James Leroy Wilson's blog

Monday, November 15, 2004

Defending Christian Fundamentalists

Highly recommended article from Bob Murphy on evolution and much else.

This isn't the most crucial point of it, but the passage that made me go "Yes! Yes! Yes!":

A recent CNN article discusses the plight of Georgia residents who worry that the controversial "warning labels" being placed on high school biology textbooks will give their students a bad reputation. In case you haven’t heard, the Cobb County Board of Education’s sticker reads as follows:

"This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered."

Now on the one hand, I perfectly understand the outrage of mainstream biology and chemistry teachers. After all, nothing in the natural sciences is "a fact"; all of our knowledge is tentative and "just a theory." So in that respect, the warning label reeks of ignorance.

However, even though I understand the outrage, I have little sympathy for educators such as Sarah Pallas, who teaches biology and neuroscience at Georgia State University. The article quotes her as saying, "We’re really busy. We have a lot to do. And here we are, having to go through this 19th century argument over and over again." That’s nothing, Dr. Pallas! We economists have to continually go over the argument for free trade, and that was settled back in the eighteenth century! You get frustrated that people refuse to believe they’re descended from apes? Well I get frustrated that my students think taxing imports is the way to make us all richer.

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