Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Strange Argument About Teaching Evolution

Over at Secular Outpost there is an article by Taner Edis called, "Evolution as a liberal cultural weapon." Since that title looks like something you might find on a creationist site, or a hardcore religious conservative one, it got my attention. If you have time, read the article before you read the rest of this post, and see if you can spot the glaring absence of one basic argument that should be made by anyone supporting the teaching of evolution.

Edis is essentially arguing that he supports the teaching of evolution because it's good propaganda for liberals. Seriously. He starts out by debunking common arguments made in favor of teaching evolution, such as the need to maintain economic competitiveness. And he makes some reasonable points. But the rest of the article is off the rails. Here are some prime examples.
the people who deplore creationism need not have any professional involvement in science or education. They need not even be all that skeptical about supernatural beings. They just have to be, broadly speaking, liberal in their outlook.
Really? You have to have a politically liberal outlook to deplore creationism? This is complete nonsense. There are plenty of people on the right, such as myself, who have nothing but disdain for creationist pseudo-science.
The deeper reasons we liberals support evolution are, I think, specific to liberal cultural ideals. Most immediately, we want evolution in the classroom for purposes of the culture wars.
This is possibly one of the worst arguments I've ever seen for supporting evolution in the classroom, and one that actually gives ammunition to creationists. Evolution is just about advancing a liberal agenda. Yeah, that's a great message to put out there.

The main reason to support evolution in the classroom is the same for anyone who cares about teaching science in science classes. It's the same reason we support teaching chemistry and not alchemy, and astronomy not astrology. We support teaching evolution because we want science taught in the science classroom, not pseudo-science based on religious beliefs. I cringe anytime some religious ignoramus on my side of the political spectrum, with a ludicrous caricatured view of evolution attacks it, or advocates teaching creationism. It makes conservatives look like idiots, and causes people such as Taner Edis to actually believe that you have to be a liberal to care about teaching science.

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