Dinesh D’Souza supposes the existence of “The Atheist Indoctrination Project” in an excerpt from his new book. He asserts that “the secularization of the minds of our young people…is to a large degree orchestrated by teachers and professors to promote anti-religious agendas,” and claims that “Just as some people oppose the theory of evolution because they believe it to be anti-religious, many others support it for the very same reason.” Really? “Many others” support evolution because it is an “anti-religious” theory? Name one, D’Souza. Just one. Until you can do so, STFU about your “orchestrated” educational conspiracy theory.
I daresay that D’Souza’s statement is supported solely by wishful thinking—or perhaps prayer. Evolution is an accepted theory because it fulfills the criteria of the scientific method, as does Newtonian gravitation, as does Einsteinian relativity. The supposed “anti-religious” criterion is nowhere to be found. D’Souza wonders at the absence of a movement “to fight for the teaching of photosynthesis” in schools. The simple answer is that there is no need for such a movement, because there are no religious reactionaries trying to prohibit the teaching of photosynthesis. The reality-based community doesn’t need to defend what the wingnuts have not besieged. Even the most rabidly literal bible-thumpers accept the method by which plants utilize solar energy, although they have yet to explain how plant life could have existed before the sun began providing light. According to the creation myth in Genesis, plants were created on the third day (Gen 1:11-12), followed by the sun on the fourth day (Gen. 1:16-17).
D’Souza complains that “The strategy [of secular teachers] is not to argue with religious views or to prove them wrong. Rather, it is to subject them to such scorn that they are pushed outside the bounds of acceptable debate.” Proof and debate are on the pro-science side of this divide; blind faith and dogma are on the other. Creationists and their allies have fostered a non-existent scientific “controversy” about evolution, and then demanded that we “teach the controversy,” thus smuggling their non-science into the science curriculum. If there is any scorn exhibited by D’Souza’s opponents, myself included, it is due to years of failed attempts to engage his side in anything remotely resembling a fruitful discussion.