[Comment on “Teaching evolution, the Kansas School Board of Education, and the democratization of science”] The causes of anti-science views



Johnny Wei-Bing Lin recently suggested (Eos, August 2, 2000) that the action of the Kansas State Board of Education to exclude questions about evolution by natural selection and “Big Bang” cosmology from required state tests, was driven primarily by the populism of science—the belief that the judgment of everyday men and women in matters deemed scientific is better than that of the trained scientists. In his view, inadequate public science education is only a secondary reason.

Lin and Baylor University theologian Barry Harvey [2000] have argued that science is now under siege by populism, and that the ruling of the Kansas Board is but one example. To combat this populism, he urges a wider dialogue between scientists and historians, philosophers and theologians, so that we understand better the limits of our work and discover ways of being more precise and logical. Such discussions may be necessary, but they are not sufficient.