It's the holiday season, which means that cheer and values like charity, academic freedom, tolerance, and diversity are abounding--but apparently not among Darwin's defenders in the United Kingdom. A recent angry editorial by the "Atheist Examiner" titled "Creationists try to sneak Intelligent Design into school libraries" tells the story -- except that it's not the actual story.
The correct story is that "Truth in Science," a British organization allied with a number of credible British scientists and academics, is offering Explore Evolution to school libraries. Contra the "Atheist Examiner" article, the textbook Explore Evolution does not argue for intelligent design, but rather presents students with the scientific evidence both for and against neo-Darwinian evolution. Intelligent design is not advocated in the book. What the book does contain are numerous references to mainstream scientific publications raising serious questions about core aspects of neo-Darwinian evolution. The textbook's authors include university faculty and Ph.D. scientists from top institutions. The real story here is that because the textbook challenges Darwinism, British evolutionists want it banned from public school libraries.
In that regard, the "Atheist Examiner" quotes a letter from a librarian in Wales who boasted about his efforts to ban Explore Evolution from his library and protect his students from its arguments. As the librarian writes in New Humanist:
The "textbook" is in essence a vehicle for smuggling in the idea of intelligent design by the back door. The claim that it ‘increase[s] ... understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of modern evolutionary theory’ is, to put it politely, verging on the disingenuous.
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As both a school librarian entrusted with helping teachers shape the minds of young citizens and promote critical enquiry, and as a citizen concerned with the quality of public education in this county, I am worried that this book, which will have undoubtedly been sent to other schools, might be taken at face value and find its way into libraries and classrooms.
I’d therefore be grateful if you could help spread the truth about this book, both to illustrate one of the underhand ways in which proponents of intelligence design – who include, it appears from the publicity sheet, some scientists holding senior posts in respectable academic institutions – seek to propagate their beliefs, and to assist librarians, teachers and others interested in promoting a proper understanding of science and society.
Don't be fooled by the librarian's Newspeak about promoting "critical enquiry": in reality, he's promoting plain old-fashioned censorship of views he doesn't like. The type of "enquiry" sought by this librarian is the kind that supports Darwin, and Darwin only. Textbooks like that raise doubts about Darwin--even when authored by well-credentialed university faculty citing the mainstream scientific literature--must be banned by the thought police. Darwin-skeptics need not apply.
Is this what groups like the "Atheist Examiner" and "New Humanist" stand for--academic censorship of viewpoints that challenge Darwinism? Let's hope that this Christmas season true critical thinking is allowed in school libraries in the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, where students are given full access to the scientific data and are allowed to think for themselves--even if that leads to questioning Darwinism.