The Real Problem With Darwinism

DINESH D'SOUZA

The real problem with Darwinism in the public school classroom is that it is often taught in an atheist way.

The claim is that chance and natural selection have demonstrated that we can have design — or the appearance of design — without a designer. In this sense Darwinism becomes propaganda for atheism.

Typically evangelical Christians seek to counter this atheism by trying to expose the flaws in the Darwinian account of evolution. This explains the appeal of "creation science" and the "intelligent design" (ID) movement. These critiques, however, have not made any headway in the scientific community and they have also failed whenever they have been tried in the courts. Fortunately there is a better way.

Consider this: the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits public schools from teaching or promoting atheism in any way. How do I know this? Well, the religion clauses of the First Amendment protect the "free exercise" of religion and at the same time forbid the "establishment" of religion. Courts have routinely held that the free exercise clause protects not only religious beliefs but also the absence of religious beliefs. If you are fired from your government job because you are an atheist, your First Amendment rights have been violated. In other words, the term "religion" means not only "religion" but also "atheism."


Schools would be on notice that they cannot use scientific facts to draw metaphysical conclusions in favor of atheism.


Yet if the free exercise clause defines religion in a way that includes atheism, then the no-establishment clause must define religion in the same way. So the agencies of government are prohibited from "establishing" not only religion but also atheism. This means that just as a public school teacher cannot advocate Christianity or hand out Bibles to his students, so too public school textbooks and science teachers cannot advocate atheism.

I'd like to see Christian legal groups suing school districts for promoting atheism in the biology classroom. No need to produce creationist or ID critiques of Darwinism. All that is necessary is to parade the atheist claims that have made their way into the biology textbooks and biology lectures. The issue isn't the scientific inadequacy of evolution but the way in which it is being used to undermine religious belief and promote unbelief. If the case can be made that atheism is being advocated in any way, then the textbooks would have to be rewritten and classroom presentations changed to remove the offending material. Schools would be on notice that they cannot use scientific facts to draw metaphysical conclusions in favor of atheism.

In this way Darwinism in the public schools would no longer be a threat to religion in general or Christianity in particular.

 


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Dinesh D'Souza. "The Real Problem With Darwinism." Dinesh D'Souza Blog (April 2, 2008).

This article reprinted with permission from Dinesh D'Souza.

THE AUTHOR

Dinesh D'Souza is the Robert and Karen Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. D'Souza has been called one of the "top young public-policy makers in the country" by Investor’s Business Daily. His areas of research include the economy and society, civil rights and affirmative action, cultural issues and politics, and higher education. Dinesh D'Souza's latest book is What's So Great About Christianity. He is also the author of: The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, Letters to a Young Conservative, What's So Great about America, Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus; The End of Racism; Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader; and The Virtue of Prosperity: Finding Values in an Age of Techno-Affluence. Dinesh D'Souza is on the Advisory Board of the Catholic Education Resource Center. Visit his website here.

Copyright © 2008 Dinesh D'Souza




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