John G. West Political Scientist and Cultural Critic

Texas Debate Update: Stephen Meyer Demolishes Eugenie Scott’s One Argument

Published at Evolution News

I’m posting the following report for Casey Luskin, who is currently in Texas at the expert hearing before the Texas State Board of Education.

AUSTIN, TX—The NCSE and their friends at the Texas Freedom Network (TFN) are here in Texas and they have one main argument. Or maybe two. The first argument basically says this: Don’t listen to any of these guys because they’re creationists. Creationists. Creationists. Creationists.
Creationists. Did I mention that they’re just creationists?

The logical fallacies and falsehoods in this short sound-byte argument are legion. They include: motive-mongering, false premise, the genetic fallacy, and perhaps most of all hypocrisy.

As Meyer testified, he fully accepts a billions of years old earth. He doesn’t fit Eugenie Scott’s “creationist” mold.

Moreover, as Meyer testified, this motive-mongering distracts from the evidence, and a really fascinating scientific debate. I would add that Eugenie’s obsession with her opponents’ alleged religious beliefs is hypocrisy: After all, she’s a signer of the Third Humanist Manifesto. But Steve Meyer had more integrity and better arguments to say than to stand up and say “Don’t listen to Eugenie Scott because she’s a Secular Humanist, Secular Humanist, Secular Humanist.” In fact, Meyer’s exact words in his written testimony for such persons was, “if some scientists make the theory of evolution into a religion or worldview, I have no problem with that. That is their right.”

Instead of motive-mongering, Dr. Meyer annihilated Eugenie’s and the TFN’s other main argument, which could, if it were true, actually hold rhetorical validity: It’s their facade that neo-Darwinian evolution has no scientific weaknesses. It’s a pretty easy argument to demolish. Dr. Meyer presented the Texas State Board of Education with four thick binders full of over 100 mainstream scientific articles that express scientific challenges to key aspects of neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory, especially challenging the arguments used to support it in biology textbooks.

You can always tell the strength of a person’s position based upon the kinds of arguments they make. If the NCSE and TFN’s obsession with the “creationists” and their predictable bluff that neo-Darwinism has no weaknesses has one purpose: to distract people from the scientific evidence. That’s what they want the board to do, so the board will adopt standards that will not inform students about scientific weaknesses in evolution.

Hopefully the Texas State Board of Education will adopt standards that choose truth over distractions, and academic freedom over fear.

John G. West

Senior Fellow, Managing Director, and Vice President of Discovery Institute
Dr. John G. West is Vice President of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and Managing Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Formerly the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, West is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker who has written or edited 12 books, including Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, and Walt Disney and Live Action: The Disney Studio’s Live-Action Features of the 1950s and 60s. His documentary films include Fire-Maker, Revolutionary, The War on Humans, and (most recently) Human Zoos. West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University, and he has been interviewed by media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Time magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.
Discovery Institute