The Teaching of Evolution in America’s School
While I know I was supposed to write the second part of the article began last newsletter, I must, however, postpone the writing of this edition of that article until the May/June newsletter. I must respond to some critical issues, which I believe need my immediate attention, that I have heard mentioned from several sources; particularly (for this newsletter) from two separate newspaper articles over the course of the last month—so I apologize for the delay. Before I discuss the content of these two newspaper articles mentioned above, and to introduce the ideas that I believe to be important enough to have priority over our planned intent for this newsletter, I want to preface my comments with an opinion of my own. First, I strongly believe there is evidence that we are beginning to see the embryonic stages of a Biblical awakening in our country. This awakening is young and premature, and can easily be stillborn before reaching maturity, but the evidence is obvious that some deep changes are on the horizon.
Second, I sincerely believe the doctrine of evolution has entered extremely troubled waters in America, especially as an academic reality. Never in the past 100 years has Darwinism, in any of its forms, been as intellectually challenged as it is being challenged today at the university level. As a result, Darwinism, as an academic explanation for origins, is dying, and most probably, will be replaced in the next twenty to twenty-five years by some form of the intelligent design theory.
In the interim, I further believe, we will see and experience the affects associated with the death of a monstrous worldview that has greatly influenced American thought, at least since 1870. The impact of this influence caused the complete decline of the Bible as the guiding source for American thought by 1960. Thus when a worldview of this longevity and magnitude begins to lose significance and support, as Darwinism is experiencing, the debate will be filled with lots of huff and puff. This being true, in the future of our cultural processes this means that we can expect an abundance of discourse accompanied by turbulent and threatening gestures, innuendos and extenuations. After all, there are tens of thousands of men and women, if not more, who have doctoral level degrees in some form of evolution—think about the fall-out this will cause if evolution is totally discredited.
Incidentally, in this same connection, I was recently apprised of a discussion between one of our Friends of the Foundation, who, by the way, is the owner and CEO of a successful textbook wholesale and retail company, and the Vice President of Marketing and Sales for one of the largest, if not the largest, textbook company for public school textbooks in the United States. Our friend told this VP that his company was losing millions of dollars every year by not having materials available for the conservative segment of the American society. He told me the VP was terribly astonished, and asked, “What do you mean by this statement?”
Our CTF friend immediately responded, “What is there about the last election that you don’t understand?” He then continued, “There are millions of schoolage children whose beliefs are not being properly represented in the underlying belief system offered in the present textbooks you publish and, therefore, they will not use your materials.” And to the dismay of this VP, his advisers who were a part of the discussion agreed that this was a valid reality. Interesting!
Additionally, I thought it was conspicuous that the November, 2004, edition of the National Geographic, asked the question on the front cover, “Was Darwin Wrong?” The ensuing answer, which, of course agreed with the assumptions of Darwinism, and was the primary article of the magazine (they gave 47 pages to this article, which was over 30% of the entire magazine, pp. 4-51), nevertheless, did not provide anything new that hasn’t been in the debate for years. However, I thought it was noteworthy that on pages 4-6, the author said, in effect, that even though he believes there is overwhelming evidence for evolutionism, there remains a vast number of Americans who are not at all convinced that evolution’s explanation for origins is true. In this connection, he cited the results from five Gallup surveys dating from 1982 through 2001, and in all instances there has never been less than 44% of the polled citizenry of this country who did not agree that Darwin was wrong and the Bible was right in the explanation of origins! As a matter of fact, in 2001, 45% of the adults polled believed the Biblically literal view of origins, and 37% believed there was room for both God and Darwin in this explanation in some way, while only 12% believed strict atheistic, naturalistic view. In other words, 450 adults out of every one thousand believed the Bible’s explanation to be true, while at the same time totally rejecting Darwinism. Interesting, isn’t it! With these ideas in mind, let’s consider the ramifications of the newspaper articles to which I alluded earlier.
The Teaching of Evolution in America’s School
The first article about which I want to comment appeared in the New York Times, February 1, 2005. The article appeared in the section of the paper called, Science Times, and was entitled, “Evolution Takes a Back Seat in U.S. Schools,” pp. D1&D6. The story line in this article sites several evolutionary authorities, all of which are decrying the fact that many of America’s science teachers confess they simply do not teach evolution to their students because of the pressure of the parents and the other community leaders they refer to as “fundamentalists.”
Moreover, the article quoted Dr. Gerald Wheeler, the head of the National Science Teachers Association, who said that many members of this organization are able to “fly under the radar” of fundamentalism by introducing evolution as a controversial idea. But, he mournfully continued, that this is scientifically untrue. At this juncture, the article removed all doubt regarding their pro-evolutionary stance by asserting that, “There is no credible scientific challenge to the idea that all living things evolved from common ancestors, that evolution on earth has been going on for billions of years and that evolution can be and has been tested and confirmed by methods of science.”
Here’s the point! It is this persistent babbling from the evolutionary protagonists in our country that causes the problem. It would be the same if the Bible believers of the country alleged the same claims for the Creationist view. You see, all of the argument revolves around the alleged scientific justification for the evolutionary view, with the creationist view being merely religious, which restricts creation from the public school context in the name of church/state Constitutionality. In this debate, we are not talking about science; we are talking about belief systems.
If evolution was as scientifically substantial as they allege, then the debate would have been forever ended a long time ago, but it isn’t, and never has been, and informed Bible believers know this! Therefore, they don’t want their children taught something declared to be a scientific fact that destroys the credibility of the Scripture in the minds of their children. The least that should be done in a government supported school is that all views of origins be presented for critical evaluation of the students. Any other format is blatant indoctrination and formidable censorship, which has been the modus operandi in government schools for decades. And the interesting fact that emerges from all of this is that after decades of evolutionary indoctrination, as shown above, there is still nearly half of the American population that believes the Biblical view, even in the face of years of training to the contrary.
Creationist Disclaimer Removed from Textbooks in Arkansas
The other article that I want to consider came from an Associated Press report concerning a Little Rock school district. Printed in the Texarkana Gazette, February, 11, 2005, p 7A, the article reported that under the threat of an ACLU lawsuit the Beebe School Board agreed to remove what the article called “creationist stickers” from textbooks. The stickers described evolution as a “controversial theory that alone does not adequately explain the origins of life.”
The ACLU attorney associated in this case, Rita Sklar, said that, “We commend the Beebe School District for avoiding a costly litigation…However, we are concerned that these stickers may well be present in textbooks around the state, as they are the latest attempt to undermine science…(emphasis added)” Here it is again, only this time in a legal context! In the first place, these stickers could never undermine genuine science, because naturalistic evolutionism is not genuine science. Science wouldn’t be undermined, even if, within the confines of a science class, we had an open discussion to consider naturalism and/or supernaturalism as a possible mechanism for origins—that is, real science! But it would allow students an open forum in which to think about questions like who we are, how we got here and why we are here, to be thought about from differing points of view. Because, it is without debate, whether one admits it or not, these are the real issues that are impacted in this discussion. Therefore, to contend that one of these belief systems is scientific and the other is only religious is to falsely elevate the alleged scientific system to a peerless academic level.
Then the article brings up First Amendment rights, and suggests that stickers like these are a violation of our Constitutional rights as set forth in this Amendment. This reminds me of a report written in the Philadelphia Inquirer by Brian Sullivan (January 2, 1981), in which he wrote that during the 147th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science held in Toronto, the attendants “voted-in” evolution as a scientific law. Just because a majority of scientists who had gathered in a prestigious meeting agrees that the universe and life on the earth are the result of evolutionary processes doesn’t automatically provide unquestioned scientific sanction to their conclusion. This action simply means that the majority of the people attending this meeting have the same materialistic belief system about origin’s issues—nothing more. In the same manner, the ACLU has a liberal bias concerning origins issues, and as a result they can only contend that their point of view is the scientific view, which gives evolution a demanding preeminence in this debate. But, this is not the case for anyone who looks at the situation fairly, with a true understanding of the abilities and inabilities of the science.
Nevertheless, Sklar, in a classic bait and switch technique, said, at the end of the article that, “Teaching about religion in history or social studies classes is proper, but masquerading a religious message as scientific is misleading and can lead to unnecessary divisiveness in a community.” Consider this for a moment—what did she really say? In the first place, the stickers were not contending that creation was scientific, and in the second place there are many scientists who plainly say that evolution is not scientific. In the words of L. Harrison Matthews, a biologist from Oxford, written in, of all places, the Introduction to a reprint of Darwin’s Origin of Species: “The fact of evolution is the backbone of biology, and biology is thus in the peculiar position of being a science founded on an unproved theory—is it then a science or a faith? Belief in the theory of evolution is thus exactly parallel to belief in special creation—both are concepts which believers know to be true but neither, up to the present, has been capable of proof.” (Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, Introduction by L. Harrison Matthews, F.R.S., J.M.Dent & Sons, London, 1971, p. xi) So, the battle rages, but the Word of God will prevail – it always does! It is a great day to be a Bible believing creationist! What must we believe? We must believe that the world was framed by the Word of God, and that he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him.
G. Thomas Sharp