Questioning Darwin’s Theory in Your Child’s School: You Have the Right to Remain Silent…

We’ve gotten a couple of e-mails challenging my observation in a recent post that questioning Darwin’s theory in a public school is a federal crime. The reader implied that, because there is no federal statute explicitly censoring criticism of Darwin’s theory in public schools, it wasn’t a federal crime to do so. The issue of censorship in science classes in public schools is worth examining more closely. Is it a federal crime to question Darwin’s theory in a public school? In some public schools it certainly is. It’s a federal crime to violate a federal court ruling, such as the ruling by federal judge John E. Jones banning criticism of Darwin’s theory in the curriculum of biology classes in Dover, Read More ›

Dunford, Darwinism, and the Paranoid Style

The voices in Mike Dunford’s head have been awfully worried lately. Dunford, a zoology graduate student from Hawaii who ‘”studies evolution,” put up a bizarre post on Panda’s Thumb recently. Dunford is convinced that there are conspiracies going on. He began his post with lucidity, sensibly acknowledging the truth of Denyse O’Leary’s observation that intelligent design theory is not creationism. Intelligent design is the theory that some aspects of living things are more reasonably explained as the product of intelligent design rather than as the product of random variation. It’s a scientific inference, open to evidence, and it might be right or wrong. Creationism is the belief in the literal truth of the Bible, particularly in the Book of Genesis. Read More ›

P.Z. Myers’ Neurons Give Talk to Minnesota Atheists on Non-Existence of the Soul

Materialist neuroscientist and blogger P.Z. Myers gave a talk Sunday to the Minnesota Atheists entitled: “There Are No Ghosts in Your Brain: Materialist Explanations for the Mind and Religious Belief”. I wish I could have been there! Hopefully P.Z. will post a transcript, or put up the Powerpoint file. The program looks like it was a treat. Quoting Myers:

An Uncivic Biology

The Scopes trial is often depicted as an apocalyptic struggle between the forces of light (scientific Darwinists) and the forces of darkness (benighted citizens of Tennessee who didn’t want Darwinism taught to their children). Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee’s 1950s play “Inherit the Wind,” a fictionalized account of the Scopes trail, portrays the trial as a struggle between scientific enlightenment and ignorant fundamentalism and has become a staple of high school English classes. Yet the Scopes trial wasn’t, as a matter of law, just about teaching Darwinism in an abstract sense. Scopes violated the Tennessee law by teaching from a textbook–George William Hunter’s A Civic Biology: Presented in Problems (1914). In a recent essay in the weekly standard, A Read More ›