still surround us: living and fossil organisms for
    evolution, documents and artifacts for human history, strata and topography for

    The second argument -- that the imperfection of nature reveals evolution --
    strikes many people as ironic, for they feel that evolution should be most
    elegantly displayed in the nearly perfect adaptation expressed by some organisms
    -- the camber of a gull's wing, or butterflies that cannot be seen in ground
    litter because they mimic leaves so precisely. but perfection could be imposed
    by a wise creator or evolutioned by natural selection. Perfection covers the
    tracks of past history. And past history -- the evidence of descent -- is the
    mark of evolution.

    Evolution lies exposed in the imperfections that record a history of
    descent. Why should a rat run, a bat fly, a porpoise swim, and I type this
    essay with structures built of the same bones unless we all inherited them from
    a common ancestor? An engineer, starting from scratch, could design better
    limbs in each case. Why should all the large native mammals of Australia be
    marsupials, unless they descended from a common ancestor isolated on this island
    continent? Marsupials are not "better," or ideally suited for Australia; many
    have been wiped out by placental mammals imported by man from other continents.
    This principle of imperfection extends to all historical sciences. When we
    recognize the etymology of September, October, November, and December (seventh,
    eighth, ninth, tenth), we know that the year once stared in March, or that two
    additonal months must have been added to an original calendar of ten months.

    The third argument is more direct: transitions are often found in the fossil
    record. Preserved transitions are not common -- and should not be, according to
    our understanding of evolution [ref. deleted --MN] -- but they are not entirely
    wanting as creationists often claim. The lower jaw of reptiles contains several
    bones, that of mammals only one. The non-mammalian jawbones are reduced, step
    by step, in mammalian ancestors until they become tiny nubbins located at the
    back of the jaw. The "hammer" and "anvil" bones of the mammalian ear are
    descendants of these nubbins. How could such a transtion be accomplished? the
    creationists ask. Surely a bone is either entirely in the jaw or in the ear.
    Yet paleantologists have discovered two transitional lineages of therapsids (the
    so-called mammal-like reptiles) with a double jaw joint -- one composed of the
    old quadrate and articular bones (soon to become the hammer and anvil), the
    other of the squamosal and dentary bones (as in modern mammals). For that
    matter, what better transitional form could we expect to find than the oldest
    human, Austropithecus afrensis, with its apelike palate, its human
    upright stance, and a cranial capacity larger than any ape's of the same body
    size but a full 1,000 cubic centimeters below ours? If God made each of the
    half-dozen human species discovered in ancient rocks, why did he create in an
    unbroken temporal sequence of progressively more modern features -- increasing
    cranial capacity, reduced face and teeth, larger body size? Did he create to
    mimic evolution and test our faith thereby?

    Faced with these facts of evolution and the philosophical bankruptcy of their
    own position, creationists rely upon distortion and innuendo to buttress their
    rhetorical claim. If I sound sharp or bitter, indeed I am -- for I have become
    a major target of these practices.

    I count myself among the evolutionists who argue for a jerky, or episodic,
    rather than a smoothly gradual, pace of change. In 1972 my colleague Niles
    Eldredge and I developed the theory of punctuated equilibrium. We argued that
    two outstanding facts of the fossil record -- geologically "sudden" origin of
    new species and failure to change thereafter (stasis) -- reflect the predictions
    of evolutionary theory, not the imperfections of the fossil record. In most
    theories, small isolated populations are the source of new species, and the
    proces of speciation takes thousnad or tens of thousnad of years. This amount of
    time, so long when measured against our lives, is a gieological microsecond. It
    represents much less than 1 per cent of the average lifespan for a fossil
    invertebrate species -- more than ten million years. Large, widespread, and
    well established species, on the other hand, are not expected to change very
    much. We believe that the inertia of large populations explains the statis of
    most fossil species over millions of years.

    We proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium largely to provide a
    different explanation for pervasive trends in the fossil record. Trends, we
    argued, cannot be attributed to gradual tarnsformation within lineages, but must
    arise from the differential success of certain kinds of species. A trend, we
    argued, is more like climbing a flight of stairs, (punctuations and stasis) than
    rolling up an inclined plane.

    Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating
    to be quoted again and again by creationists -- whether through design or
    stupidity, I do not know -- as admitting that the fossil record includes no
    transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species
    lievel, but they are abundant between larger groups. Yet a pamphlet entitled
    "Harvard Scientist Agree Evolution Is A Hoax" states: "The facts of punctuated
    equilibrium which Gould and Eldredge . . . are forcing Darwinists to swallow fit
    the picture that Bryan insisted on, and which God has revealed to us in the

    Continuing the distortion, several creationists have equated the theory of
    punctuated equilibrium with a caricature of the beliefs of Richard Goldschmidt,
    a great early geneticist. Goldschmidt argued, in a famous book published in
    1940, that new groups can arise all at once through major mutations. He
    referred to these suddenly transformed creaures as "hopeful monsters." (I am
    attracted to some aspects of the non-caricatured version, but Goldschmidt's
    theory still has nothing to do with punctuated equilibrium -- see essays in
    section 3 [of current volume -MN] and my explicit essay on Goldschmidt in The
    Panda's Thumb.) Creationist Luther Sunderland talks of the "punctuated
    equilibrium hopeful monster theory" and tells his hopeful readers that "it
    amounts to tacit admission that anti-evolutionists are correct in assertng there
    is no fossil evidence supporting the theory that all life is connected to a
    common ancestor." Duane Gish writes, "According to Goldschmidt, and now
    apparently according to Gould, a reptile laid an egg from which the first bird,
    feathers and all, was produced." Any evolutionist who believed such nonsense
    would rightly be laughed off the intellectual stage; yet the only theory that
    could ever envision such a scenario for the origin of birds is creationistism --
    with God acting in the egg.

    I am both angry and amused by the creationists; but mostly I am deeply sad.
    Sad for many reasons. Sad because so many people who respond to creationist
    appeals are troubled for the right reason, but venting their anger at the wrong
    target. It is true that scientists have often been dogmatic and elitist. It is
    true that we have often allowed the white-coated advertising image to represent
    us -- "Scientists say that Brand X cures bunions ten times faster . . ." We
    have not fought it adequately because we derive benefits from appearing as a new
    priesthood. It is also true that faceless and bureaucratic state power intrudes
    more and more into our lives and removes choices that should belong to
    individuals and communities. I can understand that school curricula, imposed
    from above and without local input, might be seen as one more insult on all
    these grounds. But the culprit is not, and cannot be, evolution or any other
    fact of the natural world. Identify and fight your legitimate enemies by all
    means, but we are not among them.

    I am sad because the practical result of this brouhaha will not be expanded
    coverage to include creationism (that would also make me sad), but the reduction
    or excision of evolution from high school curricula. Evolution is one of the
    half dozen "great ideas" developed by science. It speaks to the profound issues
    of genealogy that fascinate all of us -- the "roots" phenomenon writ large.
    Where did we come from? Where did life arise? How did it develop? How are
    organisms related? It forces us to think, ponder, and wonder. Shall we deprive
    millions of this knowledge and once again teach biology as a set of dull and
    unconnected facts, without the thread that weaves divese material into a supple

    But most of all I am saddened by a trend I am just beginning to discern among
    my colleagues. I sense that some of them now wish to mute the healthy debate
    about theory that has brought new life to evolutionary biology. It provides
    grist for creationist's mills, they say, even if only by distortion. Perhaps we
    should lie low and rally around the flag of strict Darwinism, at least for the
    moment -- a kind of old-time religion on our part.

    But we should borrow another metaphor and recognize that we too have to tread
    a straight and narrow path, surrounded by roads to perdition. For if we ever
    begin to suppress our search to understand nature, to quench our own
    intellectual excitement in a misguided effort to present a united front where it
    does not and should not exist, then we are truly lost. --Stephen J. Gould,
    Evolution as Fact and Theory, essay from his column and reprinted in the
    anthology Hen's Teeth and Horses Toes, pp 253-262 [1] Since the writing of
    this essay, advances in the field of Theoretical Physics have developed theories
    that apples might very well begin to rise tomorrow. These ideas do merit equal
    time in the classroom. --MN

    My business is to teach my aspirations to conform theselves to fact, not to
    try and make facts harmonize with my aspirations. [...] Sit down before fact as
    a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly
    wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.
    --Thomas Henry Huxley, quoted in The Panda's Thumb, pg 236

    Great thinkers are never passive before facts. They ask questions of nature;
    they do not follow her humbly. They have hopes and hunches, and they try hard
    to construct the world in their light. Hence, great thinkers also make great
    errors. --Stephen Jay Gould, The Panda's Thumb, pg 236

    Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own
    corrections. You an keep your sterile truth for yourself. --Thomas Henry
    Huxley, quoted in The Panda's Thumb, pg 244

    Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.
    --Thomas Henry Huxley, quoted in The Panda's Thumb, pg 244

    Nothing is more dangerous than a dogmatic worldview -- nothing more
    constraining, more blinding to innovation, more destructive of openness to
    novelty. On the other hand, a fruitful worldview is the greatest shortcut to
    insight, and the finest prod for making connections -- in short, the best
    possible agent for a Peircean Abduction. So much in our material culture is
    both alluring and dangerous at the same time -- try fast cars and high stakes
    poker for starters. Why shouldn't a fundamental issue in our intellectual lives
    possess the same properties? --Stephen J. Gould, Dinosaur In A Haystack, pg

    I do not know that my view is more correct; I do not even think that "right"
    and "wrong" are good categories for assessing complex mental models of external
    reality -- for models in science are judged useful or detrimental, not as true
    or false. --Stephen J. Gould, Dinosaur In A Haystack, pg 96

    I shall not hide my preferences and biases. I helped to devise the theory of
    punctuated equilibrium with Niles Eldrege in 1972. I have cheered from the
    sidelines [...] as catastrophic theories of mass extinction make their comeback
    in the virtual proof now available for extreterrestrial impact as the trigger of
    the Cretaceous-Tertiary dying [...].

    I am not a foe of gradual change; I believe that this style of alteration
    often prevails. But I do think that punctuational change writes nature's
    primary signature -- and I am convinced that our difficulty in conceptualizing
    this style of alteration arises from social and psychological bias rather than
    from any shyness of nature in printing its John Hancock (so conspicuously that
    the king might read it without his spectacles -- though we poor ordinary mortals
    often seem blind, however prominent the signature.) --Stephen J. Gould,
    Dinosaur In A Haystack, pg 135/136

    Objectivity is not an unobtainable emptying of mind, but a willingness to
    abandon a set of preferences -- for or against some view, as Darwin said
    -- when the world seems to work in a contrary way. --Stephen J. Gould,
    Dinosaur In A Haystack, pg 136

    I shall not, either in this forum or anywhere, resolve the age-old riddle of
    epistomology: How can we "know" the "realities" of nature? I will, rather,
    simply end by restating a point well recognized by philosophers and
    self-critical scientists, but all too often disregarded at our peril. Science
    does progress toward more adequate understanding of the empirical world, but no
    pristine, objective reality lies "out there" for us to capture as our
    technologies improve and our concepts mature. The human mind is both an amazing
    instrument and a fierce impediment -- and the mind must be interposed between
    observation and understanding. --Stephen J. Gould, Dinosaur In A Haystack,
    pg 214

    One cannot always be right in our complex world; no dishonor attends an
    incorrect choice among plausible outcomes drawn from a properly constructed
    argument. --Stephen J. Gould, Dinosaur In A Haystack, pg 299

    Our creationist detractors charge that evolution is an unproven and
    unprovable charade -- a secular religion masquerading as science. They claim,
    above all, that evolution generates no predictions, never exposes itself to
    test, and therefore stands as dogma rather than as disprovable science. This
    claim is nonsense. We make and test risky predictions all the time; our success
    is not dogma, but a highly probable indication of evolution's basic truth. As
    in any historical science, mst predictions refer to an unknown past (technically
    called "postdictions" in the jargon). For example, every time I collect fossils
    in Paleozoic rocks [...], I predict that I will not find fossil mammals -- for
    mammals evolved in the subsequent Triassic period (while young-earth
    creationists, claiming that God made life in six days of twenty-four hours,
    should expect to encounter mammals in all strata). If I find fossil mammals,
    particularly such late-evolving creatures as cows, cats, elephants, and humans,
    in Paleozoic strata, our evolutionary goose is cooked. --Stephen J. Gould,
    Dinosaur In A Haystack, pg 345

    Since creationist-bashing is a noble and necessary pursuit these days,
    readers may wonder why I am praising such an invocation of God's power to create
    immutable entities all at once -- especially since Linnaeus substituted this
    idea for earlier notions of looser definition and mutability. But, as I argued
    above, the history of science progresses in such a manner -- from theory to
    theory along a complex surface with a slant toward greater empirical adequacy,
    not along a straight and narrow path pushed by a gathering snowball of factual
    accumulation. The conceptual change was surely enormous, but Darwin's
    invocation of natural selection in steps as a replacement for God all at once
    did not require any major overhaul in practice. Species are real whether
    created by God or constructed by natural selection -- and Darwin's conceptual
    shift, the second unmasking, required little revision in Linnaean methods.
    --Stephen J. Gould, Dinosaur In A Haystack, pg 423

    Niles Eldredge:

    Thus, the central importance of creationism today is its political nature.
    Creationists travel all over the United States, visiting college campuses and
    staging "debates" with biologists, geologists, and anthropologists. The
    creationists nearly always win. The audience is frequently loaded with the
    already converted and the faithful. And scientists, until recently, have been
    showing up at the debates ill-prepared for what awaits them. Thinking the
    creationists are uneducated, Bible-thumping clods, they are soon routed by a
    steady onslaught of direct attacks on a wide variety of scientific topics. No
    scientist has an expert's grasp of all the relevant points of astronomy,
    physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and anthropology. Creationists today -- at
    least the majority of their spokesmen -- are highly educated, intelligent
    people. Skilled debaters, they have always done their homework. And they
    nearly always seem better informed than their opponents, who are reduced too
    often to a bewildering state of incoherence. As will be all too evident when we
    examine the creationist position in detail, their arguments are devoid of any
    real intellectual content. Creationists win debates because of their canny
    stage presence, and not through clarity of logic or force of evidence. The
    debates are shows rather than serious considerations of evolution. --Niles
    Eldrege, Monkey Business, pg 17/18

    It is the nature of things that nothing in science can possibly be the last
    word. We are truth seekers, yes, but no one has yet invented a way of
    determining what the truth is when we have it. We merely stick to ideas as long
    as they seem to work. It is a mild understatement, at the very least, to point
    out that creationists don't feel this way about their ideas. Scratch a
    creationist and you find someone who knows in his bones he has the truth.
    --Niles Eldredge, The Monkey Business, pg 78

    . . . creation-science isn't science at all, nor have creationist scientists
    managed to come up with even a single intellectually compelling, scientifically
    testable statement about the natural world. At least ninety-five percent af all
    of their reams of privately published books and pamphlets are devoted to an
    attack on conventional science -- the prevailing ideas of astronomy, geology,
    biology, and anthropology. creationists acknowledge that their "science"
    consists mostly of such attacks; creation-science has precious few ideas of its
    own, positive ideas that stand on their own, independent of and opposed
    to, counter opinions of normal science. --Niles Eldredge, The Monkey
    Business, pg 80

    Modern creationists readily accept small-scale evolutionary change and
    the origin of new species from old: "Of course, if someone insists on defining
    evolution as 'a change in gene frequency,' then the fly example 'proves
    evolution.' But it also 'proves creation,' since varying the amounts of already
    existing genes is what creation is all about" (Parker, Creation: The Facts of
    Life, p. 83) By the "fly example," Parker meant a case posed to him by an
    unnamed biologist, where reproductive isolation between populations of a single
    ancestral species had resulted in the appearance of several new species -- an
    even more radical case of evolution than the shifting frequencies in the
    coloration of the British moths.

    Biologists are understandably amazed by such statements. Can creationists
    actually admit that evolution occurs and still stick to their guns and
    deny that evolution has produced the great diversity of life? In a word
    -- Yes! This is precisely what they do. --Niles Eldredge, The Monkey
    Business, pg 114

    Skipping back 1.5 million years or so, we find the Australopithecines, whose
    name means (as creationists fondly point out), "southern ape" -- and
    automatically in the creationist book, a form of ape, and no member of the human
    lineage. Assessing zoological relationships on such etymological grounds is
    rather dubious, to say the least--but the creationists' "it looks like an ape so
    we call it an ape" judgement greatly insults these remote ancestors and
    collateral kin of ours. Their brains were advanced both in size and complexity
    relative to apes' brains. They had upright posture, a bipedal gait, and some of
    them, at least, fashioned tools in a distinctive style. No apes these -- but
    primitive hominids looking and acting just about the way you would expect them
    to so soon after our lineage split off from the line that became the modern
    great apes.

    But it is the fossils of the middle 1.5 million years that I just skipped
    over that make creationists writhe. Here we have Homo erectus, first
    known to the world as Pithecantropus erectus ("erect ape man" -- based on
    specimens from Java). Now known from Africa as well, Homo erectus lived on
    virtually unchanged for over 1.5 million years (according to some
    anthropologists) and was, by all appearances, a singularly successful species.
    They had fire and made elaborate stone tools. And they had a brain size
    intermediate between the older African fossils and the later, modern-looking
    specimens. Specimens of Homo erectus do n't look like apes, yet they don't
    exactly look like us, either. To most of us, Homo erectus looks exactly like an
    intermediate between ourselves and our more remote ancestors.

    What do creationists do with Homo erectus? No problem -- Homo erectus is a
    fake in the creationist lexicon. --Niles Eldredge, The Monkey Business, pg

    Earlier I said that creationists are poor scholars at best and at worst have
    been known to distort the words and works of scientists. Anthropologist Laurie
    Godfrey (writing in the June 1980 issue of Natural History) has
    documented many examples of creationists' penchant to twist words and evidence
    to suit their purpose. I cannot close this discussion of creationist views of
    the fossil record without documenting this serious charge a bit further.

    The ICR's Gary Parker had been among the more blatant offenders. On page 95
    of his Creation: The Facts of Life, we read: "Famous paleontologists at
    Harvard, the American Museum, and even the British Museum say we have not a
    single example of evolutionary transition at all." This is untrue. A
    prominent creationist interviewed a number of paleontologists at those
    institutions and elsewhere (actually, he never did get to Harvard.) I was one
    of them. Some of us candidly admitted that there are some procedural
    difficulties in recognizing ancestors and that, yes, the fossil record is rather
    full of gaps. Nothing new there. This creationist then wrote letters to
    various newspapers, and even testified at hearings that the paleontologists he
    interviewed admitted that there are no intermediates in the fossil record.
    Thus, the lie has been perpetuated by Parker. All of the paleontologists
    interviewed have told me that they did cite examples of intermediates to the
    interviewer. The statement is an outright distortion of the willing admission
    by paleontologists concerned with accuracy that, to be sure, there are gaps in
    the fossil record. Such is creationist "scholarship." --Niles Eldredge, The
    Monkey Business, pg 130/131 [ICR is the Institute for Creation Research.

    Isaac Asimov:

    As species reproduced themselves, there would always be small variations
    among the new generations, variations in size, in strength, in shape, in
    behaviour, in intelligence, in endurance -- in any of innumerable qualities. So
    far all would be random. However, some variations would better suit the species
    to the environment, and on the whole those variations would better survive.
    They would be "selected" by the influence of their natural environment. Natural
    selection would not act through intelligence, but the results that followed
    would be the same as though it did act through intelligence.

    In the century and a quarter since that book [On the Origin of Species by
    Means of Natural Selection] was published, enormous advances have been made in
    many fields, advances that have served to refine and strengthen Darwin's thesis.
    The result is that biologists today accept biological evolution as a fact --
    even as the central fact of biology -- although there is still vigorous argument
    over details of its mechanism. --Isaac Asimov, Beginnings: etc, pg 45/56

    (Indeed, every once in a while people argue in this way against the evidence
    presented in favor of biological evolution. God created the Earth, they say,
    with all the fossils already in place and with all the other evidence of a long
    age for the Earth as well. This was done either to fool humanity, out of a
    malicious sense of humor, or to test people's faith in revelation over
    observation and reason, of for other trivial un-Godlike motivations. Some who
    are wedded to the literal words of the opening portion of the Bible might accept
    this sort of argument, but thinking people, even if sincerely religious, do
    not.) --Isaac Asimov, Beginnings: etc, pg 154

    Susan Friend Harding:

    Most of the thirty-seven anti-evolution laws introduced in state legislatures
    during the 1920s had failed to pass, and those that did pass were not actively
    enforced. But the issue was moot because evolution was scarecely taught, or not
    taught at all, in many school systems. After the Scopes trial, textbook
    publishers, acutely sensitive to controversy due to their thin profit margins,
    enacted a self-imposed ban on the teaching of evolution. for the next thirty
    years, public school science textbooks avoided mention of evolution, referred
    vaugely to Darwin if at all, and neglected biology generally, reducing it to
    morpohology and taxonomy. In effect, according to the terms of this textbook
    truce, Fundamentalists, though they had lost the war of national public opinion,
    had won the battle regarding the teaching of evolution in public schools.
    --Susan Friend Harding, The Book of Jerry Falwell, pg 211

    During the 1920s, the "day-age" position, which held that a day of creation
    may have lasted thousands of years, was common sense among Bible-believers. The
    other belief common among conservative Protestants to until the 1960s was known
    as the "old earth" position or the "gap theory," which supposed that millions of
    years may have passed between "In the beginning" and the six days of Edenic
    creation. Both positions allowed that many thousands, if not millions, of years
    may have passed since the events recorded in Genesis and thus permitted
    conservative Protestants. To accccommodate much mainstream geology and even
    some evolutionary views in the form of theistic evolution. But Bible-believing
    common sense changed after the 1960s, when a veritable creationist revival
    dispolaced these pooititions with a new, "strict creationist" position.
    According to strict creationism, "God creaed man pretty much in his present form
    at one time within the last 10,000 years." The strict position, also called
    "young earth" and "day-day" (a Genesis day is a twenty-four-hour day),
    "virtually co-opted the creationist label" from the old orthodoxy. By 1991, 47
    percent of all American surveyed by Gallup pollsters reported that they believed
    in "a recent special creation." --Susan Friend Harding, The Book of Jerry
    Falwell, pg 213

    The main force behind the promulgation of a recent special creation was Henry
    M. Morris and his associates. A PH.D. in hydraulic engineering from the
    University of Minnesota and professor of civil engineering at the Virginia
    Polytechnic Institute, Morris published, wih co-author John C. Whitcomb, Jr.,
    The Genesis Flood in 1961. They argued against the prevailing
    "progresive creationist" (old earth) orthodoxy, asserting that Bishop Ussher's
    chronology was essentially correct -- the earth was six thousand, at most ten
    thousand, years old, and the six days of creation were just that, six literal
    days. To account for the fossil record, Whitcomb and Morris relied on the work
    of George McCready Price, a Seventh-Day Adventist and self-taught geologist who
    argued that the geologic column was laid down, layer by layer, as a result of a
    single biblically recorded catastrophe, the worldwide flood at the time of Noah.

    Confronting as it did the conservative Protestant establishment in the name
    of a more biblically literal truth and simultaneously steeeped in scientific and
    scholarly trappings, The Genesis Flood was an instant sensation. "Strict
    creationists praised it for making Biblical catastrophism intellctually
    respectable again, while progressive creationists and theistic evolutionists
    denounced it as a travesty on geology that threatened to return Christian
    sceince to the Dark Ages." The threat, as it turned out, was very real. Over
    the next twenty-five years, The Genesis Flood went through twenty-nine
    printings and sold over 200,000 copies, and its position became the new
    conservative Protestant orthodoxy. --Susan Friend Harding, The Book of Jerry
    Falwell, pg 213/214

    But Whitcomb and Morris hoped to do more than recoup lost ground by
    promulgating a strictly literal creationist position. What made their rhetoric
    of strict creationism culturally productive and innovative rather than merely
    reactive was its assumption of the very apparatus that had defeated them, the
    apparatus of science. In effect, the popularizers Whitcomb and Morris and, even
    more effectively, their collaborators over the decades following the publication
    of The Genesis Flood, created creation science, also known as scientific
    creationism. According to historian Ronald Numbers, by the mid-1970s: "Instead
    of denying evolution its scientific credentials, as Biblical creationists had
    done for a century, the scientific creationists granted creation and evolution
    equal scientific standing. Instead of trying to bar evolution from the
    classroom, as their predecessors had done in the 1920s, they fought to bring
    creation into the schoolhouse and repudiated the epithet "anti-evolutionist."
    Instead of appealing to the authority of the Bible, as [even] John C. Whitcomb,
    Jr. and Morris had done in launching the creationist revival, they downplayed
    the Genesis story in favor of emphasizing the scientific aspects of
    creationism." --Susan Friend Harding, The Book of Jerry Falwell, pg 214/215

    [The following lists a few books pertaining to the creationism in
    place of evolution argument and surrounding issues. Sorry I
    can't provide a whole slew of titles from various databases on
    the internet, but I can only list those books I have actually read. --MN]

    Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes
    Stephen Jay Gould -1983
    ISBN 0-393-01716-8
    Dewey # 575 G698H

    Dinosaur In A Haystack
    Stephen Jay Gould -1995
    ISBN 0-517-70393-9
    Dewey # 575 G698D

    The Mismeasure of Man
    Stephen Jay Gould -1981
    ISBN 0-393-01489-4
    Dewey # 153.9 G698

    The Panda's Thumb
    Stephen Jay Gould -1980
    ISBN 0-393-01380-4
    Dewey # 575.0162 G698

    The Monkey Business:
    A Scientist Looks at Creationism
    Niles Eldredge -1982
    ISBN 0-671-44115-9
    Dewey # 575.016 E38

    Televangelism and American Culture:
    The Business of Popular Religion
    Quentin J. Schultze -1991
    ISBN 0-8010-8319-2
    Dewey # 269.26 S387

    The Book of Jerry Falwell
    Susan Friend Harding -2000
    ISBN 0-691-09589-6
    Dewey # 280.4 H263

    Scripture Twisting
    James W. Sire -1980
    ISBN 0-87784-611-1
    Dewey # 220.6 S619

    What Is Life?
    Lynn Margulis, Dorion Sagan
    ISBN 0-684-81326-2
    Dewey # 577 M331

    Belief in God in an Age of Science
    John Polkinghorne -1998
    ISBN 0-300-07294-5
    Dewey # 261.55 P765

    The Variety of American Evangelism
    Ed: Dayton & Johnston -1991
    ISBN 0-87049-659-X
    Dewey # 277.3 V299

    How to Found Your Own Religion
    Frances J. Phelan C.S.C. -1963
    ISBN N/A
    Dewey # 817.5 p51

    Slanted Truths: Essays on Gaia,
    Symbiosis, and Evolution
    Margulis, Sagan
    ISBN 0-387-94927-5
    Dewey # 570 M331

    Conducting Meaningful Experiments:
    40 Steps to Becoming a Scientist
    R. Barker Bausell -1994
    ISBN 0-8039-5530-8 (cloth)

    Re:Who's Anti-Intellectual Here???

    Not bad. In fact, very good for neophyte researcher.

    One of your titles was actually published in the 21st century. (Of course all of my sources were written well after the ink had dried (and in some cases faded with this list)). I think we had this same timeliness issue with that violence and behavior issue a while back too.

    My friend a gentle hint. Science is not a "social science". Ever notice that science libraries "ain't got a lot a books but a bunch of those magazine thingies"?

    BTW, you may want to refrain on the Dewey numbers next time. As the stickler you are for "scientific" material, only 6 of your titles are classified in the 570's (evolution/natural science)

    Here is the rest of your "scientific" bibliography. (Looks like it leans quite a bit on that religious stuff you admire so much)

    153 - Psychological tests

    220 - Bible

    261 - Evolution - religious aspects

    265 - Religion and Science (half credit here)

    277 - US Religion

    280 - Religion and American culture

    817 - American Humor

    So, aside from an old list with half being "non scientific" I say kudos to you!

    Now give it a rest.

    Re:Who's Anti-Intellectual Here???

    So, aside from an old list with half being "non scientific"

    Ah, yes. The standard ploy of someone who has no counter arguments. Since you can't rebut your opponent, simply discredit what he says. You want to try explaining exactly how it is that factual information is not valid because it does not fall into the area of what you consider scientific?

    Now give it a rest.

    When you get tired of being wrong all the time, perhaps.

    By the way, the ad hominem attack in the first line was a nice touch. Shall I also challenge you on the difference between looking up titles and actually having read the works?

    Syndicate content