Science is Victorious in Ohio
Op-ed article sent to the Columbus Dispatch that was not published due to their bias against honest science
by Dr. Patrick Young
Dr. Patrick Young's Home page
March 9th, 2004 was a historic day for progressive science in Ohio. By an overwhelming margin, the State Board of Education voted to approve a set of science standards that includes a "Critical Analysis of Evolution" lesson that is designed teach the evidence for and against evolution to high school students.
While some have claimed to the contrary, the final version of the "Critical Analysis of Evolution" lesson contains no references or links to intelligent design / creationism. The lesson is presented in a debate format that is intended to expose the student to several of the most controversial subjects in evolutionary theory including macroevolution, homology, the fossil record, and endosymbiosis.
Pro-evolutionists are now redeploying in a different direction and attempting to spin the debate towards the idea that exposing students to the evidence for and against evolution is an automatic endorsement for the teaching of intelligent design / creationism. Their goal is to manufacture a separation of church and state issue that will seize the debate away from scientists and place it in the hands of the courts. While their argument has no basis in truth, it does demonstrate that evolutionists finally recognize that they have lost this debate on its scientific merits. It also reveals that the core of their contention could not be the education of our children or the preservation of good science because their new strategy is to evolve a purely scientific discussion into a legal one.
Any quality science program should be about educating students that are fully capable of independent critical thinking. If Darwinian theory came anywhere close to providing reproducible mechanistic evidence in support of macroevolution there would be no controversy. However, the scientific evidence speaks for itself. Natural selection via random mutations will not explain the complexity we observe today.
The pro-evolution community continues to endorse organizations like the National Center for Science Education (executive director, Eugenie Scott) and the National Academy of Sciences as resources for unbiased mainstream science. What they conveniently fail to mention is that Eugenie Scott is a self-professed atheist. Moreover, a survey given to representatives of the National Academy of Sciences that was later published in a 1998 volume of the Journal of Nature confirms that 73% of its members are atheist and 20% are agnostic.1 In the same article, Oxford University scientist Peter Atkins said, "You clearly can be a scientist and have religious beliefs. But I don’t think you can be a real scientist in the deepest sense of the word because they are such alien categories of knowledge."
Eugenie Scott was quoted in a Dispatch editorial on 03/14/04 as saying, "By definition, science cannot consider supernatural explanations: If there is an omnipotent deity, there is no way we can exclude or include it in research design." However, this exact type of scientific research is published in peer-reviewed journals consistently. An example is a paper published in the 1999 volume of the Journal of Archived Internal medicine titled, "A Randomized, Controlled Trial of the Effects of Remote, Intercessory Prayer on Outcomes in Patients Admitted to the Coronary Care Unit."2
The genuine problem with Eugenie Scott’s contention of limiting scientific study only to naturalistic processes is that the definition of science today incorrectly accepts a much broader scope. Science today claims that every observation must be explained by naturalistic processes and therefore concludes that there is no such thing as miracles or an omnipotent deity. By embracing this expanded definition, science has now completely overstepped its authority in attempting to explain the natural world.
Science can revert back to the more limited definition of only studying known naturalistic processes, but this assertion must be supplemented with the recognition that science is not capable of explaining the natural world in its entirety. The "Critical Analysis of Evolution" lesson clearly attempts to use the limited definition of science by teaching that there is no naturalistic explanation or mechanism for macroevolution and consequently reveals why the militant pro-evolutionists are hyperventilating.
The atheist wing of the evolutionist community desires the more expanded definition of science because it demands the teaching of a natural world completely devoid of an omnipotent deity. The more limited scientific definition does not teach of a deity, but it correctly recognizes that if a naturalistic explanation does not exist for a given observation, then it is irresponsible to invoke some pseudoscientific extrapolation that has no basis in the scientific method.
Voice your affirmation for the members of the Ohio Board of Education who voted to approve the "Critical Analysis of Evolution" lesson on March 9th. The lesson as written, is good science. If the ACLU or any other anti-science organization chooses to litigate this, it is because they recognize there is no scientific value foundation to their argument.
1. Edward J. Larson, Larry Witham, "Leading Scientists still reject God", Nature394, 313 (23 Jul 1998) Correspondence 2. http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/159/19/2273
Patrick Young, Ph.D.
Canal Winchester, Ohio
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