Posted by: Mr. C | June 3, 2008

Biology without Ideology- Dinesh D’Souza

Here is another interesting post from Dinesh D’Souza that coincides with a previous post of one of his articles where he talks about science classrooms pushing an ideology.

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Biology Without Ideology

Posted Apr 8th 2008 9:01PM by Dinesh D’Souza
Filed under: Science, Christianity, Controversy, Atheism

Shouldn’t biology teachers and textbooks stick with science and leave metaphysical statements–especially statements implying or promoting atheism–out of the classroom? I have made a constitutional argument that they must, and some leading Christian groups are now reviewing this strategy. Meanwhile, atheists on this blog and elsewhere noisily contend that there is no problem, and that no one is peddling atheism in the name of science.

In this context it’s instructive to review a controversy generated several years ago by the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) when the group decided to remove the words “impersonal” and “unsupervised” from its position statement on the teaching of evolution. The NABT is a membership organization of thousands of teachers at the elementary, secondary and college levels. It has been in the forefront of legal battles against “creation science” and “intelligent design.”

The original statement said, “The diversity of life on earth is the result of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, historical contengencies, and changing environments.” And there it is: the official statement of the largest pro-evolution group of teachers smuggling metaphysical atheism into a scientific claim about evolution. Let’s remember that this metaphysical pronouncement appears in an instruction manual for science teachers nationwide. So much for atheist ideologues who say that this is not an issue for anyone to worry about.

Two thoughtful academics, philosopher Alvin Plantinga and theologian Huston Smith, noticed the problem and wrote the NABT. They pointed out that the vast majority of Americans believe that a personal agent, God, is responsible for both the universe and for life. What Christians object to is not the idea that the earth is old or that one life form has evolved into another; what they object to is the insinuation, using the authority of science, that Gd does not exist and that material reality is all that there is.

Plantinga and Huston noted that terms like “impersonal” and “unsupervised” are not scientific terms. “It is extremely hard to see how an empirical science such as biology could address such a theological question as whether a process like evolution is or isn’t directed by God. How could an empirical inquiry possibly show that God was not guiding and directing evolution?”

The NABT board found the argument persuasive, and decided to drop the two unscientific terms from its statement. At this point, a group of atheists, led by one Massimo Pigliucci, filed an open letter with more than 100 signatures accusing the NABT of bowing to religious pressure. But Eugenie Scott, writing on behalf of the NABT, pointed out that the NABT’s decision was scientific and not political. Scott noted that making metaphysical claims about God’s existence or nonexistence “is venturing outside of what science can tell us.”

Atheists who were hoping to use the battering ram of evolution to attack religion were bitterly disappointed by this outcome. But this was one small episode: I’d like to see a coordinated strategy over the next several years to increase their dismay. Imagine the apoplexy in the God-hating camp if courts rule that atheist interpretations of evolution by scientists such as Richard Dawkins, William Provine, Steven Pinker, Douglas Futuyma and others have no place in the biology classroom! When atheism is the loser, science is the winner.

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Responses

  1. “Shouldn’t biology teachers and textbooks stick with science and leave metaphysical statements–especially statements implying or promoting atheism–out of the classroom?”

    Actually biology teachers and biology textbooks never mention the word atheism, so what is this moron talking about?


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