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Monday, December 19, 2005

New book Another journalist tackles the ID-Darwinism controversy

Years ago, when I first started writing By Design or by Chance?, an interview subject told me that Pamela Winnick of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was also working on a book on the intelligent design controversy. I corresponded briefly with her, but then I guess we both moved on to the late nights and long hours of writing for a living. It gives me great pleasure, therefore, to report that her book is now out.

Winnick, a non-religious Jew, discovered the same thing I did, actually: Contrary to the lazy legacy media stereotype, most of the people fighting Darwinism in the textbooks were not nuts at all. They were, and are, fighting a philosophical agenda that makes science the handmaid of materialist philosophy. Straw in the wind: I keep running into journalists now who see that clearly. The Darwinists will not get an easy pass from those people, as they would have five years ago.

From Amazon:

The age-old war between religion and science has taken a new twist. Once the dedicated scientist-martyr fought heroically against rigid religionists. But now the tables have turned, and it is established science crusading against religion, pushing atheistic agendas in the classroom, in textbooks, and in the media. This book shows how science has now become a religion of its own–an often fanatical one at that–furiously preaching atheism, punishing dissenters, dictating how and what we should think, and subtly inserting its worldviews in everything from education to entertainment. And, with stunning clarity, it proves that, with billions of dollars up for grabs in the race for stem cell research, intellectual integrity has been replaced with good old-fashioned greed. With sharp insight and completely original reporting, this book defiantly shows the extent to which science is beating down religion and how this systematic tyranny is unmistakably weakening culture and society.

From National Review Book Service:
Fashionable PC myth has it that for centuries, courageous and enlightened scientists fought against bitter opposition from backward, vicious religionists. If this was ever true, it's true today, but the other way around: nowadays, an entrenched scientific establishment is fanatically pushing an atheistic agenda on the American people, crusading against religion and doing everything it can to prevent rational discussion of the real issues raised by religious scientists. In A Jealous God: Science's Crusade Against Religion, Pamela R. Winnick reveals how science has today become a religion of its own, complete with its own furious Inquisitors who ruthlessly punish even the most innocuous dissent from its established line.

I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but it's apparent from various descriptions that Winnick takes on a number of issues, not only the intelligent design controversy.

But here are some notes taken by a correspondent on Chapter 7 of her book:

A Jealous God

By: Pamela Winnick

Chapter 7 – The Federalization of Science


- In the late 1940s Harry Truman (Democrat) established the Scientific Research Board and the NSF.

- Truman was replaced by Eisenhower (Republican). During Eisenhower, the Russians launched Sputnik. People blamed the Republicans for being soft on science.

- Scientists and educators argued that science education should no longer be left in the hands of the local school boards, but rather that it should be directed out of Washington DC. The federal government would now oversee the 20,000 school districts, each locally governed. The standards would “teacher proof” the curriculum to overcome the "local prejudices" of teachers and school boards. Eisenhower reluctantly agreed but said it "should not be considered a permanent federal responsibility." He wanted the funding to come from the private companies that would profit from the advancement in the sciences.

- After appropriating 1 billion dollars for four years, the National Education Association asked for it all to be given in the first year. The AFL-CIO wanted more money. The president’s Science Advisory Committee recommended doubling the expenditures. (This all took place within a year of Sputnik).

- With the creation of the NSF, was the creation of the Physical Science Study curriculum (America depended on agriculture so this came first). Chemistry came next. It took biologists another year to persuade the NSF that biology was also a branch of science equally deserving attention in the schools.

- Biologists formed the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) arguing that it would give them "adequate representation." The fear was that biology would be overshadowed by the physical sciences. Evolutionists really did have to fight for a place in the sun.

- In the early 1930s scientists developed the "neo-Darwinian synthesis." They did this not to gain a better understanding of the natural world, but to move out of the museums and into the universities and earn professional respect. This new synthesis credited the transmission of traits to the role of genetic mutations. The only problem was that in the 1960’s mathematicians discovered the improbability of these beneficial mutations, shedding further doubt on Darwin’s theory.

- The BSCS was composed of some local science educators, but most its leaders were overtly hostile to the Judeo-Christian religions, and some were outright eugenicists who, in other contexts, had openly promoted the "betterment" of man through selective breeding.

- The head of the BSCS was Bentley Glass, a renowned geneticist and member of the American Eugenics Society, who disparaged procreation, promoted population control and the establishment of genetics clinics to weed out the “defective.” Herman J. Muller, who agreed with Glass, complained that public school biology was dominated by “antiquated religious traditions.” Richard Lewontin, also a member of the American Eugenics Society, headed the “gifted student” committee, a position that dove tailed perfectly with the eugenics goal of perfecting the human race.

- In a presentation his biology curriculum to a group of high school educators, Glass stated "I would certainly suspect that before the next thirty years are finished ... [m]an will certainly have learned to accelerate his own evolution in a desired direction." He encouraged teachers to braver it out when they are confronted by religious communities. "There are people who don’t want us to teach this kind of revolutionary biology. After all, it is upsetting to feel the ways of life changing."

- By the 1960s the curriculum made by the BSCS was being used by half the country. Because it was federally funded it out competed the commercial publishers, putting them out of business. The commercial publishers always made two copies of the textbooks (one for public schools and one for Catholic schools). The BSCS decisively put an end to that practice, using a standard book that referred to man as a common "animal."

- Interestingly enough, this wasn't the first time man was referred to as an animal in a biology textbook. Hunter's A Civic Biology (the textbook used by John Scopes) restated the core principles of eugenics. "If the stock of animals can be improved, it is not unfair to ask if the health and vigor of future generations of men and women on the earth might not be improved by applying to them the laws of selection." Referring to epileptics and others, Hunter said:


"If such people were lower animals, we would probably kill them off to prevent them from spreading. Humanity will not allow this, but we do have the remedy of separating the sexes in asylums or other places in various ways preventing intermarriage and possibilities or perpetuating such a low and degenerate race."

"At the present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man, each very different from the other in instinct, social customs, and to an extent, in structure. There are Ethiopian or negro type ... the brown race ... the American Indian, the Mongolian or yellow race ... and finally the highest of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and American."

- Though unreported, the Scopes trial itself was as much about eugenics as it was about evolution.

- Bentley Glass was more explicit during a 1969 meeting of the BSCS in Chicago. He suggested that "students evaluate their genotype" and reevaluate the "right of parents to produce children." The 1969 BSCS teachers' manual states that "programs of fertility regulation and family planning help control population growth and - avoid eventual disaster," going on to mention the problem with "religious bodies."

- Americans who grew up in the 1950s, before the BSCS, had a far greater proficiency in science than those that followed. According to the NCSE science proficiency among 17 year olds declined from 1970 to 1990 despite the centralization of science education and the use of the BSCS textbooks. By the 1990s the US was at the bottom of a 22 countries list in science proficiency.

- In his testimony in front of Congress, Bruce Albert, president of the NAS stated that "Explanations on how the natural world changes based on myth, personal belief, religious beliefs, mystical inspiration, superstition, or authority may be personally useful and socially relevant but they are not scientific.

Joe Manzari
Research Assistant
The American Enterprise Institute
1150 Seventeenth Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202.862.5911
Fax: 202.862.5821
jmanzari@aei.org


Here's an article she wrote on junk in the textbooks. And while I'm here anyway, here's an article on textbook dreck by yours truly. You have to scroll down to the November 2 entry, so I might repost it here later today.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?


Are you looking for one of the following stories?

The Pope using the term "intelligent design" to describe the Catholic view of origins, go here.

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams attacked by Darwinist, hits back. Will he now cartoon on the subject?

"Academic Freedom Watch : Here's the real, ugly story behind the claim that 'intelligent design isn't science'?".

Roseville, California, lawyer Larry Caldwell is suing over the use of tax money by Darwin lobby groups to promote religious views that accept Darwinian evolution (as opposed to ones that don’t). I’m pegging this one as the next big story. See also the ruling on tax funds. Note the line that the “free speech” people take.
How to freak out your bio prof? What happened when a student bypassed the usual route of getting frogs drunk and dropping them down the chancellor’s robes, and tried questioning Darwinism instead.

Christoph, Cardinal Schonbon is not backing down from his contention that Darwinism is incompatible with Catholic faith, and Pope Benedict XVI probably thinks that’s just fine. Major US media have been trying to reach rewrite for months, with no success.

Museum tour guides to be trained to "respond" to those who question Darwinism. Read this item for an example of what at least one museum hopes to have them say.

World class chemist dissed at Catholic university because he sympathizes with intelligent design.

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