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Are Kansas Evolutionists Afraid of a Fair Debate?

John G. West

Defenders of Darwin’s theory of evolution typically proclaim that evidence for their theory is simply overwhelming. If they really believe that, you would think they would jump at a chance to publicly explain some of that overwhelming evidence to the public. Apparently not. The Kansas State Board of Education has proposed ten days of hearings featuring scientists who embrace evolutionary theory along with scientific critics of neo-Darwinism, but according to this article in the Lawrence Journal-World, evolutionists are crying foul:

some evolution proponents are suggesting that scientists shouldn’t participate in what they say will be an unfair hearing. “The deck is completely stacked,” said Liz Craig, a spokeswoman for Kansas Citizens for Science. “I don’t believe anybody’s going to participate… because it’s just ridiculous.”

Darwinists have a rather peculiar definition of an “unfair” and “stacked” hearing, however. The Kansas Board has asked for an equal number of scientists (10) to testify on each side. Scientists favoring evolution would be selected by professor Steve Case, chair of the state committee drafting revised science standards for Kansas and an ardent evolutionist. Scientists critical of evolutionary theory would be chosen by biochemistry professor Bill Harris, another member of the same science standards committee, and a supporter of intelligent design. Case would be allowed to cross-examine scientists critical of evolutionary theory, and Harris would be allowed to cross-examine scientists who defend evolutionary theory. In other words, the ground rules proposed are scrupulously fair and even-handed to both sides of the debate.

What, pray tell, is “unfair” and “stacked” about such a proposal? Absolutely nothing. That’s the problem. Darwinists consider the proposed hearings “stacked” precisely because they are not stacked in their favor! Since Darwinists are in the majority in the scientific community, the only “fair” hearing in their view would be one in which they completely outnumber their opponents. Most ordinary people would consider that a stacked deck.
This is strange behavior for people who claim that evidence for their position is so overwhelming that any other view is nonsense. If they really believe the evidence for Darwinism is overwhelming, why aren’t they willing to defend their view in a fair public forum? Why do they demand a stacked deck before they are willing to condescend to explain their views to the publicly elected Board of Education? One begins to wonder just how confident these Darwinists are of their theory if they don’t think it can be defended in a fair and equal debate.

John G. West

Senior Fellow, Managing Director, and Vice President of Discovery Institute
Dr. John G. West is Vice President of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and Managing Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Formerly the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, West is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker who has written or edited 12 books, including Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, and Walt Disney and Live Action: The Disney Studio’s Live-Action Features of the 1950s and 60s. His documentary films include Fire-Maker, Revolutionary, The War on Humans, and (most recently) Human Zoos. West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University, and he has been interviewed by media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Time magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.

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