Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

February 27, 2014

Forum: Time we all celebrated Darwin Day

In case you missed, it, Happy Darwin Day

Feb. 12 commemorates the birth of Charles Darwin and, by reflection, the fact of evolution and the theory of Natural Selection. We recognize on this day that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. Yet, local STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) proponents are eerily silent about this fundamental idea.

From Penn State: 60 percent of high school teachers completely avoid the subject of evolution and only 28 percent present evidence for evolution. Shamefully, 13 percent teach creationism in a favorable way. A well-educated population positively impacts the quality of life and failure to teach a fundamental concept in science creates people gullible to the appeals of anti-science charlatans.

Much of this hesitation is due to attacks upon science. An example is ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) which modeled 10 anti-evolution bills introduced in states over the last year. Similar are appeals to deny adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards. Why the push to defend ignorance? Beats me, but if you can sell self-imposed ignorance then we have the makings of an incurious “boobocracy” (H.L. Menken’s word), unable to question but desirable as consumers.

Those anti-evolution bills contain the catchphrase “... to help students develop critical thinking skills... “ However, as Judge Jones in Kitzmiller v Dover said “... ID’s backers have sought to avoid the scientific scrutiny which we have now determined that it cannot withstand by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself, should be taught in science class. This tactic is at best disingenuous and at worst a canard. The goal of the IDM (Intelligent Design Movement) is not to encourage critical thought ...”

Teaching the fact of evolution inoculates children against anti-science and promotes a curiosity about natural history. It is the start of a baloney-detection tool kit that is more fundamental than critical thinking. After all, when “critical thinking” adopts the false notion that scientific views of our world are subject to debate rather than actual scientific skepticism, then “critical thinking” loses all value in promoting habits of scientific thought.

Text Only

Opinion Poll
AP Video
Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City