I’m making my way through Glenn Shrom’s book, Getting Past the Culture Wars: Regarding Intelligent Design. I’ve run across something that I think is worthy of some immediate attention.
Two separate yet simultaneous battles
In discussing this book that I am writing, my wife, Jane, pointed out to me what I would have called two different approaches on intelligent design – one helpful and the other harmful. She prefers to consider them as two separate battles in the culture wars, both worthy of being fought in their own right.
One approach or battle says:
Of two religions, one is being heard in the science class¬room and the other isn’t. We should level the playing field by either teaching both or teaching neither. Let’s teach both. (This position was also taken by one of the Elizabethtown forum theology speakers, but regrettably I forget which one.)
The other approach or battle says:
Of two scientific theories, one is being heard in the science classroom and the other isn’t. We should level the playing field, etc. (This is what I feel is the winning approach for all parties.)
(Getting Past the Culture Wars, p.42; emphasis added.)
It turns out that, far from advocating “getting past” the culture wars, Glenn Shrom is an advocate of a particular strategy of antievolutionist culture warriors that dates back several decades. (Unless, of course, one thinks that “getting past” the culture wars is accomplished by saying that the pro-science side should simply unconditionally surrender.)
The strategy in question has been called “equal time” and “balanced treatment”. It was developed shortly after the 1968 SCOTUS decision in Epperson v. Arkansas. Antievolutionists were frustrated in their outright attempts to exclude the teaching of evolutionary biology entirely in that case; the courts ruled that scientific concepts could not be excluded from public school science curricula because of perceived incompatibility with sectarian religious concepts.
For the sake of simplicity, I will use one reference to establish the antiquity and the similarity of what Shrom advises us is a “winning approach for all parties” and what represents the documented victory conditions for antievolutionists to win their culture war. The book also shows that both stategies discussed by Shrom have long been part of the antievolution culture war. That book is Louisiana state senator Bill Keith’s Scopes II: The Great Debate. Keith was behind the Louisiana Balanced Treatment Act passed in 1981 and struck down by the SCOTUS Edwards v. Aguillard decision in 1987. Here are some of the relevant passages:
“Having been an adjunct professor of constitutional law, having lectured on origins, creation and evolution from a legal viewpoint, and having studied and having researched this legal issue for many years, it is my belief that the passage of your bill to teach scientific creationism or scientific evolution are not only constitutional, but failure to teach either one without the other is, in my opinion, placing the government and the school board in an unneutral position, which would be unconstitutional. Teach both or teach neither, and you have neutrality and constitutionality.” [quoting Judge Braswell Dean]
“We are not asking that religion be presented in the classroom but we are asking that scientific evidences supporting both of these alternative points of view be presented,” she said. “We call upon all of the school boards, manufacturers of textbooks, concerned citizens, and teachers of educational agencies to resist pressures towards scientific dogmatism and presentation of only one point of view of origins.” [quoting Kay Riebolt]
Creationists answered them and tried to explain that creation-science is pure science and as unreligious as evolu¬tion. Science and not Genesis. Science and not the Old Testament. But most evolutionists’ minds are completely closed because their belief is based on faith and not on facts.
“Both creation-science and evolution-science can be equivalently scientific, just as they can be equivalently religious. I believe the best way to find truth is not to talk
dogmatically about one conceptual framework but to consider pros and cons and to assess alternative conceptual frameworks.” [quoting Scott Morrow]
“The fact that many of the people who advocate that schools teach students about the concept of creation in an unbiased manner do believe the Bible is no justification for banning Act 590,” Sunderland said. “Otherwise evolution should also be banned because it is advocated by people who believe the Bible and who claim that it is completely compatible with the Bible. Furthermore, evolution is explicitly written in the basic statement of belief of humanists — the Humanist Manifesto. So, using Judge Overton’s arguments, evolution must also be banned from public school classrooms.” [quoting Luther Sunderland]
On the subject of religious doctrine being taught in the schools, the suit says:
“The plaintiffs agree that public school instruction in the Biblical account of creation or religious doctrine of evolution would violate the establishment clause, but suggest that public school instruction in the scientific evidences for creation-science and . . . evolution-science fully conform . . . and that the science can be taught without the religion.”
The suit also addresses the religious nature of evolution. It says:
“Creation-science is as nonreligious as evolution-science. . . . The concept of evolution-science is consistent with some particular religious beliefs to the same extent that the concept of creation-science is consistent with some particular religious beliefs; this does not suggest that either explanation is itself inherently religious. . . . Evolution is a doctrine of a number of religious faiths (both Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and non-Judeo-Christian) to the same extent that creation is a doctrine of a number of religous faiths . . . but this does not preclude the existence of scientific evidence and related inferences supporting either. . . . [quoting from LA lawsuit over the Balanced Treatment Act]
Those demonstrate clearly that Shrom’s two strategies are old hat, and that acceding to either is a one-sided victory for antievolutionists, not some middle ground that may be reached with compromise on both sides.
I will provide some more content from Keith’s book to document that this is well and truly a culture war in progress based upon the indicated strategies:
If you are fed up with evolution being indoctrinated into the minds of your children, then it’s time to speak up and take a stand for truth.
Here are some things you can do:
1. Become thoroughly informed on the subject of crea¬tion vs. evolution. Read everything you can find. Vast resources are available. There are a number of scientific groups, such as the Institute for Creation Research, San Diego, California, that will provide materials to help you.
2. Once you are thoroughly informed, go to your public school science teacher and present the information to him/her asking that consideration be given to creation-science, the alternate view concerning origins. Be sure to have some good materials available for the teacher. Never be dogmatic or demanding. Make a good presentation and hope the teacher will have an open mind.
3. Many of the teachers will thank you for giving them the information and some will begin giving equal time to creation-science along with evolution-science. There is no law whatsoever which precludes teachers from teaching both theories of origins.
However, if the teacher fails to implement creation-science in the classrooms, the next step is to go to the prin¬cipal and discuss it with him. Make the same presentation of factual materials and encourage him to institute it in the school. Explain to the principal that as a parent — who pays taxes to build school buildings, pays teachers’ salaries, and purchases textbooks — you want both concepts presented fairly to your children.
4. Should the principal not be open to the idea, the next step is to go before the school board. Take a large group of people with you who believe like you do. Remember this when you go before any body of elected officials: you have a right to have someone represent you and your point of view. That is the basis of true democracy. So don’t be hesitant. You are a taxpayer and a voter and you have every right to expect elected officials to respond to your requests.
If at all possible, it would be good to talk to the school board members one by one prior to going before the full board The reason for this is simple. If there is only one board member who is antagonistic toward creation-science, he might be able to sway the entire group, particularly in a public meeting. However, if each board member has had time to think about the issue and study creationist materials, he may decide it is a pretty good idea. Remember that school boards in Dallas, Texas; Tampa, Florida; Bossier City, Louisiana; and a host of other areas have ruled in favor of the balanced treatment of the subject of origins.
5. Hopefully you will get a favorable response from the board. But what if you do not? Then you need to wait until election time and elect a new board that will favor teaching both theories.
Once people realize how dangerous evolution is in the classroom it will be quite easy to rally support behind a pro¬creation candidate. All the polls show that at least 75 per¬cent of the people believe in the balanced treatment..
If you can organize only 100 people who will work for a candidate, and work hard, you can elect people to office. But it requires time, effort and a lot of hard work.
Let me explain some things you will need to do:
* Find a qualified candidate. People won’t vote for just anyone, regardless of what he or she may believe.
* Raise some financial support for that candidate. He can’t win a political campaign without posters, handbills, campaign cards, newspaper advertising and radio and television exposure.
* A door-to-door campaign must be carried out on behalf of the candidate by the 100 workers. Just imagine what 100 people could do working in a campaign. If 100 people visited 50 homes on a Saturday that would be 5,000 homes. During a period of one month that same 100 people could contact 20,000 homes in behalf of a candidate.
* During the door-to-door campaign on behalf of the can¬didate, you should make sure that you explain to each per¬son what is happening in the schools, why you believe
creation-science should be given equal time, and that your candidate is committed to the concepts of openness and fairness in the public schools.
* You should also select a candidate who is knowledge¬able in various other areas of school life and has a genuine desire to help improve schools. It is wrong to support one-issue candidates and most of the general public feel strongly about those who do so.
6. Contact your senator and representative and tell them you are interested in fairness in the instruction of origins. You can write them a letter or call them on the telephone. But the very best approach would be to visit them personally, discuss the subject at length and provide them with some background reading materials on the subject.
When you visit a legislator it would be good to take a half dozen other people with you so he will understand there is widespread grass-roots interest in the subject.
Public officials are elected to carry out the will of the people. It is only a myth that parents have no right to say what should and should not be presented to children in the public schools.
7. After you have contacted your legislator or other public official, then encourage your friends, relatives and neighbors to do the same.
8. Call on the various groups to help you in your efforts. Some of them are: The Pro Family Forum; Veterans of Foreign Wars; American Legion; large segments of the membership of free trade unions; and the majority of businessmen. Some church groups favor the balanced treat¬ment of creation-science, others oppose it.
9. Start petition drives in your neighborhood. The most effective approach would be to divide neighborhoods up into precincts and then blocks. Choose both precinct and block captains. The block captain would take the petition to every household on the block, then report back to the precinct captain who would coordinate the efforts and compile the petition signatures.
The petitions then should be presented to the elected of¬ficials.
10. Here are some of the basics you would need to know in order to talk to elected officials about creation-science:
* There are valid scientific evidences which point to a Creator as being responsible for everything in the universe. Thousands of scientists all across America believe this.
* Creation-science is just as scientific as evolution-science.
* There are textbooks available which present the balanced treatment of the two theories.
* The law of biogenesis, universally accepted, tells us that living matter does not originate from non-living matter. The law points to creation and refutes evolution. What’s wrong with presenting the law to schoolchildren?
* The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that the universe is gradually running down, not building up as the evolutionists would have us believe.
* In the fossil record, whenever man appeared he was a pure man. Monkeys were pure monkeys. All the so-called “missing links” have been proven to be hoaxes or errors. If man evolved from lower forms during a process which took millions of years, there should be billions of half-monkey half-men in the fossil record. But there are none and that points to creation.
* The creation-science movement in America today is not trying to get rid of the teaching of evolution. We are only asking that the alternative theory of creation be given equal time. This will allow the schoolchildren to make up their own minds and not be indoctrinated in only one point of view.
* You need to note that various Supreme Court rulings have said that government is supposed to remain neutral regarding religion. Yet, evolution is the religion of secular humanists, atheists, religious humanists and theological liberals. Therefore, teaching only evolution advances those religions that believe in evolution — and that’s unfair.
* The balanced treatment prohibits specific religious instruction. For instance, the creation story out of Genesis would not be taught. Instruction would be limited to those scientific evidences which point to creation or evolution.
11. Remember, the school board members or legislators will never know how you feel on the subject unless you tell them.
Remember that creation-science is pure science and has nothing to do with religion. But the strategy of the evolutionists is to try to make it appear only to be religion.
SciCre, “creation science”, “intelligent design”, and whatever antievolutionists decide to call the ensemble of bogus antievolution arguments that make up those movements are sectarian religion, which has no place in public school science classrooms. Even Glenn Shrom notes in the quote at the top that there exist culture wars worth fighting. This is the one i’ve volunteered for. It’s also the one Glenn Shrom is fighting, on the wrong side, picking up the sleazy, deceptive strategies behind SciCre and “creation science” and making them his own. It’s rather ironic that Glenn simply didn’t know enough about this topic when writing his book to accurately title it, Cluelessly Perpetuating the Culture Wars. Score yet another one for Santayana.