The Remarkable Story of Roger DeHart: A New Documentary about the "Icons of Evolution"

BreakPoint with Charles Colson, Commentary #020522 - 05/22/2002 The Remarkable Story of Roger DeHart: A New Documentary about the "Icons of Evolution"

In the early twentieth century —during the Scopes Trial, for instance—evolution was the new theory challenging settled opinions about divine creation. Now, however, said Bill Rice on National Public Radio, it's evolution that "is being questioned." Darwinian evolution has become the established view—and those who want to consider alternatives to Darwinism have become the innovative thinkers challenging the status quo.

Nowhere is this stunning role reversal better portrayed than in the new documentary, "Icons of Evolution." "Icons" tells the story of Roger DeHart, a high school biology teacher in Washington state who wanted to tell his students about evidence that casts doubt on aspects of Darwinian evolution. The evidence that DeHart hoped to discuss wasn't fringe stuff. It was the material already published in scientific literature. For example, biology textbooks have long featured drawings of animal embryos, purporting to show similarity. This was widely taken as proof that the species in question shared a common evolutionary ancestor.

But the drawings are seriously inaccurate, omitting many details and falsely suggesting similarities among embryos. Stephen Gould, the noted Harvard paleontologist, called the drawings "scientific fraud," and he said that we should "be ashamed and astonished by the century of [their] mindless recycling" in textbooks.

It sounds like something students ought to know about, yet, when DeHart wanted to bring Gould's article about the fraudulent drawings into his classroom, the school administration forbade him from doing so. He wasn't even allowed to discuss Gould's article or say anything questioning the drawings in the school district's officially mandated textbook.

But the censorship didn't stop there. DeHart wanted to tell his students about the "Cambrian Explosion," the sudden appearance of the major groups of animals about 550 million years ago. The Cambrian Explosion has long been a puzzle for Darwinian evolution. Again DeHart was forbidden to bring in any supplementary materials offering an alternative explanation. It didn't matter that the issue is part of ongoing scientific debate. DeHart's students weren't allowed to see or hear anything challenging textbook orthodoxy.

All this, and more, is retold by the participants themselves in the documentary "Icons of Evolution." You'll hear from Chinese paleontologists who worked with the Cambrian Explosion fossils and believe that Darwinian evolution fails to explain the data. You'll hear from Roger DeHart himself about his experiences and also from his school's administrators, telling why they wouldn't let him depart from the established curriculum.

It's an amazing, even shocking, story—shocking, that is, because most people assume that science ought to be a search for the truth about the natural world. While we may be cynical about advertising, or politics, or the media, science is still supposed to be above it all, pursuing what is really true.

The "Icons" documentary will shake you up. Science teaching today has become indoctrination, but the good news is we can still do something about it. Call us here at BreakPoint (1-800-995-8777) and order your copy of "Icons of Evolution." You'll learn how and why to make the case.