Monday, February 09, 2004

Recreating Evolutionary Theory

I've been pushing Christine Terry's delightful science blog within my circle of mom friends. I know I'm biased but I think that a good grounding in science has become even more critical as our world becomes more technologically sophisticated and complicated by such things as GM foods, prions, genetic testing, and other wonderful worries.

But now she's gone political, which is even better. With her brief compilation, follow the trail to a bunch of great posts on the attack on educational curriculum by 'revisionists'.

In particular, consider this brief snippet from the very exceptional Pharyngula:
    One might argue that these are members of the lunatic fringe, lost causes that will never be persuaded, and that evolutionists shouldn't bother trying. Unfortunately, these are leaders of large flocks who have far more credibility with the uninformed than a bunch of eggheads in Sin Francisco. If you are a devout Christian, and a secular humanist (who knows little of your faith) tells you "there is no conflict between religion and evolution," while your pastor gets in the pulpit and tells you that "you will go to hell for believing the earth is more than six thousand years old, and you are corrupting our earthly world as well," who are you going to trust?

    I think this section of the site destroys its own credibility with this blithe assumption that many creationists will know is false. We should be honest. Evolution is compatible with many religions. However, if your religion tells you that the world is six thousand years old, that it was created by fiat over the span of six days, that species are immutable, that all existing species are derived from a select few rescued from a flood in a big boat, and any of a host of other silly stories that are directly contradicted by the world around you, you're just going to have to accept the fact that the weight of the evidence from physics, geology, and biology all dictates that your religion is wrong. It's that simple. You are wrong. Wise up. Find a better faith that isn't so damned stupid. And if you are so inflexibly dogmatic that you can't do that, you give up the right to dictate how science and education ought to operate.
There's way more in the post but the thing that gets me is, again, how worldview impacts politics and education in a major way. How to communicate across/ over/under/despite of differences in worldviews is one of my major concerns in this election process.

Addendum: Via the amazing Linkmeister, news of a new UCB based website about evolution, which I'll send directly to my biologist pals. But the part I liked the best was the section on External Roadblocks, complete with ways to deal with antievolutionists, legal issues, and strategies.