Why I Fight Antievolution, and Why You Should, Too
I've been involved in online discussions of evolution and SciCre since the mid-80's in various fora. I'm a longtime participant on talk.origins (since 1992), and the founder of the FidoNet Evolution Echo. I've contributed to the TalkOrigins Archive and am the current president of the TalkOrigins Foundation.
My major motivation in participation has been the issue of whether we will continue to teach science and only science in the science classroom.
In 1986, I attended a lecture given on YEC by a geologist. Not having much familiarity with geology, many of his arguments sounded not just plausible, but conclusive. After the lecture, I talked with the speaker, who gave me a copy of Henry Morris' "The Scientific Case for Creation". As I read that book, I started highlighting things that were pretty obviously contrafactual. I think that there are perhaps five pages total without highlighter in the book now. I also learned that many if not most of the arguments given by the original lecturer were also bogus. This helped spur me to investigate the topic further and get involved in the discussions.
The pattern of religious people telling false things in attacking evolution has held through the following years and the changes in terminology, from "creation science" and "scientific creationism" to "intelligent design" to "evidence against evolution". What remains are an ensemble of refuted or misleading arguments aimed at a denial of evolution.
But it is not enough to simply talk about the bad things that antievolutionists get up to. Back in 1997, I got involved in the Texas textbook selection process, working with the National Center for Science Education to help organize pro-science responses to antievolution criticism of the biology textbooks. 1997 was also the year that I got acquainted with "intelligent design" in a big way, having given a presentation at an ID conference early in the year. Since then, I've written book reviews, letters to the editor, and co-authored a peer-reviewed paper and a book chapter on intelligent design.
I now work at the National Center for Science Education, a non-profit organization that works to defend the teaching of evolution in public schools. NCSE helps people organize locally to respond to attempts to dilute, remove, or adulterate teaching of evolution in K-12 public schools. NCSE has been extraordinarily effective in countering the efforts of organizations many times its size with many times its tiny budget at their disposal.
But the effort to counter the anti-science antievolution movement needs more from working scientists. Scientists need to speak out, to become participants in this socio-political struggle. Yes, that means that you have to take time away from the lab to engage what looks to be a bloody stupid waste of time, as one of my colleagues put it. Complacency is not an option. Antievolution advocates have been taking advantage of the reticence of scientists to get involved in the process, and to manipulate the "framing of the issue" to minimize the contributions of scientists when they do enter the fray.
Scientists need to point out where antievolutionists get things wrong, certainly. 68% of respondents to a poll indicated that they trusted what scientists say, out-polling many other vocations. Your voice means something here, so make sure that you are heard.
This effort also needs the assistance of the clergy. When religious people use false information for their arguments, it reflects badly on the religion that claim to act for. This is the basic motivation I have had, to help correct some of the damage my fellow Christians have done in spreading the errors of antievolution. Hopefully, this problem will move members of the clergy to speak out against the antievolution movement.
You don't have to be a scientist or a clergyman to see the antievolution movement as a collection of falsehoods trying to pass itself off as informed scientific commentary. It does take some drive, though, to want to do something about the antievolution movement.
I want to offer this web site and its resources as a place for scientists, clergy, and concerned laymen who see a need for maintaining the integrity of science and religion to speak out against antievolution, and to organize resistance to the antievolution movement. Please join me in taking a stand here.