Before Expelled There Was Icons of Evolution

Robert L. Crowther, II

Expelled may be the latest film, and certainly the most prominent, to look at the suppression of academic freedom in regards to criticism of Darwinian evolution, but it isn’t the first.
In 2001 Coldwater Media produced Icons of Evolution, a film that highlighted the academic persecution of a high school teacher who challenged the dogmatic teaching of Darwinian evolution.
The film wove two story lines together. The first played off of the name of Jonathan Wells’ book, Icons of Evolution, which showed that a number of the typical “proofs” of Darwinian evolution were false and really didn’t lend evidentiary support to Darwin’s theory at all. The second told the story of Roger DeHart and a particularly egregious example of Darwinian persecution that occurred in 2000 and 2001 in Burlington, Washington. DeHart, then a veteran Washington state High School biology teacher, tried to supplement his biology textbook with articles critical of Haeckel’s embryos and peppered moths from mainstream science publications, such as The American Biology Teacher, Natural History, The Scientist, and Nature. You can guess what happened next. The American Civil Liberties Union issued veiled threats of legal action, and the National Center for Science Education, a pro-Darwin lobby group, insisted that DeHart teach only the evidence that allegedly supports Darwinism. Bowing to the intimidation, the superintendent of DeHart’s school district prohibited him from distributing the articles–or even talking about them. DeHart was subsequently removed from his biology teaching position, replaced by a junior faculty member with a degree in physical education. When he applied for a job teaching biology in a neighboring district, he was initially promised the position, but when school officials there realized how controversial he was they reneged on their offer. Finally, DeHart left public school teaching, and Washington state, altogether.

Robert Crowther

Robert Crowther holds a BA in Journalism with an emphasis in public affairs and 20 years experience as a journalist, publisher, and brand marketing and media relations specialist. From 1994-2000 he was the Director of Public and Media Relations for Discovery Institute overseeing most aspects of communications for each of the Institute's major programs. In addition to handling public and media relations he managed the Institute's first three books to press, Justice Matters by Roberta Katz, Speaking of George Gilder edited by Frank Gregorsky, and The End of Money by Richard Rahn.