Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Rat Dreams

You may remember David DeWitt, the neuroscientist from Liberty University who thinks that the chance death of an organism somehow "begins to unravel the idea of natural selection." Well, it seems he takes his students in his ironically named Advanced Creation Studies class (what exactly is there after "then God poofed it into existence"?) on a field trip. They go to the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of Natural History once a year. It seems that Dr. DeWitt doesn't feel any need for an "academic freedom" law mandating a "balanced" treatment of evolution to protect his student's tender minds:

"There's nothing balanced here. It's completely, 100 percent evolution-based," said DeWitt, a professor of biology. "We come every year, because I don't hold anything back from the students."

You might think it would be dangerous to expose them to real science but I suspect Dr. DeWitt has a better understanding of his students than that ... if this is representative of them, at least:

[I]n the hall of mammals, which reopened in 2003 after a $23 million renovation, evolution assumes center stage, and the Liberty students grew a bit more subdued. They openly admired the well-lighted, meticulously designed dioramas. But they lamented that the texts and videos give no credit at all to a higher power for the wondrous animal variety on display.

Near the end of the "Evolution Trail," the class showed no signs of being swayed by the polished, enthusiastic presentation of Darwin's theory. They were surprised, though, by the bronze statue of man's earliest mammalian ancestor [that very handsome gal above].

"A rat?" exclaimed Amanda Runions, a 21-year-old biochemistry major, when she saw the model of a morganucodon, a rodent-like ancient mammal that curators have dubbed Grandma Morgie. "All this hype for a rat? You're expecting, like, at least an ape."

With a combination of the egotism it takes to think of yourself as God's little pet and the second most important thing in the universe and contempt for the rest of that God's creation, there's little danger of these people giving up their fantasies.

When people are as thoroughly brainwashed as those students are, one trip to a scientifically sound display isn't going to penetrate their thick skulls. One day, perhaps, some of them may figure things out. Most of them probably won't, though. Sad, but true.
Maybe the strangest case of all is Kurt Wise, who received his Ph.D. under Stephen Jay Gould, who acknowledges the scientific evidence is against his beliefs but still holds them. I wonder what he tells his students as director of the Center for Science and Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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