Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Evolution vs. Academic Freedom

The ongoing battle between Creationism and Evolutionism reached sad low this week when a British evolutionist fell to friendly fire.  Michael Reiss, a member of the Royal Society resigned his position over a controversy centered on remarks he made concerning the teaching of evolution.  While he does not support Creationism as scientific, his comments were met with purely emotional reaction by his peers.  Ultimately it was decided he had damaged the reputation of the Royal Society.

 

What reputation-damaging comments did he make?

 

You can read the full text here , but among the inflammatory rants are such illogical statements as the following:

 

So when teaching evolution, there is much to be said for allowing students to raise any doubts they have (hardly a revolutionary idea in science teaching) and doing one's best to have a genuine discussion.  The word 'genuine' doesn't mean that creationism or intelligent design deserve equal time.  However, in certain cases... it can be appropriate to deal with the issue.

 

Wow!  What an apologists!  Actually, no where in all of his comments does he claim to believe in Creationism or give it any scientific merit.  He simply feels that "creationism is best seen by science teachers not as a misconception, but as a worldview."  In other words, one science class is unlikely to cause an entire paradigm shift in many people.  Instead of focusing on correcting or debunking Creationists, educators should be willing to answer questions, discuss, and actually teach science, even to Creationists.

 

The issue at stake in this discussion is not even Creationism vs. Evolutionism.  It is merely how to teach evolution in a classroom where students believe in creation.  And the issue at stake in the resignation of Dr. Reiss is has nothing to do with origins.  it has everything to do with the academic freedom to raise questions, and freedom of speech.  When scientists are unable to write in a neutral tone without fear of firing--whether they be evolutionists who want to teach creationists, climatologists unconvinced by global warming, or physicists declaring that the universe looks designed--then science itself has suffered a tremendous blow.

 

Josh R

1 comment:

Ron Giesecke said...

Evolution: Intelligently designed, but not designed intelligently.

Dissent=threat.

-R