Monday, April 21, 2008


Political Science

A thought:

Whether from genuine religious feeling or political calculation, elements of the political right wage war against miscalled "Darwinism" — therefore against honest science teaching.

Why "miscalled"? Because to revile evolutionary science, 140 years after the Darwin-Wallace insight, as "Darwinism" is ignorance or rabblerousing. It is as silly as would be sneering at NASA's space engineering as "Newtonism" (which in the same trivial sense it is). A few biologists do use "Darwinism" as shorthand for natural selection: the proposal that the spontaneous and heritable variation in all living things, acted upon by varying environments, causes change in population characteristics. A very few biologists have mixed biology with deism or atheism, in public; but they are authors of trade books, not curriculum-makers or schoolteachers. Conservative arguments with these writers have nothing to do with the elementary facts of organic evolution. About those, there ceased to be serious question a century ago.

- Paul R. Gross, "Politicizing Science Education," Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, April 1, 2000

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