After eviscerating two new books that attempt to show that Darwinism is compatible with religion, Jerry Coyne, professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago, admits that they are not, and that declarations to the contrary have been “a dirty little secret in scientific circles. It is in our personal and professional interest to proclaim that science and religion are perfectly harmonious.” The reason for this unedifying dissembling:
After all, we want our grants funded by the government, and our schoolchildren exposed to real science instead of creationism. Liberal religious people have been important allies in our struggle against creationism, and it is not pleasant to alienate them by declaring how we feel. This is why, as a tactical matter, groups such as the National Academy of Sciences claim that religion and science do not conflict. But their main evidence — the existence of religious scientists — is wearing thin as scientists grow ever more vociferous about their lack of faith.
Once again, William Jennings Bryan has been proven right. Coyne continues:
Now Darwin Year is upon us, and we can expect more books like those by Kenneth Miller and Karl Giberson. Attempts to reconcile God and evolution keep rolling off the intellectual assembly line. It never stops, because the reconciliation never works.
Remember this when you see a version of Inherit the Wind, with its fradulent implication that the Bible and Darwin are perfectly compatible, and its closing scene with the Clarence Darrow character exiting happily with both in his briefcase. Generations of schoolchildren have been misled by this lie. Now at last we have the truth and can begin again to build on that.