Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Heavy Duty Protectionism

First they said there are no research papers contradicting evolution. Then they said papers that contradict evolution are merely presenting research problems. Then they said there are no scientists who do not believe in evolution. Then they said those scientists who dissent are not true scientists.

Now they define dissenters as "creationists." Any skepticism of evolution must be religiously motivated. Any appeal to science is merely a clever creationist ploy.

As one new paper puts it, we define creationist jargon "to include the kinds of language used by creationists to justify the use of teaching material that casts doubt on the theory of evolution."

That's convenient. There shall be no more casting doubt on evolution. The paper goes on to say:

A second strain of creationist language is perhaps more dangerous because it is more subtle. This strain directs the student to judge the validity of evolution—to “critique,” “assess,” or “evaluate” it.

Scary isn't it? Those devious creationists are up to no good again and we must stop them. Fortunately the evolutionists are up to the task. The key is to label anything and everything that isn't dogmatically Darwinian as "creationist." Not only doubting evolution, but even "evaluating" evolution is out of bounds. That way, only good science will survive.

This is heavy duty protection--the kind that evolution needs. It was used in the Dover decision, and is now standard fare. If you're not dogmatic about evolution then be prepared--you will be called a creationist.

The paper goes on to grade the science standards of each of the states, pointing out the nefarious "creationist jargon" that exists in the standards of those ill-mannered states that don't force feed evolution to their students and instead allow for open inquiry.

Of course the "creationists" will complain that the mandating of evolution is not good science. But our evolutionists have forestalled such absurdity, pointing out that tender minds are not up to the task of evaluating anything so complex as the theory of evolution. After all, isn't evolution like quantum mechanics? Any such evalution must only be done by those with the proper training (and incentives). Only the priests may pass judgment on the church:

The aspiration to have middle and high school students evaluate evolutionary theory, moreover, is not entirely realistic from a pedagogical perspective. Students should evaluate the scientific theories they study—but not before they fully understand those theories! As the foundation to the entire science of biology, evolutionary theory is vast and complex, resting on a variety of evidential bases from a number of scientific fields—all of which students are generally being introduced to for the first time in high school. Students will not finish learning about it in detail until, at minimum, their later years of college, and they will not begin seriously analyzing it and synthesizing their knowledge until graduate school. Expecting high school biology students to be able to evaluate evolutionary theory is no more reasonable than expecting high school physics students to evaluate quantum field theory. If students had the necessary knowledge and skills to make such judgments, there would be little reason for college science courses! Thus, the language we classify as “creationist jargon” is pedagogically unsound in and of itself ...

You can't make this stuff up.