“La la la la – I’m not listening…”

The National Center for Science Education shared a link to a radio program:

Is the Louisiana Family Forum ruining education in the state? Is Darwin responsible for Columbine? Hear Barbara Forrest and Judge Darrell White go toe-to-toe on WRKF radio (Baton Rouge). To tune in, go to http://www.wrkf.org/multimedia/index.php?id=1 and select “The Jim Engster Show” from the dropdown menu on the left, then click the December 3 show entry on the right. The debate starts at 21:42.

I listened to it this morning, and while I’ll mention that White repeatedly refers to evolution as “nineteenth-century junk science” and that one cannot logically discredit evolution because two crazy teenagers referred to natural selection regarding their high school shooting rampage (“Ideas have consequences, Jim” / “fallout of mindless ideology” – well, what about killing in the name of God?), I’m more interested in a bit in there about quote-mining. White wants criticisms of evolution to be taught in public school biology classes, Forrest of course supports sound science education (read her letter to the editor). From the radio program:

27:30 Forrest: [in response to White comparing Darwin’s rebuttal in a later edition of On the Origin of Species to Mivart’s criticism that natural selection cannot account for incipient stages of useful structures to intelligent design proponent Michael Behe’s claims that cellular structures are irreducibly complex] “Well, here we have a case of, of Darwin being misused for the agenda of the Louisiana Family Forum. What’s happening here is that the Louisiana Family Forum is attacking science in the textbooks, and the work of scientists that they themselves don’t even properly understand. First of all, in Darwin’s Origin of Species, Darwin was doing what any good scientist does – he recognized the criticisms that might be made against his ideas, and he provided answers to them. And what Mr.White is doing is what creationists always do, they pick quotes, they cherry-pick quotes out of context and try to use them for their advantage.”

29:47 White: “Well, again, we’re in favor of teaching more Darwin than the textbooks allow, and that would include questions, for example, Darwin himself raised, in his introduction Darwin said ‘a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing all of the facts on both sides of each question.’ The textbooks simply do not do that.”

Just over two minutes after Forrest talked about how creationists pick quotes out of context for their advantage, White does exactly that! When he said that Darwin had said “a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing all of the facts on both sides of each question,” he’s referring to this line, which is indeed from the introduction of On the Origin of Species:

A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.

Unfortunately, as I’ve pointed out twice before, Darwin is not stating that all sides are equal concerning debate over evolution, but rather that he cannot properly offer all the facts he has in support of evolution in On the Origin of Species, which was much shorter than the book he really wanted to write.

White: “La la la la – I’m not listening…”


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