Junk Science
©William Gairdner


    Why do teachers so often force-feed kids one-sided facts and theories about the world? Wouldn't education be much more stimulating if schools focused on broad underlying debates, instead of assumed dogma?

And then there is Darwin. Children are regularly told to learn Darwin's 1859 theory of evolution (you know: from non-life, to cell, to invertebrate, to fish, to amphibian, to reptile, to mammal, to primate, to man) as a scientific fact, instead of as a mere theory, which is what Darwin knew it was. He was certain that completion of the fossil record would eventually show a regular evolutionary gradation, instead of separate species with huge gaps between them. But - surprise - no transitional types have been found. All animal and plant species appeared suddenly in the fossil record, and are as separate as ever. Species do not change into other species. Even Harvard's Stephen Jay Gould, an evolutionist, says the highly embarassing absence of transitional forms is "the trade secret of paleontology."

     The really exciting educational fact here is that Darwin's theory of evolution has been attacked with increasing severity and power this century by prestigious paleontologists, geologists, transformed cladists, discontinuists, molecular biologists, creationists (religious as well as atheistic), and proponents of intelligent design. How exciting. Here is a field that shook the world, getting shaken down itself. A theory that shook religion...has become a religion!

     But you wouldn't know it to read most school textbooks or classnotes. There you find more interest in confining students to stale theories, junk science, and politicized social theory, than offering the far more interesting and complicated truth. Too bad.