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Good, some sanity from the federal judiciary. Considering who’s appointing federal judges these days, this is not something you can take for granted.
I’m sick of having to give these fundamentalist fools the benefit of the doubt on this creationism nonsense. There is no doubt. Organisms have always evolved, and will continue to evolve. The universe has always evolved, and will carry on in this mode till the end of time. In fact, time has always evolved. This nasty know-nothing time in our culture shall pass. Just have to have faith.
Regarding evolution of organisms, do the creationists doubt that natural selection is taking place all around us? After all, natural selection is the mechanism that Darwin focused on to describe the ever-changing fit between organisms and their environments, and the steady modification of organisms themselves that result from the individual’s struggle for life, sustenance, and procreation. How can the fundamentalists seriously deny the manifestations of this mechanism (especially the steady progression of new hominid forms up through and including our own species) without going after the mechanism itself? And if they deny that natural selection takes place, they'll have to deny some indisputable facts of existence: people differ from their parents, some people don't beget children, some people have more children than other people, some lineages die off and don't pass their genes to future generations ad infinitum. We--ever single one of us--exist through the grace of that lucky "ad infinitum" chain of "x begot y begot z." It's the getting and begetting of the significant others through all eternity that constitutes natural selection, which is the driver of evolution. Heck, even Genesis acknowledges the centrality of the beget-chain.
The comic component of all this is the idiotic disclaimer sticker that some Georgia schoolboard affixed to books that mention evolution. Here’s what the now-struck-down stickers said:
• “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.”
I agree with the last sentence. Critical thinking is important. It’s the basis of scientific inquiry, and the vast sweep of scientific inquiry has more than established evolution of species as a fact. As much a fact as the observation that spring follows winter annually in the temperate zones of our planet. Or that objects tend to drop to earth when allowed to fall freely.
I think this schoolboard should have been more consistent in its approach. I’d like to have seen them apply that disclaimer to any established, confirmed body of scientific knowledge discussed in the book. The disclaimers would have choked out the actual book text. For example:
• “This textbook contains material on GRAVITATION, which is a theory, not a fact. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”
• “This textbook contains material on CIRCULATION OF THE BLOOD, which is a theory, not a fact. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”
• “This textbook contains material on PHOTOSYNTHESIS, which is a theory, not a fact. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”
And so on. For every scientific discovery since Aristotle. Just for consistency’s sake.