Robert Jeffress, the far-right pastor of a Dallas megachurch and a prominent supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, on Monday launched into a planned two-week attack on evolution — and he pointed to the Texas Freedom Network and battles over science at the Texas State Board of Education.
— Tx Freedom Network (@TFN) August 1, 2016
“Evolution is a myth” and “more than just a scientific theory,” Jeffress weirdly claimed on his website:
“(E)volution is actually a religious philosophy. It is a religious philosophy that makes no allowance for God in either the origin of life or even the diversity of life. In spite of the mountain of evidence against it, the adherents of evolution are unwilling to allow any questioning of the position, because to do so would send people running toward the true cause of the origin and diversity of life, and that is a divine Creator.”
Of course, many people of faith — including Roman Catholics, mainstream Protestants and Jews — see no conflict between their acceptance of the science of evolution and their belief in God. But Jeffress, like other religious-right activists, is heavily invested in portraying science and religion as hostile to each other.
Jeffress’ screed on Monday launched what apparently will be two weeks of anti-evolution “Daily Devotional” posts on his website. The “Daily Devotional” is replaced each day, but you can see a screen capture of Monday’s post here.
Jeffress’ post noted that scholars and scientists opposed efforts to undermine the teaching of evolution when the State Board of Education revised science curriculum standards for public schools in 2008-09. And he pointed to a survey, conducted by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, that showed biology professors across the state overwhelmingly opposed to teaching students bogus “weaknesses” of evolution promoted by creationists. In fact, scientists have repeatedly shown that those “weaknesses” are based on junk science arguments manufactured to raise doubts about evolutionary science.
But Jeffress claims that scientists are simply afraid of “serious scrutiny”:
“(T)he proponents of evolution know their theory will not stand up under the microscope of serious scrutiny. And that’s why we can say with great confidence, even though it’s politically incorrect to do so, we can say with great confidence that evolution is a myth.”
Actually, evolution is one of the most “scrutinized” science concepts out there and is backed by overwhelming scientific evidence. That’s why, despite constant attacks by creationists, Texas textbooks continue to teach real science about evolution instead of bogus “weaknesses” promoted by evolution deniers.
The State Board of Education, by the way, will consider a revision of the science curriculum standards this fall and winter. Maybe that’s why Jeffress decided this was a good time to launch more attacks on evolution.
For those who don’t know, Jeffress is one of the most extreme and divisive religious-right leaders not just in Texas, but also nationally. He agrees that women who have an abortion should be punished, thinks President Obama is “paving the way for the Antichrist,” and has called the Chamber of Commerce a greater “threat to religious liberty” than the murderous terrorist group Islamic State because the business lobby opposes laws that promote discrimination against gay and transgender people.