ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Ahh, Mr. Scopes... Is that you?

Link to DU Commentary by a Mr. Glenn Edwards

He starts out reasonable enough....

Darwin's book is The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, so he was not discussing the origin of life, as many believe. For him, life was a given, and his concern was to describe the way in which species develop. All Darwin's theory comes down to is that those differences that help the individual survive will tend to spread throughout the population, if for no other reason than those with a particular characteristic that helps them survive are likely to live longer and have more offspring. If you add up many of these differences over time, what will emerge eventually is a species different from the one that existed when all these variations started to accumulate.

By now you've probably heard about the stickers on biology textbooks in Cobb County, Georgia, that read: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered."
There are problems with Darwin's theory, and biologists argue about these, trying to resolve them even as you are reading this. The theory of evolution by means of natural selection nonetheless remains the best explanation we have for all the biological evidence we have so far accumulated
Soooo.... if there are problems with Darwin's theory, shouldn't it be "approached with an open mind" and "critically considered?" Now, I'm not up to speed on my ID, but I think Glenn's point about Darwin not arguing about how life began is apropos (although his book was The Origin of the Species, but I digress). If Glenn doesn't want to argue how life began, I think he may be talking past those that believe in creationism. Perhaps the story of Adam and Even aren't literal - perhaps God created the Earth, oversaw its development, ensured that the human species developed, etc, etc. Just throwing things out here... you know, for the purposes of discussion... in the interest of furthering the conversation. (something which Glenn isn't interested in.)

Then, Glenn predictably takes a sharp, hitlerian left-ward turn and wants to keep any mention of creationism out of public life:
What should we do? First, we must maintain and even increase the defense of our increasingly beleaguered Constitution and its separation of church and state. (Check out Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, at, which has been doing great work in this area for a long time. This is especially important now that the decision of the federal judge to remove the stickers on those biology textbooks is under appeal.)

Second, never concede the moral high ground to people who want the state to enforce their brand of religion. All of history and most of religion argues that combining the power of the pulpit and the power of the state will lead only to disaster. Despite the erroneous claims that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, the people who put this country together knew what they were doing when they decided not to permit the joining of these two powers.

Third, never concede the religious grounds for our opposition to Creationism in any of its forms. Many of us object to these ideas because they conflict with our own religious ideas, and since the issue can never be resolved through argument in the public square, those who claim the mantle of religion as a cloak for their designs, even intelligent ones, should stop trying to bully the rest of us into allowing the state to foster their particular beliefs.
I didn't know those folks were trying to impose their religion on students when they asked them to view evolution with an open and critical mind (or to borrow from Mr Webster as Glenn does "exercising or involving careful judgment or judicious evaluation"). Ahem... I s'pose Glenn would prefer it if they approached evolution with a closed and unquestioning mind.