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Evolution Echo

Creationism is often seen as a non-scientific theory in academia and among their liberal press counterparts, so it is not surprising that a recent Associated Press article takes aim at two homeschooling textbooks. But, for all the talk about home-schooled evangelicals and religious-themed textbooks, the reporter doesn’t let the audience into the true motivations of the academics he quotes.

“I feel fairly strongly about this. These books are promulgating lies to kids,” said Jerry Coyne, University of Chicago [1] “ecology and evolution professor,” reports [2] Dylan Lovan for the AP.

“[Jerry] Coyne and Virginia Tech biology professor Duncan Porter reviewed excerpts from the Apologia and Bob Jones biology textbooks, which are equivalent to ninth- and 10th-grade biology lessons,” he writes this March. “Porter said he would give the books an F.”

Actually, Professor Coyne runs his own blog, “Why Evolution Is True [3],” but Lovan doesn’t mention that. Instead, he writes that former chemistry professor Jay Wile ‘countered that Coyne ‘feels compelled to lie in order to prop up a failing hypothesis (evolution). We definitely do not lie to the students. We tell them the facts that people like Dr. Coyne would prefer to cover up.’”

“The common thread of many of the emails I’ve received is that evolution is not ‘proven’: that it’s not a fact but a theory,” states [4]Professor Coyne in a March 10 blog entry. “I have tried to instruct one or two of these correspondents in what a scientific theory really is… But, as you might guess from the threads of the past few days, such instruction is futile.”

“I weep for the children who are home-schooled in creationist lies instead of science.” This is the type of unbiased professor to whom AP reporter Lovan apparently gravitates.

Lovan also doesn’t say in his article why Professor Porter gave the books an F; in fact, he doesn’t quote from the Virginia Tech professor at all. A look at his faculty page [5] reveals that his areas of interest include “Charles Darwin’s botanical work.”

Prof. Porter also teaches “Charles Darwin: Myths and Reality,” with required reading [6] from The Portable Darwin or Darwin Loves You [7].

The author of the latter Princeton University Press special, George Levine, “argues persuasively that an understanding of Darwinism can lead to a secular enchantment of the sort experienced by Darwin himself as he worked to make sense of the world around him…” states the Publishers Weekly description on Amazon.

However, Lovan does point out an interesting interchange: In the “History of Life” section of Bob Jones University’s Biology: Third Edition, Lovan quotes the text as saying “that a ‘Christian worldview … is the only correct view of reality; anyone who rejects it will not only fail to reach heaven but also fail to see the world as it truly is.’”

“When the AP asked about that passage, university spokesman Brian Scoles said the sentence made it into the book because of an editing error and will be removed from future editions,” he writes.

Bob Jones University [8] declined to comment.

Bethany Stotts is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia [9].