Miss-covery Institute

Well! What exciting news out of Ohio! The state school board removed language from the curriculum requiring “critical analysis” of evolution. I won’t get into the details, as they are better covered at The Panda’s Thumb, but there was a quote in the NY Times that floored me. Here it is.

“It’s an outrageous slap in the face to the citizens of Ohio,” said John G. West, associate director of the Center for Science and Culture at the [Discovery] institute, referring to several polls that show public support for criticism of evolution in science classes.

“The effort to try to suppress ideas that you dislike, to use the government to suppress ideas you dislike, has a failed history,” Mr. West said. “Do they really want to be on the side of the people who didn’t want to let John Scopes talk or who tried to censor Galileo?”

The Discovery Instutitue using Galileo and Scopes as an example of their ideology’s persecution? That is truly spinning my head. If I could hook it up to a generator, I’m sure I could power this computer with it. Let’s review, shall we:

  • The Scopes trial focused on a man be prosecuted for violating state law by teaching evolutionary theory in the classroom.
  • Galileo was censored by the Church not because the Church didn’t believe the science, but because the Copernican worldview conflicted with the Aristotelian dogma that the heavens were perfect and unchanging. In another word: Politics.

Of these two examples, only the second has any applicability to today’s situation, and that is only if you ignore all of the cultural developments made since the 17th century. Today, we are not in the habit of ignoring scientific evidence just because somebody told us to. We’ve had nearly 400 years to separate (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) the scientific process from the political process.

Suffice to say, that quote amuses me.

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