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The New York Times in defense of evolution


The May 17, 2005, issue of The New York Times featured both a forceful editorial and a powerful op-ed article on the topic of threats to science education. "Every time the critics of Darwinism lose a battle over reshaping the teaching of biology," the editorial observes, "they evolve into a new form, armed with arguments that sound progressively more benign, while remaining as dangerous as ever." Citing the historical progression in antievolutionist argumentation from traditional forms of creationism to "intelligent design" creationism to "a critical analysis of supposed weaknesses in the theory of evolution," The Times notes that in Kansas, the so-called minority report version of the state science standards "seeks to change the definition of science in a way that appears to leave room for supernatural explanations of the origin and evolution of life, not just natural explanations, the usual domain of science," which it flatly describes as "wildly inappropriate for a public school curriculum."

In the Science Times section of the same issue, physicist Lawrence M. Krauss's commentary "School boards want to 'teach the controversy.' What controversy?" begins by noting that "Evolutionary biology is not the only science that appears to raise theological issues," citing his own scientific specialty of cosmology as a further example. But, he argues, these issues are not themselves scientific. "It is possible for profoundly atheist evolutionary biologists like Dr. Dawkins and deeply spiritual ones like Dr. Kenneth Miller of Brown University, who writes extensively on evolution, to be in complete agreement about the scientific mechanism governing biological evolution, and the fact that life has evolved via natural selection," Krauss writes. "Students are completely free to make up their own minds, in any case. What is at issue is whether they will be taught the science that should allow them to make an informed judgment. But impugning the substance of the science, or requiring the introduction of essentially theological ideas like 'intelligent design' into the curriculum, merely muddies the water by imposing theological speculations on a scientific theory."