In part 1, I reported that in 2006, there were eight state Republican parties with antievolution planks embedded in their official platforms, and that in 2014, there were again eight such state Republican parties. (In 2006, Oregon’s was among them and North Dakota’s was not; in 2014, North Dakota’s was among them and Oregon’s was not.) The state Republican parties of Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas, were present in both lists. I now want to begin to compare the earlier and the later versions of these seven platforms; I’ll offer a few comments along the way.
In the Gospel According to Saint Mark, when teachers of the law accused Jesus of driving out demons in the name of the devil, he pointed out that this strategy would be ridiculously self-defeating (Mark 3:24-27):
Sorry. No funny hats, no crepe streamers, and no cake today. Instead, I’m talking about political parties, in particular state political parties in the United States. And I’m prompted by the news that the Alaska Republican Party recently revised its platform. According to Alaska Public Media (May 4, 2014), at its recent meeting, the party “condensed the Alaska Republican platform. Sections on education and crime were streamlined, and specific provisions on school vouchers, embryonic stem cell research, assisted suicide, and the teaching of creation science were removed.” Removing support for the teaching of creation science in Alaska’s public schools from a party platform is just a wee bit overdue, twenty-seven years after the Supreme Court’s decision in Edwards v. Aguillard (1987) that teaching creation science in the public schools is unconstitutional, but welcome nevertheless. Good job, Alaska Republicans.
William Buckland was one of the great geologists of the 19th century. He gave the first Latin binomial to a dinosaur, named coprolites and showed how they could help us reconstruct the lives of extinct animals, and discovered the oldest anatomically modern human fossil in the UK. He was also a cleric, succeeding “Soapy Sam” Wilberforce as Dean of Westminster. He took on the task of explaining geology in one of the Bridgewater Treatises, a series of books funded with a mandate to explore “the Power, Wisdom and Goodness of God, as manifested in the Creation.”
Acts & Facts is the monthly publication of the Institute for Creation Research, which equips “believers with evidence of the Bible’s accuracy and authority through scientific research…”
I have no expectation that televangelist Pat Robertson cares what I think. It’s even possible that, when it comes to creationism, his interests and mine may not be in full alignment.
But I think he should take Answers in Genesis and noted Ark enthusiast Ken Ham up on this offer:
About two thousand students in the eighth grade in California’s Rialto Unified School District—outside San Bernardino, in what Californians like to call the Inland Empire— were recently asked to “read and discuss multiple, credible articles on this issue, and write an argumentative essay, based on cited textual evidence, in which you explain whether or not you [accept the view under discussion].” Students were reminded to “address counterclaims (rebuttals) to your stated claim.” Evidently the teachers who devised the assignment wanted to encourage critical thinking, to teach the controversy, to expose the students to all sides of the evidence, to present the strengths and weaknesses. A member of the school board explained, “Teaching how to come to your own conclusion based on the facts, test your position, be able to articulate that position, then defend your belief with a lucid argument is essential to good citizenship.”
Last Sunday's episode of Cosmos nicely weaves together the history of science popularization with the development of a theory of electricity, the theory that makes it possible to disseminate shows like Cosmos so widely.