Darwinism is steadily loosing ground in the United States and a clear example of this has been the recent entry of criticism against the theory into textbooks in some states. Georgia, as we have noted in our Media Watch article, Another Crack in the Wall: Schools in Georgia (US) are Allowed to Teach about Creation, was the first state to challenge Darwinist dogmatism and include critical analysis in its curriculum. More recently, the Ohio State Board of Education required Ohio students to learn about the evidence against Darwin"s theory of evolution.
In an article by John G. West Jr. of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, a foundation which supports critical studies about Darwinism, the steady decline of Darwinism, the bigotry of its supporters and their crude tactics are well explained:
After months of debate, the Ohio State Board of Education unanimously adopted science standards on Dec. 10 that require Ohio students to know "how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory."
Ohio thus becomes the first state to mandate that students learn not only scientific evidence that supports Darwin"s theory but also scientific evidence critical of it... Ohio students will need to know about scientific criticisms of Darwin"s theory in order to pass graduation tests required for a high-school diploma.
Ohio is not the only place where public officials are broadening the curriculum to include scientific criticisms of evolution. In September the Cobb County School District in Georgia, one of the largest suburban school districts in the nation, adopted a policy encouraging teachers to discuss "disputed views" about evolution as part of a "balanced education." And last year, Congress in the conference report to the landmark No Child Left Behind Act urged schools to inform students of "the full range of scientific views" when covering controversial scientific topics "such as biological evolution."
After years of being marginalized, critics of Darwin"s theory seem to be gaining ground. What is going on? And why now?
Two developments have been paramount.
First, there has been growing public recognition of the shoddy way evolution is actually taught in many schools. Thanks to the book Icons of Evolution by biologist Jonathan Wells, more people know about how biology textbooks perpetuate discredited "icons" of evolution that many biologists no longer accept as good science. Embryo drawings purporting to prove Darwin"s theory of common ancestry continue to appear in many textbooks despite the embarrassing fact that they have been exposed as fakes originally concocted by 19th-century German Darwinist Ernst Haeckel. Textbooks likewise continue to showcase microevolution in peppered moths as evidence for Darwin"s mechanism of natural selection even though the underlying research is now questioned by many biologists.
When not offering students bogus science, the textbooks ignore real and often heated scientific disagreements over evolutionary theory. Few students ever learn, for example, about vigorous debates generated by the Cambrian Explosion, a huge burst in the complexity of living things more than 500 million years ago that seems to outstrip the known capacity of natural selection to produce biological change.
Teachers who do inform students about some of Darwinism"s unresolved problems often face persecution by what can only be termed the Darwinian thought police. In Washington State, a well-respected biology teacher who wanted to tell students about scientific debates over things like Haeckel"s embryos and the peppered moth was ultimately driven from his school district by local Darwinists...
A second development fueling recent gains by Darwin"s critics has been the demise of an old stereotype.
For years, Darwinists successfully shut down any public discussion of Darwinian evolution by stigmatizing every critic of Darwin as a Biblical literalist intent on injecting Genesis into biology class. While Darwinists still try that tactic, their charge is becoming increasingly implausible, even ludicrous. Far from being uneducated Bible-thumpers, the new critics of evolution hold doctorates in biology, biochemistry, mathematics and related disciplines from secular universities, and many of them teach or do research at American universities. They are scientists like Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe, University of Idaho microbiologist Scott Minnich, and Baylor University philosopher and mathematician William Dembski.
The ranks of these academic critics of Darwin are growing. During the past year, more than 150 scientists - including faculty and researchers at such institutions as Yale, Princeton, MIT, and the Smithsonian - adopted a statement expressing skepticism of neo-Darwinism"s central claim that "random mutation and natural selection account for the complexity of life."1
It seems that the fast decline of Darwinism in the US will continue in the years ahead. Maybe only a few decades later, people will wonder how such an unsubstantiated theory could be the scientific norm in the whole 20th century. And, they will become aware of the fact that Darwinists are trying hide: That life on Earth is not the outcome of blind forces of nature, but the product of the Creator.
(1) John G. West Jr., "Darwin in the Classroom: Ohio allows alternatives", National Review, December 17, 2002; http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-west121702.asp