In a speech last night in New York City, Roman Catholic Cardinal Cristoph Schoenborn of Vienna sharply criticized efforts in America to prevent students and the public from learning about the debate over Darwin’s theory. According to the Associated Press report:
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna said in a lecture that restricting debate about Darwin’s theory of evolution amounts to censorship in schools and in the broader public.
“Commonly in the scientific community every inquiry into the scientific weaknesses of the theory is blocked off at the very outset,” Schoenborn said of Darwinism. “To some extent there prevails a type of censoring here of the sort for which one eagerly reproached the church in former times.”
In his comments, the Cardinal condemned in particular the Kitzmiller v. Dover court decision in 2005 banning the coverage of intelligent design in science classes in Dover, Pennsylvania:
The Austrian cardinal said he found it “amazing” that a U.S. federal court ruled in 2005 that the Dover, Pennsylvania, public school district could not teach the concept of “intelligent design” as part of its science class…
“A truly liberal society would at least allow students to hear of the debate,” he said.
As readers of this blog know, Discovery Institute opposed the Dover policy, because it does not favor efforts to require the inclusion of intelligent design in public schools. But, like the Cardinal, the Institute also strongly opposed the Kitzmiller decision’s attempt to ban even voluntary discussions of intelligent design and to declare them unconstitutional. The Cardinal is to be commended for continuing to champion the right of free expression in the growing debate over Darwinism.