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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Scopes in Russia

It seems that creationism, or more appropriately anti-evolution has reared its ugly head in Russia. There is a court case brought by a 16-year old girl who is challenging the use of textbook which discusses evolution. The news reports

"16-year-old Mariya Shraiber, who says her biology text presents a one-sided version of life's origins based on Darwin's theory and is dismissive of the view that God made man. The lawsuit challenges Darwin's theory as anti-religious, atheistic and unproven. It quotes the textbook as referring to biblical teachings as "legends" and calling it "stupidity" to assume that God created the world. "It's quite disrespectful," said Mariya, who has short fingernails painted bright pink, multiple earrings in each ear and a fondness for poetry. "I believe we have the right to learn not only the theory of evolution, but creationism as well."

This is an interesting case. On the one hand, I'm not sure that a science textbook needs to mention that it is stupid to assume God created the world. While some may certainly hold that view, it seems a bit over the top to use that view as a teaching tool. The requirement that creationism be taught as a scientific alternative to evolution is, as we have observed here in the US, absurd. Creationism takes a narrow view of the bible and attempts to force fit that view into a scientific hypothesis. As science, it has failed miserably. As a theology it is equally dangerous.

It will be interesting to see the results of this trial since it parallels the Scopes trial during the early part of the last century. The lawyer for the plaintiff is eerily reminiscent of William Jennings Bryant. He makes the point:

Vuima, whose firm goes by the slogan, "We Create Sensations," believes that nothing short of society's collapse is at stake when it comes to the teaching of evolution. He, like the lawsuit, contends that Darwinism, while not a political ideology, stems from Marxist-Leninist ideology; after all, both Darwin and Karl Marx, who is said to have offered to dedicate Das Kapital to the scientist, wrote of grand struggles for survival.

The side shows are equally humorous as the lawsuit was announced by the plaintiffs complete with the distribution of free bananas and were accompanied to the filing by a man dressed in a monkey suit!

We'll have to see how this all plays out, but all the usual "evolution teaches atheism" and "we didn't come from monkeys" quotes are out there.

Here is the website (in russia) by the group bringing the lawsuit.


Joe Meert


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