February 9, 2009

the Endangered Species Act: stopping natural selection "in its tracks"

By the Endangered Species Act: stopping natural selection "in its tracks"

In yesterday's Washington Post, George Will offered commentary on Darwinism in conjunction with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin. Will concluded his column with a brief discussion of the Endangered Species Act and pointed to relevant insight from Ed Yoder:

Speaking of government, in 1973, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act. It said that when identifying an "endangered" or "threatened" species, the government should assess not only disease, predation and threats to its habitat but also "other natural . . . factors affecting its continued existence." Natural factors?

Four years later, the act held up construction of a Tennessee dam deemed menacing to the snail-darter minnow. Ed Yoder, a learned and sometimes whimsical columnist, noted that it was under Tennessee's "monkey law" that John Scopes was tried in 1925 for teaching biology in a way considered incompatible with Genesis. While not equating Tennessee's law with "a measure so enlightened" as the 1973 act, Yoder noted:

"Both measures involve legislative interposition in the realm of biological change; and which will have involved the greater hubris is yet to be seen. Tennessee's ambitions were comparatively modest. It sought only to conceal the disturbing evidence of natural selection from impressionable school children. The Congress of the United States, one is intrigued to learn, intends to stop the nasty business in its tracks."

With that accomplished, it should be child's play for Congress to make the climate behave. Pick your own meaning of "child's play."

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