Shermer Opines: It’s Wrong to Force Theory on Children

Michael Shermer is a well-known advocate of Darwin’s theory of evolution. In 2006 he published a book titled Why Darwin Matters. In that book he attempted to discredit the idea of intelligent design and bolster the faltering theory of evolution. He was unsuccessful on both accounts, but he did make one statement that we would do well to consider. Chapter five of his book is titled, “Evolution Under Attack.” In that chapter, he mentions several legal cases in which intelligent design proponents have pushed for intelligent design to be taught in schools. He denounces design advocates for attempting to force their ideas on children (2006, pp. 90-91). He refers to this process as the “God of the Government” and explains it by saying: “If you can’t persuade teachers to teach your idea based on its own merits, see if you can get the government to force teachers to teach it.” He then stated: “In the free marketplace of ideas, turning to the government to force your theory on others—particularly children—goes against every principle of liberty upon which modern Western democracies are founded” (p. 91).

I hope you can see the irony of Shermer’s position. He denounces creationists for attempting to force their “theory” on children, while the state-sponsored (albeit false) theory of organic evolution is the only “scientific” theory that is allowed in the classroom. Not long ago a middle school science teacher came to me and explained that he had been teaching his students about the many problems of evolutionary theory. He explained that he followed that teaching with the merits of the ideas of intelligent design. After 17 years of such teaching, he was informed by the assistant superintendent that he could no longer teach about design. He asked if he could simply show the problems with evolution, and he was told he could not do that either.

Unwittingly, Shermer has described exactly what has happened in our public school system. The theory of evolution is so riddled with errors that many teachers not only reject it, but also feel compelled to show its flaws. Instead of allowing teachers this freedom, the government has literally forced them to teach the “fact” of evolution, by making it mandatory material on standardized tests. Shermer brazenly insists that such a mode of operation “goes against every principle of liberty upon which modern Western democracies are founded.” In doing so, he has highlighted a frightening truth: the system that forces the teaching of false evolutionary theory no longer represents the principles of liberty. On the contrary, the fact that evolution is forced upon the children of this nation, despite its myriad flaws, manifests a spirit of suppression and totalitarian control. Rue the day that free Americans and sincere Christians roll-over and let such subversive, sinister forces “call evil good and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20).


Shermer, Michael (2006), Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design (New York: Holt).


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