Ms. Carol Rupe
Ms. Sue Gamble
Dear Carol and Sue,
As you may have heard, we passed out copies of ICONS of Evolution to all members of the Kansas State Board of Education on Tuesday.
Although your terms do not begin until January, we thought you might also like to have some of these materials. Accordingly, I am enclosing a copy of ICONS for each of you along with copies of my remarks and those of four other speakers that made presentations to the Board. Also enclosed is a copy of an article in American Spectator which summarizes the new book.
Why is this book so important? I think the answer lies in a brief discussion that I had at the November meeting. I believe a remark was made to the effect that science focuses only on the observable and therefore perhaps it is ok to limit it to only naturalistic explanations. I believe I responded that, although naturalism might work with purely observable phenomena, it does not work with origins science and evolutionary biology which are essentially historical sciences.
The historicity of evolutionary biology is explained by Ernst Mayr in his article in the July 2000 issue of Scientific American. Mayr is touted by Scientific American as "one of the towering figures in the history of evolutionary biology." Mayr explains it this way:
What Icons of Evolution shows is that the 'historical narrative' that has been and is being presented to our children as the only factually viable theory is actually based on misrepresentations of the facts. Instead of being driven by the evidence, the 'historical narrative' is driven by the Naturalistic world view that all phenomena result only from the laws of chemistry and physics. This is applied materialistic philosophy, dressed up as science to protect it from criticism by a competing world view -- i.e., that life may be a product of design.
One reason naturalism should not drive a historical science is that historical sciences are necessarily susceptible to subjective accounts. This is because the focus is on past events which can not be tested by direct observation as in the case of physics and chemistry. When the account is driven by the philosophy of Naturalism rather than by the evidence, the "history" necessarily conforms itself to the philosophy and thereby loses all objectivity and credibility.
What if our newspaper reporters were directed by their editors to write accounts of past events using the philosophical assumption that all democratic viewpoints are not valid? We have seen the results of this kind of censorship on open and objective reporting in all dictatorial regimes, such as the Third Reich in Germany and communist Russia under Stalin. I can remember when we had Radio Free Europe radio stations beaming all the news to Russians because their government censored any views that were inconsistent with the communist manifesto.
The precise same thing is happening in our country with regard to the issue of what causes life and its diversity. That is essentially a historical question. If the history is driven by a Naturalistic agenda that censors one of the two competing hypotheses we will be engaging in the same sort of propaganda that characterized Nazi Germany and Communist Russia.
I hope you can find the time to read Jonathanís book. I know Jonathan. He is a brilliant scientist who also is a good writer. He has had numerous other scientists review his work for accuracy and content. Although its focus is on specific examples of misleading teachings, it also introduces the reader to the depths of the problems that evolutionary biologists have in explaining their version of the "historical narrative" of the origins of life and its diversity.
I realize that you and other Board members are in a difficult position. The reason is that you are "lay persons" that are being told that you must rely only on scientists for guidance on how to respond to this controversy. As outlined in my talk, that is precisely what you should not do. Although input from scientists holding both naturalistic and logical viewpoints is important, it is also essential that you and the Board consider the viewpoints of others when dealing with how to show children the evidence that bears on the historical question of what causes life and its diversity. Since the question involves logical, legal, philosophical and cultural issues, we need more than scientists to help us decide how to develop trustworthy, unbiased and objective "historical narrative[s] of the cause of life and its diversity."
I appreciate very much your willingness to listen.
Very truly yours
John H. Calvert
cc: Each member of the Kansas State Board of Education (w/o encl)