"Somebody's got to stand up to experts!" -- Texas BoE chairman Don McLeroy
David Klinghoffer wrote in an article in Evolution News & Views,
To follow the experts unthinkingly is simply the prestige path for most people. Such docility also explains the resistance of certain constituencies, from whom you’d expert better, to thinking fresh thoughts about Darwinian evolution.
Sometimes, the temptation to surrender to expert opinion arises from nothing more complicated than laziness. I’m positive that’s the case with many in the politically conservative community of journalists and other intellectuals. Science bores or intimidates these folks, and they haven’t yet perceived the relevance of Darwinism to their other political and cultural concerns. Therefore expert opinion provides a welcome excuse, at least on this issue, to turn their brains off.
IMO that's true -- I virtually never see a mainstream-media editorial that supports the anti-Darwinist side or that is even neutral.
The article said,
In other communities, there’s a tendency to be overly impressed by credentials, titles, honors, and offices. This is surely a big part of what keeps more Jews from “getting” the Darwin debate. You could call it a case of My Son the Doctor Syndrome. Just as the stereotypical coffee klatch of Jewish mothers will speak in absurdly hushed, reverential tones about the fact that one of them has a son in the medical profession — the technical Yiddish term here is kvelling — so too there’s something in recent Jewish culture that inclines us to revere “experts” to excess, no matter what the context. This is ironic given that Jews spent the previous 2,000 years refusing to defer to the dominant expert views of the culture around them.
Among the main reasons for Jewish Darwinism and opposition to "teaching the controversy" are that many Jews (1) view questioning of Darwinism as a Christian fundamentalist thing, (2) see "teaching the controversy" as a violation of the so-called "separation of church and state," and (3) see the Darwin-to-Hitler idea as an attempt to deny the Christian religion's responsibility for the holocaust. The Anti-Defamation League is representative of these Jews. There are noteworthy exceptions: for example, the ultra-orthodox Jews of Israel are probably staunch young-earth creationists -- many of these Jews have not studied science since elementary school. And Jews Ben Stein and David Berlinski (Berlinski considers himself to be a secular Jew) believe that Darwin influenced the Nazis.
Also, whether expert opinions deserve to receive deference or extra weight strongly depends on the question being asked. For example, such deference or extra weight may be warranted if the question is whether a particular criticism of evolution is a real weakness. However, such deference or extra weight is not warranted if the question is whether to include the "strengths and weaknesses" language in science education standards.
Labels: Texas controversy (new #2)