I try to stay away from Dinesh D’Souza’s ravings, but when you’ve got SIWOTI syndrome, the man is like a magnet of wrong. His one saving grace now is that his columns are so bad, I usually can’t get through the first paragraph without having to close the window. This one is no exception. One paragraph is all any normal person can take.
The real problem with Darwinism in the public school classroom is that it is often taught in an atheist way.
No, it is not. I’m about as ferocious an atheist as you’ll find in a classroom, and I’m at a university where I have more latitude than I would in a public school, and I don’t teach it “in an atheist way”. I teach it as a secular science. Secular ≠ atheist. Secular just means that you teach it in a way that a rational Christian or Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or atheist professor can all agree that it should be taught, and that a rational Christian or Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or atheist student should be able to learn it.
Textbooks by biologists like William Provine and Richard Dawkins routinely assert that evolution has done away with the need for God.
Provine and Dawkins have written public school biology textbooks? That’s news to all of us.
Last I looked, the most popular biology textbook in the public high schools was Miller and Levine — the Ken Miller who is a Catholic and preaches for theistic evolution. Let’s spell that out for D’Souza: The most popular biology textbook is not written by an atheist. He doesn’t even like atheism. He hasn’t even wandered accidentally in the direction of agnosticism. There isn’t so much as a hint of a wobble of doubt in his public discussions of faith. The man is annoyingly Catholic.
The textbooks are secular. They teach the widely agreed-upon material evidence and natural interpretations of the world. A Catholic or an atheist can use that book equally well.
In my introductory biology course, I use Life, by Sadava, Heller, Orians, Purves, and Hillis. I don’t know what the religious beliefs of any of the authors might be, and I don’t care. Is that what D’Souza thinks “atheism” means, that we can teach the evidence without recourse to whatever theological dogmas or metaphysical irrelevancies we might have? That sounds like a good thing to me.
The claim is that chance and natural selection have demonstrated that we can have design–or the appearance of design–without a designer.
Well, yes, we have. We don’t need a designer to explain biology; some people choose to stick one in there (which I personally find silly and pointless), but that’s not what we discuss in the biology classroom. We talk about biology there. The other stuff we do on blogs and in books and in public speaking events.
In this sense Darwinism becomes propaganda for atheism.
Nah, reality is propaganda for atheism. If you’ve got a religious belief that withers in the face of observations of the natural world, you ought to rethink your beliefs — rethinking the world isn’t an option.
What D’Souza is railing against isn’t atheism, since atheism isn’t being taught — it’s secularism. And his agenda is empty: he’s just complaining that he doesn’t like the secular consensus on science, but he doesn’t come right and admit what his only alternative to secularism is, which is to teach religion in the science lab.