Errors in Scientific American

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Several 'popular errors' have found their way into the March 2002 issue of Scientific American, in a spiteful article 'Down with evolution!'-creationists are changing state educational standards.

If a mistake is reprinted often enough, it becomes sacrosanct-no one questions it, no one verifies it. Several such “popular errors” have found their way into the March 2002 issue of Scientific American, in a spiteful article “Down with evolution!”-creationists are changing state educational standards.

Author Rodger Doyle purports to give the most salient facts in the current debate over science standards in US public schools. While Answers in Genesis is encouraged by the ongoing public debate on science standards, it is essential that people on every side handle the facts openly and fairly.

One piece of information that has been almost universally misreported in this debate is the 1999 decision by the Kansas board of education. Doyle wrote that “the Kansas Board of Education [decided] to eliminate evolution from the state’s science standards.” In reality, the board only mildly de-emphasized evolution in their science standards; it did not eliminate evolution altogether. AiG carefully examined the standards and found prominent references to biological evolution. See our Web article Confusion in Kansas—Evolution not Outlawed!

Another popular misconception is the validity of a September 2000 report called “Good science, bad science: Teaching evolution in the states.” At the time of its release, AiG posted a lengthy critique, showing how farcical it was. AiG’s critique concludes:

“Lerner’s ‘report’ on teaching ‘science’ is really a work of advocacy of teaching ‘goo-to-you-via-the-zoo’ evolution. Because this is essential for atheism, it must be taught at all costs, even if it means using discredited evidence. Lerner’s work also displays a deliberate fudging of meanings about the word ‘evolution’ and misrepresents what creationists actually teach. And he fails to demonstrate that evolution is essential for science, and he refuses to acknowledge the creationist basis for modern science itself, as well as the continuing contributions by creationists.”

Yet the just-released Scientific American rehashes the highlights of this study, without acknowledging its invalid methodology and blatant errors.

Anyone serious about “getting the facts straight” would certainly want to double-check a report funded by the humanist group, People for the American Way. Yet Doyle glibly quotes from a PFAW survey, in an effort to show that “creationists have been able to alter state education standards despite being a fairly small minority.” Small minority? The editors at Scientific American should have looked at the study for themselves. Its results have been widely misreported, as AiG showed in the article America says, “Teach creation in public schools!’ The majority of Americans (79%) favor the teaching of creationism in some form.

Rodger Doyle made no secret about his disdain for creationism. He is sadly representative of many in the secular media who misrepresent creationists as narrow and dogmatic. AiG, for example, strongly supports academic freedom. Like most everyone else, we agree about the need to teach evolution, but we also believe that instructors should have the freedom to present the problems with evolution. Ironically, Darwinists seem to have missed one of the main lessons of the Scopes trial of 1925-tolerance of opposing viewpoints.

The debate over science standards will not go away, in spite of the secular media’s efforts to downplay it, to repeat errors and to misrepresent creationists.

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