Science education has lately been the source of much heated debate, largely due to the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed featuring Ben Stein. Stein's documentary lamented the monopoly of Darwinian evolution in scientific research and science education. As expected, many prominent neo-Darwinists, for instance Richard Dawkins and P. Z. Myers, have reacted aggressively to the film. Recently, a renowned paleontologist joined the fray. However, his contribution was a stunning surprise.
Dr. Robert T. Bakker is one of most famous living dinosaur experts, known for his 1986 book The Dinosaur Heresies. He is the Curator of paleontology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Director of the Morrison Natural History Museum in Colorado. Recently Bakker was interviewed on the Laelaps Science Blog by Brian Switek.
During the e-mail interview, Bakker said that he considered “the loud, strident, elitist anti-creationists" to be be greatest enemy of science education in the United States. He explained that he meant “Richard Dawkins and his colleagues", calling them “uber-Darwinists". In his view, they “come across as insultingly dismissive of any and all religious traditions. "
Bakker probably had in mind Dawkins’ book The God Delusion that has caused quite a stir. It has also given rise to rebuttals such as David Berlinski's just released The Devil's Delusion.
The Bakker interview was made before the April 18 release of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Bakker's views are interesting since he is neither a creationist, at least not in the traditional sense of the word, nor affiliated with the Intelligence Design movement. He seems to advocate some form of theistic evolution or the view that God used evolution. Yet he comes close to what Ben Stein, a Jew, has to say about science education.
It is no secret that origins issues are extremely sensitive. Bakker's contribution has already caused some discussion in the blogosphere.
Joel Kontinen is a translator and novelist currently living in Finland. His background includes an MA in translation studies and a BA in Bible and Theology. He likes to keep up-to-date on science news and often comments on creation/evolution and origins issues.