Two Librarian Heroes: Saving the World By Banning Books
Related to my last post, Casey Luskin quotes a law professor, Stephen A. Newman, who praises two librarians who banned donated copies of Darwin's Black Box and Darwin On Trial from school libraries:
Consider the experience of two librarians who received copies of two intelligent design books, Darwin’s Black Box by Michael Behe and Darwin on Trial by Philip Johnson, as donations to their high school collections. When the librarians refused to put the books on the school library shelves, they were accused of censorship. In fact, exercising their professional judgment, they concluded that these books had “little or no value to our students and come from those with ulterior motives.” The books did not meet the usual selection criteria, which required that books “support the curriculum, receive favorable reviews from professional journals, and be age-appropriate.” Noting that intelligent design theory had been “repudiated by every leading scientific organization, including the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences,” the librarians determined that teaching intelligent design “would be tantamount to teaching about the existence of Santa Claus.”
The law professor had the audacity to argue that "undermining the teaching of evolution deprives them [students] of access to the best ideas in science." I wish Luskin had provided the full context of that last quote. It is hard to believe that any law school graduate, let alone a professor, actually thinks that banning books helps to give students "access to the best ideas in science."
The librarians justified their actions by claiming that the books did not meet their "selection criteria." But it looks like the "criteria" could easily be manipulated to justify censoring or banning just about anything. For what the American Library Association deems "censorship," you can read here.
Of course, everyone who wants to ban a book thinks that they are only doing what is in the best interest of the dear little children. I think both books would be absolutely excellent additions to any school library. Many, many other people would agree with me. So "selection criteria" seems to be a euphemism to allow librarians to ban any books they subjectively just don't like. Who gets to decide? Whoever has the power- and these librarians have it. So it goes in our brave new world.
Another post on book banning and what kinds of books are appropriate for school libraries is here. Which book is more appropriate and valuable for a high school library: Darwin on Trial or Private Parts by Howard Stern? So it goes in American public schools.
Seems like an overwhelming case of Darwinian Fundamentalism. Or is it just sheer ignorance?
The librarians determined that teaching intelligent design “would be tantamount to teaching about the existence of Santa Claus.” Is this bigotry, or simply ignorance?