Ken Connor

Editors of the New York Times join in the fray by calling the law "Louisiana's latest assault on Darwin." The New York Times goes as far as to state that the "critical thinking" and "objective analysis", which the law promotes but does not require, will have a "pernicious effect" on the theory of evolution by "implying that evolution is only weakly supported and that there are valid competing scientific theories when there are not." Why are the editors at the Times so sure that critical thinking and objective analysis will have a pernicious effect on evolution's claims? If there are no valid competing claims, wouldn't rigorous scrutiny reinforce that conclusion? If the editors are so sure of themselves, what are they so afraid of?

The Louisiana Science and Education Act clearly states that it "shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine" or "promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs." Moreover, the act includes an added check by giving the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education the authority to prohibit any supplemental materials they do not deem fit for the proper education of the state's students. But these safeguards, no doubt included in an attempt to allay the hysteria of the hysterical, are of no matter. Secularists see any contrary hypotheses to their coveted issues as a direct threat to science itself. Somehow, in the minds of the so-called enlightened, allowing for the presentation and critique of differing views is unscientific (not to mention their fears that it could bring into dispute things they claim are "indisputable").

The conflict over Louisiana's new law is just another battle in the war over the truth and who gets to control it. In Galileo's day, the Church reigned supreme. Today, it's the anti-Church. But a funny thing about the truth is that no one can control it because sooner or later it reveals itself. No matter how many times Al Gore says the "science is settled," more information arrives to unsettle things. Even Albert Einstein, a celebrated secularist, was not afraid of what the truth might be. He declared, "By academic freedom I understand the right to search for truth and to publish and teach what one holds to be true. This right implies also a duty: one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true. It is evident that any restriction on academic freedom acts in such a way as to hamper the dissemination of knowledge among the people and thereby impedes national judgment and action."

Secularists maintain that they put their faith in science. If so, one wonders why they resort to demagoguery to defend their so-called scientific positions. Undoubtedly, it is because they fear what "critical thinking," "logical analysis," and "open and objective discussion" might reveal.

Ken Connor

Ken Connor is Chairman of the Center for a Just Society in Washington, DC.