Pliny's Academic Freedom Statute: Teaching the Controversy

The Discovery Institute (a name that George Orwell would have loved) has posted its version of academic freedom legislation that right thinkers can use as a basis for a cavalcade of proposed bills to chip away at scientific enlightenment. So in a similar vein, Pliny is posting his language that can be used in the front of science texts or recited by teachers to satisfy these stringent requirements laid out in these statutes.

Teaching the Controversy surrounding Descent with Modification

The Board of Education of the State of _________ is another victim in an ongoing culture war between science and superstition dressed in sheep's clothing. Scared to death by the scientific and philosophical implications of the theory of evolution, which could result in a major loss in status, power and revenues, Christian fundamentalist leaning groups have successfully employed the marketing tactics and sound bites used to get us to part with billions of our hard earned dollars buying stuff we don't need, to steadily erode scientific literacy in this country further creating fertile ground for their relentless efforts to return our precious family values and world view to the safety of the 13th century.

Despite the fact that evolutionary theory is more firmly supported by mountains of evidence from multiple disparate disciplines than is our understanding of gravity, these marketeers have successfully created a sense of controversy where none exists aided by decades of work in weakening the public school system's treatment of science. In the face of a relentless stream of new discoveries supporting evolution, creationist marketeers follow the example of Major General O. P. Smith, and "attack in another direction". These opponents will stoop to amazing depths to misrepresent the science of evolution while simultaneously claiming the moral high ground. Demonstrating that lipstick on a pig can indeed be convincing, these religiously motivated groups continue to intelligently design their messaging to avoid objections that derailed their earlier efforts to snuff out the candles of enlightenment. Coining secular sounding names like Intelligent Design, these creationists deny their God thousands of times more than Saint Peter in an effort to save our morals - with the obvious exception of truth telling.

Creationists are aided by the media which either does not understand or is unwilling to present a cogent representation of the scale of the immense disparity between those who oppose evolution and the vast array of actual science supporting it. They are further aided by politicians who are either reluctant to alienate a block of voters, chose to pander to said voting block, or are ignorant of the facts to a degree that makes one fear for the nation's future.

The pseudo-controversy surrounding evolutionary theory is an outstanding example of the successful use of populist adversarial tactics to undermine the foundations of science in a Democracy. As such it is a fertile topic for discussions of group think and behavioral psychology rather than biology.

Now that that is over with, we can get on with learning some hard science. Let's all open our biology texts to page...

Citing Pliny is not necessary. Use it as you see fit...


mac said...

We wonder why American kids do so miserably when compared acedemically with other nations?

I think this "creating of controversy towards science" is a real problem.

GearHedEd said...

"...They are further aided by politicians who are either reluctant to alienate a block of voters, chose to pander to said voting block, or are ignorant of the facts to a degree that makes one fear for the nation's future."

Slimy-ass politicians! That's the reason I never wanted to attempt to gain public office: I believe (as I also believe many politicians do in their little black hearts) that religion is bullshit. And I won't lie and say it's not just for votes, but the politicians do.

Stacy said...

I believe that also, GearHead

Michael Lockridge said...

That might serve your mission, but don't you think an evolution line of fashion would work better?

Hot Topic, or maybe Abercrombie and Fitch. Just reduce it all to a few words and a striking icon.

Oh, and vampires. Very popular. I don't know where they fit in the actual theory of evolution, but spin specialists could fit them in somewhere.

If you could demonstrate the profitability of evolution and build the funding you could buy enough slimy politicians to tip the scales in your battle.

Oh, yeah. Celebrity spokespersons. Yeah. That and the right movie scripts. I can't recall the last time I saw a good evolution film.

Well, that should be enough ideas to get you started. Good luck in the battle!


Asylum Seeker said...

On the vampires and evolution note, I actually heard some random thing on the History Channel about Bram Stoker's idea of Dracula being inspired by the idea of evolutionary and of a potential link between men and animals. Inspired, he came up with a vampire who had a wide variety of primal and bestial tendencies underneath a facade of humanity. Also: bats.

The popularity of vampires today is rather annoying, what with the Twilight series of books that sound like you would get if you grabbed the Harry Potter series' vast and varied target audience and decided to shove a fairly typical romance novel into that frame. It is also the possible reason for the local university having something called "vampire week" or something to that effect. It just drives a stake through my heart...

What was the original topic again?

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Seeker - that is one of the joys of the blogosphere - the Brownian motion of our attentions ;)

Asylum Seeker said...

It really exists in our society at large and most of the internet. But its only in the blogosphere that we can really make that jerky and unstable stream of consciousness clear enough for the entire world to see. And it is truly glorious.

Stacy said...

I LIKED the Harry Potter series, seeker. :-) Maybe I'll try those vampire books.

pboyfloyd said...

Gee Mike, the profitablity of evolution.

I think that's called genetics.

That's spelled gee eee en eee tee eye cee ess.

Look for it!

Michael Lockridge said...

I thought genetics was just a ploy created by attorneys so that they could earn a fortune blocking genetic engineering.

Kind of like the "war on drugs." Except for the street dealer and street user (who are sacrificed to perpetuate the war) everyone makes money. Politicians, attorneys, gangsters and cops.

Attorneys. Hey, aren't they making money off of both sides of this evolution/creation thing?

This really is a bit of a Bleak House.