> >False. Scandalized by the certainty that in some schools creationism will
> >now be taught to the exclusion of not only the theory of natural selection
> >but also the claim of descent with modification from an or a few original
> >life form(s). The theory of natural selection, especially in its ultra
> >Darwinist form , is controversial, and its controversial history as a
> >hypothesis should indeed be understood. That should be part of the teaching
> >of evolution and the scientific method in general. ...
If the Scientific Method were being taught, there would be no problem -- various theories about the history of the world and its creatures could be described, and the student encouraged to evaluate them using the Method. I don't know exactly what goes on in Kansas, but my very strong impression of most teaching about evolution is that it is not taught in this way, but as truth which has been revealed by authority, and for which a confession of faith will be required on examination. This was Carl Sagan's approach in a radio address which I heard a few weeks before he died, in reference to both evolution and UFOs, and I thought it was deplorable. Going by what I read in the _Wall_Street_ _Journal_, the school board in Kansas removed the required confession of faith, but did not restrain the teaching of evolution otherwise.
I've brought this sort of consideration up elsewhere and been told that ordinary people are too stupid to use the Scientific Method and should listen to their betters, especially those in white coats. Surely no one on this mailing list would take that position, however.
> I think that it has become a common rhetorical ploy to paint atheists as
> "intolerant" of the religious, while in reality it is the other way around
> (as it always has been). It's the same tactic as creating boogeymen such
> as "political correctness," "guilt-tripping" of whites by blacks, "Marxist
> takeovers of academia," etc. Conservatives thrive on the rhetoric of
> marginalization, persecution, etc., in patent contradiction to American
> reality. A sad thing is that not just the Right but even some
> self-identified leftists have begun to accept this fantastic rhetoric ("the
> marginalization of religion in the American public life" -- as if!) as
> reality. Maybe a year or two ago, the Nation magazine ran a series of
> articles advocating that leftists should be more accepting of "religious
> values" or something to that effect. That's just one symptom among many
> others. I'm afraid that the conservative reaction for the last couple of
> dacades have got to not just the proverbial general public but also a
> significant number of self-identified leftists. _No wonder_ non-leftist
> Americans are in favor of the tolerance of and inclusion of creationism as
> science; leftists have failed to counter the tide of reaction, not just
> materially but also culturally, and in fact some are ready to hop on the
> bandwagon to capture the again proverbial center! (Tragically for the
> estimable Max and Nathan, this is a truly self-defeating gesture, unless
> they are prepared to go the whole hog and Clintonize themselves, which they
> aren't.) Can we ever hold ground and fight back on _any_ issue? Do we
> ever get up and say, "No Pasaran!"
If the Left is the side of liberty and equality, as opposed to the side of authority, power, private wealth, status, and order -- the Right -- then the it seems to me it's the role of the Left to defend the freedom of ordinary people to think and believe what they wish. If that's creationism or the Great Turtle, so be it. Science, which can tell us how to vaporize great cities in the twinkling or an eye or give us Frankenstein foods to eat and intelligent machines to talk to, needs little advertising, much less coerced faith.