Friday, August 05, 2011

Shades of Darwin

by Edd Doerr

With a 9:00 appointment in downtown Washington this morning I grabbed a book off the shelf to read on the long boring Metro ride, "Esto no es vida" ("This is not living") by Daniel Samper Pizano, a very funny humor columnist in Colombia's leading daily El Tiempo, a book published in the late '80s. When I got to page 19 I found this (my hasty translation): "A few days ago 72 Nobel Prize winners sent a brief to the US Supreme Court asking it to declare unconstitutional a law to require public school teachers to teach something called 'creationism'."

What! Hey, that was the Edwards v Aguillard case in 1987 in which the Court ruled 7-2, with Scalia and Rehnquist dissenting. that Louisiana's law mandating creationism in public school biology classes was unconstitutional. Justice William Brennan wrote the excellent majority ruling.

So! Well, I'm the guy who came up with the idea of having the amicus curiae brief by the Nobel laureates, about 90% of the living Nobel science laureates in the US. My idea amplified that of just having a brief by the California Academy of Sciences.

But back to Samper Pizano's piece. He wrote, explaining evolution: "After millions of years an insignificant larva left the sea and founded life out of the water. This primitive larva -- hermaphrodite, invertebrate and eating its own poop -- degenerated and downgraded until in time it was converted into the bank managers, bus drivers and commentators we know today."

And: "Until a few decades ago evolutionists were attacked and had rocks thrown at them for maintaining that humans descended from monkeys. Generally, the first stones were thrown by the monkeys."

I wonder if Samper Pizano knows that only about half of Americans today accept evolution.

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