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Evolutionist: it’s OK to deceive students to believe evolution


There have been many examples of evolutionary falsehoods used to indoctrinate students into evolution. The list includes

Teaching lies to kids is OK!

But at least one evolutionist is happy to use falsehood, as long as the end result is more students believing in evolution.2 An evolutionary True Believer and educator, one Bora Zivkovic, Online Community Manager at PLoS-ONE,3 proudly stated:

‘it is OK to use some inaccuracies temporarily if they help you reach the students.’ 4

And by ‘inaccuracies’, he didn’t mean approximations or simplifications (e.g. pi ~ 3 or 22/7 for quick calculations, or the octet rule taught to beginning chemistry students), but outright falsehoods — using analogies that he knows are inaccurate, and ideas he states are false.

For example, he discusses a common evolutionary propaganda tactic, NOMA (non-overlapping magisteria), invented by the late Marxist Stephen Jay Gould. This pretends that science and religion are two non-intersecting categories of thought, so cannot prove or disprove each other. We have shown that this is a form of the fallacious fact-value distinction, and is philosophically bankrupt (see Stephen Jay Gould and NOMA). Zivkovic agrees that it’s false, but justifies its pretence all the same:

‘You cannot bludgeon kids with truth (or insult their religion, i.e., their parents and friends) and hope they will smile and believe you. Yes, NOMA is wrong, but is a good first tool for gaining trust. You have to bring them over to your side, gain their trust, and then hold their hands and help them step by step. And on that slow journey, which will be painful for many of them, it is OK to use some inaccuracies temporarily if they help you reach the students. (emphasis added)’

I.e. so never mind such archaic concepts as truth: the important thing is that they accept evolution!

Zivkovic continues by praising an account of a Florida teacher and fanatical evolutionary activist, David Campbell5 in the New York Times.6 This teacher used an argument about the changing face of Mickey Mouse as an example of ‘evolution’. Of course, this is just another form of Berra’s Blunder, and Zivkovic agrees that it’s fallacious. Yet he justifies teaching it:

‘If a student, like Natalie Wright who I quoted above, goes on to study biology, then he or she will unlearn the inaccuracies in time. If most of the students do not, but those cutesy examples help them accept evolution, then it is OK if they keep some of those little inaccuracies for the rest of their lives. It is perfectly fine if they keep thinking that Mickey Mouse evolved as long as they think evolution is fine and dandy overall. Without Mickey, they may have become Creationist activists instead. Without belief in NOMA they would have never accepted anything, and well, so be it. Better NOMA-believers than Creationists, don’t you think?’

Once again, better to have them believe overt falsehoods than deny the evolutionary religion.

So what is Zivkovic’s motivation? In his own words:

‘Education is a subversive activity that is implicitly in place in order to counter the prevailing culture. And the prevailing culture in the case of Campbell’s school, and many other schools in the country, is a deeply conservative religious culture.’

Translation: educrats like him are rather proud of trying to undermine Christianity, and so much the better if it means opposing the worldview of the parents of the students he teaches. This should be a lesson for Christian parents, as Christian author and columnist Cal Thomas points out:

‘The tragedy is that too many conservative Christian … parents who want their children to have a different worldview—their own—willingly participate in the destruction of their children’s minds by turning them over to a way of thinking that is antithetical to their beliefs. Parents who worship at conservative churches on Sunday willingly send their children to schools five days a week where what they are taught undermines what they learned in church and at home. They would never think of taking their kids to a church that teaches doctrines opposed to their beliefs, but they don’t give a second thought to doing the same thing by sending them to government schools. It makes no sense.’

Worse, the Christians parents pay the misotheists to program their children in a value system diametrically opposed to their own! It’s like Moses handing over shekels to the Canaanites to teach paganism to the Israelite children.

Zivkovic is not alone

Other evolutionary propagandists are also on record as setting greater store on evolutionary indoctrination than critical thinking and learning facts. E.g. the atheistic anti-creationist Eugenie Scott, leader of the atheist–founded-and-operated and pretentiously named National Center for Science Education, tacitly admitted that if students heard criticisms of evolution, they might end up not believing it!

‘In my opinion, using creation and evolution as topics for critical-thinking exercises in primary and secondary schools is virtually guaranteed to confuse students about evolution and may lead them to reject one of the major themes in science.’7

She also knows the indoctrinatory value of NOMA:

‘ … I would describe myself as a humanist or a nontheist. … I have found that the most effective allies for evolution are people of the faith community. One clergyman with a backward collar is worth two biologists at a school board meeting any day!8

It should be pointed out that not all atheistic evolutionists agree with teaching NOMA, e.g. William Provine, biology professor at Cornell:

‘Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposeful forces of any kind, no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be completely dead. That’s just all—that’s gonna be the end of me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning in life, and no free will for humans, either.’9
‘ … belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.’10

Richard Dawkins and P.Z. Myers are other misotheists who despise NOMA. And they made this, as well as their hatred of Christianity, very clear in their interviews shown in the movie Expelled. Some evolutionists have criticized Expelled for showing this: but these evolutionists’ problem is not with the opinions of these two, but that they give the game away. Such evolutionists would clearly prefer Zivkovic’s NOMA approach, but would probably rather he was not openly proud of his deliberate deception.

The foundational issue

Many Christians expect evolutionists to be honest and fair. Indeed many are. But we should not be too surprised whenever someone who denies an absolute moral Lawgiver chooses to trangress moral/ethical bounds deliberately, and what’s more, proclaims it as a worthy act. As explained in Bomb-building vs. the biblical foundation, the claim is not that atheistic evolutionists cannot be moral, but that they have no objective basis for their morality.

While some creationists have been known to lie, this is contrary to their professed belief system, and not something they will openly defend or promote, as Zivkovic does. When evolutionists lie, it is consistent with theirs. For example, we have a page, Arguments we think creationists should NOT use, which is the 8th most read article on our site, and more popular than any article about arguments we should use. But where are the corresponding evolutionist-authored ‘Arguments evolutionists should not use’, mentioning the points at the top of this article?

As the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821–1881) puts in the mouth of the Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov, ‘Without God, everything is permissible; crime is inevitable.’ So when Christians debate atheists, or send their kids to secular schools, they should heed the warning of the 18th century British statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke: ‘There is no safety for honest men but by believing all possible evil of evil men’ [meant inclusively in those days].11

Update: In October 2013, Bora Zivkovic offered his resignation from Scientific American after a number of women accused him of sexual harassment, and Zivkovic admitted they were true. Scientific American accepted his resignation.12

Published: 24 September 2008


  1. Sibley, Andrew, A fresh look at Nebraska man, Journal of Creation 22(3): 108–113, 2008. Return to text.
  2. Smith, Anika, Lying in the Name of Indoctrination, Evolution News and Views, Discovery Institute, 27 August 2008. Return to text.
  3. An open-access journal from the Public Library of Science. Return to text.
  4. Zivkovic, Bora (aka “Coturnix”), Why teaching evolution is dangerous, scienceblogs.com, 25 August 2008. Return to text.
  5. Harmon, Amy, A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash, New York Times, 23 August 2008. Return to text.
  6. The New York Times also whitewashed Stalin’s genocide—see the first paragraph of Misotheist’s misology: Richard Dawkins attacks Michael Behe. Return to text.
  7. Larry Witham, Larry, Where Darwin Meets the Bible, p. 23, Oxford University Press, 2002. Return to text.
  8. T.J. Oord and E. Stark, A conversation with Eugenie Scott, Science and Theology News, 1 April 2002, quoted in J. Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design (Regnery Publishing: Washington, DC, 2006), p. 175.; emphasis added. Return to text.
  9. Provine, W.B., Darwinism: Science or Naturalistic Philosophy? The Debate at Stanford University, William B. Provine (Cornell University) and Phillip E. Johnson (University of California, Berkeley), videorecording © 1994 Regents of the University of California. (See also: Origins Research 16(1):9, 1994; arn.org/docs/orpages/or161/161main.htm.) Return to text.
  10. Provine; W.B., ‘No free will’. In Catching up with the Vision, p. S123, ed. Margaret W Rossiter, Chicago University Press, 1999. Return to text.
  11. Burke, Edmund, Reflections on the Revolution in France, p. 249, 1790. Return to text.
  12. Bora Zivkovic resigns from Scientific American, scientificamerican.com, 18 October 2013. Return to text.

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