George Diepenbrock, a reporter with the Southwest Daily Times in Liberal, Kansas hits the nail on the head in his column today when he argues that Darwinists should embrace the opportunity to defend Darwinian evolution and answer the critics who point to scientific flaws within the theory.
What Diepenbrock struggles with is exactly what many in the public, and the media, are struggling with: namely the difference between criticisms of Darwinian evolution and the emerging scientific theory of intelligent design.
Challenges to Darwinian evolution are not the same as proposed solutions, such as intelligent design.
If every ID theorist and proponent fell of the face of the earth today, tomorrow there would still be debates over peppered moths, and Haeackel’s embryo drawing would still be totally wrong.
Scientific challenges to Darwinian evolution include unresolved debates amongst scientists over issues such as the peppered moth, the myth of human gill slits, Haeackel’s embryos, and the Miller-Urey experiment. Scientific challenges to Darwinian evolution address problems for which adequate solutions have not been presented. The scientific theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. Intelligent design theory then is an alternative solution to answer problems with Darwinian evolution.
The question in Kansas really is whether or not students should learn all about evolution, including the scientific criticisms, much the way that students in Ohio learn to critically analyze the theory.
Diepenbrock’s assertion that the theory of intelligent design is under consideration for inclusion in Kansas classrooms is simply wrong, and likely through no real fault of his own. Darwinists who oppose teaching students about any of the scientific challenges to Darwinian evolution have loudly proclaimed that anyone skeptical of Darwinian evolution is advancing the theory of intelligent design. Not true.
Groups of diehard Darwinian defenders such as Kansas Citizens for Science, the National Center for Science Education, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science repeatedly make this claim, and the media usually reports it unchallenged, and the public absorbs it as if it were true. It is not true. In the least the media should report that some people claim this, but that others disagree. That is the nature of the debate and both sides should be accurately represented, yet often they are not.
So, it would appear that Diepenbrock –and others in the media– have been suckered by the KCS and others who are falsely claiming that the Kansas state school board wants to include intelligent design in the curriculum. This is not true, there is no one calling for intelligent design to be required in science classes in Kansas.
Earlier this week the Associated Press issued a correction that makes this clear. KCS and other Darwinian activists can make these claims, but they simply are not true.
The CSC’s position has not changed since the last time this debate raged in Kansas six years ago. Diepenbrock quotes from Mike Behe’s 1999 op-ed urging Kansas teachers to teach more about evolution, not less:
“Discuss where (evolution) also has real problems accounting for the data, where data are severely limited, where scientists might be engaged in wishful thinking and where alternative– even heretical– explanations are possible,” wrote Michael Behe, a biochemist, in a New York Times opinion piece in 1999.
Diepenbrock is to be congratulated for pointing out that trying to squelch debate is not good for science, or for science education, and certainly not good for students. His final sentence should be heeded by the Darwinian activists:
“But refusing to step forward at the hearings would either convey to the public arrogance or insecurity on the part of evolutionary advocates.”