Teach both sides? Oh shit yeah, let’s do that

Over at the Panda’s Thumb, the trolls are – as usual – in full force, bollocking on about how “Darwinism” (name for “evolution”) is either imminently doomed or dying a slow death, thanks to the relentless march of creationism or ID or cdesign propentsistism or whatever it’s being called these days to get it past the Constitution.

On a thread about the new Tennessee education law and its implications for evolution education, I left the following as a general comment on the “Teach both sides” issue.


Teach both sides? Let the kids “decide”?


In history class, in civics, in philosophy – let’s do just that.

Let’s teach kids how creationists operate and let them “decide” what to do with that information. We can teach:

  • how they portray evolution not as a description of observed reality and the bedrock of biological science which informs everything from genetics to medicine to epidemiology to pharmacology, etc (a place it has earned through repeated confirmation, not by authoritative declaration or popular vote) but as a crucial part of some “godless” lefty philosophy out to harm the country or lead their kids away from Jesus
  • how they routinely lie and conceal their true motives in order to circumvent the law and have creationism inserted into science (the very label “Intelligent Design” itself, the entirety of the DI’s public actions, Dover)
  • how they purposely misquote, quote out of context or partially quote scientists up to and including Darwin himself (and anyone, really, as long as they’re perceived to have some kind of authority) in order to cast doubt on evolutionary theory
  • how they manufacture a controversy about evolutionary theory’s validity by magnifying small differences in scientific opinion over currently uncertain, highly specific evolutionary mechanisms while ignoring the overwhelming consensus among scientists that evolutionary theory is true
  • how they jump on any misleading or just poorly-written science article in the mainstream media in order to claim that evolution is a “theory in crisis” or “on its last legs”
  • how they inevitably misread and misrepresent actual scientific research in any way they can in order to cast what they see as doubt on evolution
  • how they constantly conflate Darwinian evolution with “social Darwinism”, a eugenicist philosophy that would have appalled Darwin and which is, in any event, the antithesis of Darwinian natural selection
  • how they portray acceptance of evolution as “dogmatic” and admiration of Darwin as “worship”; more than likely projecting their own authoritarian and irrational methods of thought onto others
  • how they constantly claim “conspiracy” or “oppression” or “inhibition of free speech” every time a creationist or creationist group is called on their unconstitutional or inappropriate behaviour or their lack of judgement (Coppedge, Freshwater, Ahlquist)
  • how they constantly refuse (both ID’ers and YES creationists) to perform a whit of actual scientific work in order to produce a single datum in support of their theory; how they seem to think that saying “that’s too complex to have evolved” counts as a legitimate critique
  • how they say things like “microevolution doesn’t lead to macroevolution”, perhaps not realising that that’s equivalent to saying a lit match can light a cigarette but not start a bushfire
  • how they bray and crow and squawk about either the “imminent demise” of Darwinism or the “slow train” of creationist progress, even though the only progress that matters in this debate – scientific – is being made by only one side of the argument
  • how they concentrate on PR and legal and legislative “victories” without performing – or even attempting to perform – any actual science to back up their claims (which suggests that they may know, at some level, that science does not and will not provide that backup)
  • how they almost universally perform the false equation of evolution with atheism – “atheism” of course being a creationist/Far Right dog-whistle that can mean anything up to and including (and any combination of): Hitler, Stalin, Nazism, fascism, socialism, communism, promiscuity, amorality, moral nihilism, pacifism, hedonism, masturbation, paganism, pre-marital or non-procreative sex, homosexuality, video games and probably electric guitars, carbonated drinks and open sandwiches

And that’s just what I’ve noticed on PT in the short amount of time I’ve been visiting.

There are more than enough examples of all the behaviour listed above (and more I haven’t thought of) to make a very interesting Creationism: History and Tactics syllabus.

So let’s do it: let’s teach both sides. Let’s teach science, then we can balance that and teach creationism – with all the detail we can muster.


Somehow, I don’t think creationists would like it if kids were taught everything they need to know about creationism.

var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”); document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”)); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-5094406-1”); pageTracker._initData(); pageTracker._trackPageview();


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s