standard evolution practice

John Grehan jrg13 at
Fri Aug 13 08:07:33 EDT 1999

James J. Kruse wrote

>My posting was more of a reaction to an example of 'thought police'. I
>think that people should be exposed to a variety of theories in school and
>be allowed to subscribe to whatever theory they desire, provided they can
>defend their position intelligently. Disallowing the instruction in
>certain theories because you (or your group) disagree and therefore you do
>not want anyone to hear about any of the competing theories is deeply
>revolting to me.

This is actually standard scientific practice in the teaching of evolution.
everyone may be involved to the same degree, but there are many evolutionists
who have a very strong view on what is the right evolutionary perspective
that alternatives are either not mentioned, or are cast in such a dubious
that they are not taken seriously. Students (especially university students)
appear to be discouraged from independant thinking - many seem to be
parrots for their teachers or supervisors. The suppression of other views
is standard practice in science, and evolution is no exception. I'm not
saying that this is necessarily wrong, but its just how evolutionary science
normally works. So when creationists attempt to suppress evolution,
they are also carrying out the same practice. The trouble seems to stem
from scientists telling the public that science is objective, when it is not. 

I notice that James expresses the desire to exposed to a variety of theories
and allowed to subscribe to the theory that they desire provided they

Firstly I would note the emphasis on theories as opposed to scientific
methodologies. Secondly, this demand of intellegent defense can be 
problematic. As a practioner of a minority research program in evolution
(panbiogeography) I have experienced the problem of defeding a 
methodology that was so different from orthodoxy that the opponents
could not understand enough to know whether my defense was 
"intellegent" or not, but the very stand I chose was taken as evidence
that I did not have an intellegent perspective in the first place! Science
is tricky stuff.

John Grehan

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