Darwin Day Coming to a Country Near You

Not surprising, the American Humanist Association (AHA) is among groups petitioning to make “Darwin Day” a national holiday. In an article addressing this subject on their website, Roy Speckhardt the executive director for AHA argues for the importance of Darwin Day. A portion of the article reads:

Speckhardt noted that this year, the American Humanist Association is focusing its Darwin Day efforts on the importance of teaching evolution in public schools. “It’s disgraceful that over 150 years after the publication of ‘On the Origin of Species’ the battle over evolution is still being played out in science classrooms,” Speckhardt said. “Efforts to insinuate ‘Intelligent Design’ or to ‘teach the controversy’ about evolution have been launched by anti-science, far-right ideologues who care more about enforcing a narrow religious agenda than providing our kids with the best possible science education.”

While I grow weary of the rhetoric of such statements it is important for us non-evolutionists to continue to engage in the subject. I’m not aware of one person who calls evolution into question who has a problem with the science. We do not have a problem with the evidence. We have a problem with evolutionary proponents’ interpretation of the evidence and their implicit refusal to acknowledge their interpretation as such. When you act like your summary of the evidence is on par with the evidence then it is you who become the fundamentalist bigot who chases everyone else out of the room. Under the call of reason we see a system of faith that can’t even recognize what it is at its foundational elements. How is this not problematic? A recent article in Newsweek by Lisa Miller about Harvard as a  secular institution helps bring this issue into clarity – the setting up of faith and reason as though they are forever fixed in a cataclysmic and eternal battle.  Al Mohler provides a good summary of Ms. Miller’s article at his blog.

Even when the scientific data is available for current investigations we find that the observer plays an increasingly important role of interpretation. Climategate shows us this if nothing else. While Roy Speckhardt says its disgraceful that a battle is still being played out in our classrooms over evolution, what really is disgraceful is him acting like his position is the only tenable one. His language is a parlor trick to confuse the issue as though it is “Intelligent Design” against science calling “Intelligent Design” an “anti-science, far-right” ideology. I guess you have to be a republican buffoon to believe in it based on his colorful language. Consider his statement that says it is a “religious agenda” against “the best possible science education” and ask yourself who sounds narrow-minded and bigoted. Every Intelligent Design proponent on the national level is happy for the discussion Mr. Speckhardt. When you prance around acting aghast at the idea that your belief is above scrutiny then it is you who is oppossed to the best possible science education – which is allowing all the evidence (and interpretation) to be placed under scrutiny.

I could care less about Darwin Day. It does not bother me that fans of Darwin push for such a day. We all have our heroes, but when our heroes are above scrutiny and our ideas above dialogue then all we have become are mindless ideologues zealous for a cause we can’t defend and so we become militant. To Roy Speckhardt all I’m asking is that in the midst of your position to have charity for the discussion of ideas rather than throwing verbal hand grenades in my direction.


3 Comments to “Darwin Day Coming to a Country Near You”

  1. Interesting that you are addressing this! People are certainly welcome to challenge evolution in their discussions, but to do so in the public school science classroom you need more than a wild guess, you need something that a preponderance of scientists can recognize as valid, something replicable. Creationists lost their battle to present their ideas as science because it was based on faith not science. So called “intelligent designers” lost their battle to present their ideas as science in Dover because they it was not based on faith not science. New efforts to challenge evolution are the same tune of creationism masked as “arguments against evolution.” If such arguments ever have scientific validity they’d be welcomed, but that hasn’t happened yet, and considering the abundance of evidence for evolution, I doubt it will.

    • Wow! Thank you for responding to my article. I an interview with an author after he had written his first book when asked about all the negative reviews that came with his work. He said in he was too excited that someone took notice that he actually had written something to care what they wrote. I think I know a little of that feeling with you responding to me here.

      I hope to respond more tomorrow as I just got home from church and it is late. If you can help me out how are we defining scientific validity here? Based on peer journal review or something else? Also can you give me a definition of what science is? These clarifications will help me know how to respond.


  2. Mr. Speckhardt,

    I ended up posting a blog instead of a response in my comments section as it was too long (among other reasons outlined). You can see my response at https://israelshaw.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/why-intelligent-design-and-evolution-belong-in-the-same-category/. My hope is to be respectful of your position. Thank you for the opportunity to dialogue.

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