Derbyshire Protects Darwinism from Dissent

John Derbyshire keeps reburying the design argument over at The Corner, with evidence he assures us is elsewhere. By assembling a host of misconceptions about design theory into a single, compact essay (generally unencumbered by supporting evidence), Derbyshire has done us a great service, providing us a forum to respond to each misconception in a series of posts over the next several days. I’ve never met John Derbyshire. I love his name. It makes me think of England and Middle Earth. I imagine him wearing a stylish derby and living in a tasteful shire somewhere, an articulate conservative with strong opinions — but who just might stop and take a second look at a position with a much older pedigree Read More ›

From the don’t know whether to laugh or cry department . . . .

Last Sunday’s episode of Boston Legal (“From Whence We Came”) was ripped straight from the headlines in typical David Kelley style. Hotshot young attorney Lori (Monica Potter), with help from Denny Crane (played by William Shatner, and for which he won a Golden Globe the same Sunday night) and Shirley Schmidt (the newest addition to the show, played by Candace Bergen), defends a school superintendent being sued by two science teachers who were fired for refusing to teach creationism. Kelley’s writing is always sharp and his dialogue is witty, but his take on the evolution issue merely regurgitates the old Inherit The Wind trope of religion vs. science. He never even bothers to really define evolution or intelligent design, which Read More ›

CA school district sued for violating civil rights in evolution controversy

A California school district has been sued in federal court for allegedly violating a parent’s civil rights during a controversy over how to teach evolution. For more than a year, Larry Caldwell tried to get the Roseville Joint Union High School District outside of Sacramento to consider changing how it taught the theory of evolution in its biology classes. Caldwell, who has three children, says he wanted the district to correct factual errors in its biology textbooks as well as to introduce students to some scientific criticisms of modern evolutionary theory. Caldwell did not propose that the district teach creationism or alternatives to evolution. The Roseville district ultimately rejected Caldwell’s recommendations. But in the process of trying to scuttle his Read More ›

Evolution Stickers Struck Down, but Critical Analysis Stands Up

A federal judge today ruled that the evolution stickers used in the Cobb Co., GA school district’s biology textbooks are unconstitutional. (See our press releases here and here.) In a somewhat bizarre ruling, the judge found that the stickers “fostering critical thinking” about evolution “is a clearly secular purpose.” And, the judge also found that the Cobb County school district had secular, not religious reasons for adopting a textbook sticker dealing with evolution. Yet, he somehow concludes that the “effect” of the sticker would be to advance religion. CSC associate director John West summed it up this way: “The judge rules, and repeatedly states, that there is a clear secular purpose to the sticker, and it has a legitimate secular Read More ›

Trying science in the courtroom shuts down scientific debate

Charles Haynes of the First Amendment Center has published a column looking at the current court cases involving evolution. While he mistakenly looks at intelligent design theory as just the next step after creationism in the anti-evolutionary chain, he does have some interesting insights into the drawbacks for science of shutting down the debate. “If school board resolutions aren’t the answer, who decides what, if any, critiques of evolution get into the curriculum? The short answer is – or should be – scientists decide. But many in the science establishment worry that teaching the controversy – even conflicts among scientists about some aspects of evolutionary theory – would open the door to creationist or other religious views. That’s why so Read More ›