As I was perusing my latest issue of eSchool News, I came across your article “Evolving Backwards” (From the Publisher, January 2005:). My, I hardly know where to begin.
I have 13 years experience as a high school biology and English teacher. For the past three years, I have worked as an administrator focusing on curriculum and staff development. In both my undergraduate and graduate work, I was immersed in the various manifestations of Darwin’s theories. I must confess that, as explanations of the origin of life, they seemed to me to be contrived and artificially imposed upon the facts. But, since they were the only game in town–at least, so I was told–I blithely accepted them and presented the latest version of Darwin to my students–that is, until I came across some work done by William Dembski. Among other things, his work led me to Michael Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box, which seemed to me to demonstrate quite plainly that Darwin the emperor was indeed naked as a jaybird.
It can be a bit unnerving for a teacher to discover that what he has presented as incontrovertible fact is, in fact, flawed in some pretty serious ways. What makes this kind of discovery particularly unnerving is that it often blindsides the discoverer. Why? Because the academic community discourages (dare I say, fears) honest questioning. This is demonstrated whenever someone begins to question the established Darwinian orthodoxy and the ad hominem attacks begin. That brings me to your article.
You have branded me as a member of a “certain dogged faction,” a “chronic ailment [that] has come out of remission,” a “virus strain,” and those are just the nice names. Why do you call me these things? Do you see me as “infecting school curricula,” simply because I find the explanations for the origin and structure of biological life proposed by ID [intelligent design] superior to contemporary evolutionary explanations?
In your article, you sound a warning against the nefarious actions of those in the ID camp. Well, I don’t think I’m as evil as you paint me. I am a fairly gentle person, actually, and I do not intend to “rely on the ignorance of the public and press about science affairs” to “inflict serious harm to the body politic.” Instead, I intend to continue to encourage the science teaching community to honestly question the prevailing orthodoxy and reconsider what we teach our students about the origin and structure of biological life.
–Mark Olson, Curriculum & Staff Development, Milford (Neb.) Public Schools
Since there exists more than one thought regarding the origin of mankind, as an educator, are you not remiss if you say there is only one thought, and that any other thought is a “virus strain adapting to defend against previously successful remedies”? Be careful, your bias is showing. Have you not learned from Dan Rather’s fiasco?
Science need not be godless. You say it must be so. But who are you? What authority and supreme knowledge do you possess that presumes to say there is only one theory that is not “baseless”? You do your readers a great disservice with your blatant prejudices. An educator should lay out all the information and let the student using reason and logic decide for himself what to believe. You are not ashamed to not only propose the conclusion, but to lambaste any other possible conclusions. How absurd!
These disclaimers that are being proposed, if they have any aim as you claim, appear to me to be only asking for equal time in the minds of students. I find it offensive to me as an educator to see that such patent one-sided views are allowed such broad press in eSchool News. Here it was one of my favorite newspapers. Now, I need to rethink that because of your article.
–Kenneth L. Kearley, Director, Administrative Computing, Florida College
After reading your article “Evolving Backwards,” I have decided that I do not wish to subscribe to your publication. Please remove my name from your mailing list.
–Darrell Derryberry, Winona (Mo.) RIII School District
Read your January editorial … RIGHT ON!!!!!!!!! Well written, well done. I do not teach science, but any educator should find these latest outbreaks alarming.
–Joe Dowling, William Penn High School, New Castle, Del.