Florida science standards dethrone God! Details at 11

Talk about a love/hate relationship…

I highly commend Gary Demar of American Vision for a number of reasons. Chiefly, he is on the front lines in arguing against the immobilizing effect premillennial eschatology has on the Church; I love that his postmillennialist approach emphasizes the advancement of the Kingdom of God over every facet of culture and society.

Unfortunately, another of his preoccupations is the “Darwinism Hate Train” of which he is the blindfolded engineer.

On a recent installment of American Vision’s weekly Gary Demar Show entitled “A state-sponsored religion?”, he gave us another doozie. He was sounding the alarm, criticizing the Florida state school board’s proposed revision of its educational standards. Specifically, he argued that the revised science standards come down too solidly on “a scientific question [on] which there is great deal of debate within the scientific community, not only coming from what we might call scientific creationists, six-day creationists, intelligent design advocates, but scientists in general who may still believe in evolution to a certain extent but still have a problem with some of the basic building blocks of evolutionary theory and want the topic discussed, think it ought to be discussed and in reality the science standards framer’s committee is in the process…[of] re-writing those standards to force compliance to a particular dogmatic worldview without question. It’s really something that’s unthinkable within the realm of science for anybody at any period of time to say, ‘This scientific theory is now established fact and there’s no way to debate that.'” He reiterated at another point that any public school curriculum that focused only on evolutionary theory was guilty of “cutting off debate” in the classroom.

Does anyone else see a problem with this thinking? Demar is apparently of the opinion that a high school classroom is a necessary forum for debating and challenging scientific theory — even one of the most universally accepted scientific theories. Say what?

Now I, like Demar, am a vocal critic of the public school system in general and as such I heartily advocate a model usually found only in classical schools in which a major part of high school (the “rhetoric” stage) is learning to rigorously defend one’s beliefs. In the classical education model, formal debates and peer-reviewed position papers are as integral to the curriculum as the actual facts being debated. You would likely receive equally high marks in the rhetorical side of things for winning a debate whether you were arguing for or against the notion that the earth is filled with marshmallows. But your education would be deficient if you didn’t graduate and go to college knowing that the vast majority of scientists would think the hypothesis of a marshmallow-filled earth to be utterly ridiculous and unsupportable, the possibility that this contradicts some religion’s holy book notwithstanding. My point is that I don’t discourage rigorous debate among high schoolers; I don’t want kids to sit there and accept everything their teachers say unquestioningly. But what Demar is saying is that in public schools, even the fringe views on scientific questions should be presented alongside the accepted ones.

And I’m saying that’s hogwash.

Another thing slipped into that quote above that Demar incessantly harps on about when discussing this topic was the following line: “… in reality the science standards framer’s committee is in the process…[of] re-writing those standards to force compliance to a particular dogmatic worldview without question.” Let me quote the entirety of the standard in question, as given by a guest on Demar’s show to show you the “dogmatic worldview” Demar finds so dangerous.

Standard 15, The Diversity and Evolution of Living Organisms:

a) Evolution is the fundamental concept underlying all of biology and is supported by multiple forms of scientific evidence.

b) Organisms are classified based on their evolutionary history.

c) Natural selection is a primary mechanism leading to evolutionary change.

That’s it? Where’s the worldview? Where are the atheistic assertions and denials of moral absolutes? It’s certainly not in the Florida standard, which neither demands all discussion on the topic be banned nor differs substantially from any major biology textbook used in public schools today. Apparently even the barest, most anti-septic presentation of evolutionary theory is unavoidable indoctrination into secular humanism and militant atheism. As he so often does, Demar associates the nuts and bolts of this scientific theory with some fringe groups of scientists like Richard Dawkins who twist that theory into something philosophically and theologically in error.

Demar is primarily worried about children being indoctrinated into an anti-Christian worldview; naturally, I share this concern. He also seems to be under the impression that ID somehow leads to a better worldview, although key ID advocate Michael Behe’s latest book, The Edge of Evolution, once again demonstrates that ID actually posits evolution, albeit in a crippled form. Of course, that crippled form as described by the notion of irreducible complexity is essentially a God-of-the-gaps argument from ignorance; this argument essentially stands at the window and gesticulates wildly to demonstrate that there are things predicted by evolutionary theory that are not currently visible, attempts to convince everyone that nothing as yet undiscovered exists outside the view of that window, and then hastily closes the blinds.

The problem is that for all his guilt by association and slippery slope arguments, Demar has yet to provide any scientific or philosophical reasons to challenge the theory of evolution’s viability — dare I say probability — as a scientific theory. Until he can do so and he can provide a scientific alternative with traction among a significant number of biologists, he is just blowing smoke in the face of science and hoping it coughs up Christianity.

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