Choose wisdom, choose science: Sandefur savages TEA position against evolution

Must government agencies be “neutral” between science and non-science, between evolution and intelligent design?

The Texas Education Agency lost it’s long-time science curriculum expert Chris Comer last year in a sad incident in which Comer was criticized for siding with Texas education standards on evolution rather than remaining neutral between evolution and intelligent design.

Comes now Timothy Sandefur of the very conservative Pacific Legal Foundation with an article in the Chapman Law Review which argues that science is solid, a good way of determining good from bad, dross from gold. Plus, Sandefur refutes claims that evolution is religion, and so illegal in public schools. TEA’s position in the Comer affair is shown to be not defensible legally; Sandefur’s article also points out that the post-modern relativism of the TEA’s argument is damaging to the search for knowledge and freedom, too.

In short, Sandefur’s article demonstrates that the position of the Texas Education Agency is untenable in liberty and U.S. law.

Moreover, science is an essential part of the training for a free citizen because the values of scientific discourse — respect, freedom to dissent, and a demand for logical, reasoned arguments supported by evidence — create a common ground for people of diverse ethnicities and cultures. In a nation made up of people as different as we are, a commitment to tolerance and the search for empirically verifiable, logically established, objective truth suggests a path to peace and freedom. Our founding fathers understood this. Professor Sherry has said it well: “it is difficult to envision a civic republican polity — at least a polity with any diversity of viewpoints — without an emphasis on reason. . . . In a diverse society, no [definition of ‘the common good’] can develop without reasoned discourse.”

Science’s focus on empirical evidence and demonstrable theories is part of an Enlightenment legacy that made possible a peaceful and free society among diverse equals. Teaching that habit of mind is of the essence for keeping our civilization alive. To reject the existence of positive truth is to deny the possibility of common ground, to undermine the very purpose of scholarly, intellectual discourse, and to strike at the root of all that makes our values valuable and our society worthwhile. It goes Plato one better — it is the ignoble lie. At a time when Americans are threatened by an enemy that rejects science and reason, and demands respect for dog-mas entailing violence, persecution, and tyranny, nothing more deserves our attention than nourishing respect for reason.


The debate over evolution and creationism has raged for a long time, and will continue to do so. The science behind evolution is overwhelming and only continues to grow, but those who insist that evolution is false will continue to resist its promulgation in schools. The appeal to Postmo-dernism represents the most recent — and so far, the most desperate — attempt on the part of creationists to support their claim that the teaching of valid, empirically-tested, experimentally-confirmed science in government schools is somehow a violation of the Constitution. When shorn of its sophisticated-sounding language, however, this argument is beneath serious consideration. It essentially holds that truth is meaningless; that all ways of knowing — whether it be the scientist’s empirically tested, experimentally confirmed, well-documented theory, or the mumbo-jumbo of mystics, psychics, and shamans — are equally valid myths; and that government has no right to base its policies on solid evidence rather than supernatural conjurations. This argument has no support in epistemology, history, law, or common sense. It should simply not be heard again.

Chapman Law Review, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2008

Sandefur’s article is available online in .pdf format at the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).

Is anyone at the Texas Education Agency listening?

Tip of the old scrub brush to Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars.

One Response to Choose wisdom, choose science: Sandefur savages TEA position against evolution

  1. It will be heard again!


    Things will never be the same in academia after this.

    There is a new discipline on the scene: physical science, the old science of cause and effect.
    Against the backdrop of a nation embroiled in debate and legal battles over whether creationism or evolution, or both, should be taught in the classroom, The Quest for Right proclaims a


    The Quest for Right, a series of seven textbooks designed for the public schools, represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences. As a result, the several volumes have accomplished that which, heretofore, was deemed impossible: to level the playing field between those who desire a return to physical science in the classroom and those who embrace the theory of evolution. The Quest for Right turns the tide by providing an authoritative and enlightening scientific explanation of natural phenomena which will ultimately replace the unprofitable Darwinian view.

    The backbone of Darwinism is not biological evolution per se, but electronic interpretation, the tenet that all physical, chemical, and biological processes result from a change in the electron structure of the atom which, in turn, may be deciphered through the orderly application of mathematics, as outlined in quantum mechanics. A few of the supporting theories are: degrading stars, neutron stars, black holes, extraterrestrial water, antimatter, the absolute dating systems, and the big bang, the explosion of a singularity infinitely smaller than the dot of an “i” from which space, time, and the massive stellar bodies supposedly sprang into being.

    The philosophy rejects any divine intervention. Therefore, let the philosophy of Darwinism be judged on these specifics: electron interpretation and quantum mechanics. Conversely, the view that God is both responsible for and rules all the phenomena of the universe will stand or fall when the facts are applied. The view will not hinge on faith alone, but will be tested by the weightier principle of verifiable truths – the new discipline.

    The Quest for Right is not only better at explaining natural phenomena, but also may be verified through testing. As a result, the material in the several volumes will not violate the so-called constitutional separation of church and state. Physical science, the old science of cause and effect, will have a long-term sustainability, replacing irresponsible doctrines based on whim. Teachers and students will rejoice in the simplicity of earthly phenomena when entertained by the new discipline. You will not want to miss the adventure of a lifetime that awaits you in Volume 1 of The Quest for Right, by C. David Parsons.

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    The Quest for Right in the news:

    Some 175 copies of Volume 1 were shipped to Florida school board members on Feb. 5th. Another 500 are slated to be shipped to Texas and South Carolina officials. We feel that this series will be the ones taught in the public schools.


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