Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Evolution v. Board of Education

When discussing the topic of evolution, I would like to avoid the debate over which is right or which is wrong, although I'd like to point out evolution and creationism are simply two sides of the same coin. Evolution states things are always changing and creationism means things can pop out of thin air and be changed instantly. If either is true, permanance is nonexistent.

Two weeks ago the Dover school board elected eight new faces, all of which want to end the previous decision to read a statement on Intelligent Design to biology students.

President Bush, as we know, is for teaching Intelligent Design in the classroom. Lee Harris over at Tech Central Station has a piece about Bush's comments. Here is a portion of it:

Would Darwin have objected to President Bush's seemingly paradoxical comment that both sides in the evolution debate "should be properly taught"? Well that might depend on whether he was permitted to hear the president's justification of his position, namely that both sides should be taught "so people can understand what the debate is about," and the president's further statement: "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is 'yes.'"

With those conditions, the answer, I am confident, is: No, Darwin would not have objected. Indeed, he would have welcomed such debate. Debate is what he, like all great thinkers, lived for.

Darwin would have welcomed such debate because he was keenly aware that the problems he had raised were not capable of being resolved into trivial facts to be memorized like the names of the state capitals or the rules of the multiplication tables. He knew that his theory probed the ultimate questions, and that such ultimate questions could never be given a definitive solution to be taught by rote, and to be memorized by parrots.

What an insult to Darwin's intellectual genius to think that his theory is as obvious as two plus two equal four, or as innocuous as the facts contained in an almanac! Anyone who thinks Darwin's theory is obvious clearly hasn't a clue about its brilliance or its
originality.

So this time Bush got it right, and the critics that are pouncing on his statement are getting it mostly wrong. There is no harm in teaching children to discuss and debate the ultimate questions -- indeed, the greatest danger is that we may raise a generation that is never challenged to think about such questions at all. If an
open-ended debate about evolution stirs up the kids, then, for heaven's sake, let the stirring begin.

Darwin grew up believing in Adam and Eve -- proof that it makes little difference with what opinion we start out with, since all that ultimately matters are the convictions that we discover for ourselves.

I agree 100% with President Bush, Lee Harris and all of those who wish to have Intelligent Design/Creationism mentioned in school. My objections begins where they wish to discuss Intelligent Design and Creationism. Clearly, since neither Intelligent Design or Creationism has any kind of scientific grounding, they should not be discussed by a science teacher. The current assault on science by fundamentalists of all stripes is deplorable. Science has its place in formal education, but that does not mean it holds all the answers to the universe. All this leads me to asking a pertinent question: Why would any conservative Christian want an evolutionist (possibly a non-Christian or an atheist) teaching creation?

Creationism is a tenant of Judeo-Christian teaching. God made Man, therefore we are God's creation living according to his will. But how does any of this concern a biology class? Explaining what the natural order of the world is the goal of the physical sciences (although, that was not its original intent). But explaining how it all started or why it works so perfectly and naturally is the job of others.

The best article I have read about this debate can also be found at Tech Central Station. Frederick Turner writes:

The controversy over intelligent design and evolution is, like many current quarrels, largely artificial, a proxy fight between atheists and biblical literalists over the existence and nature of a divine authority and the desirability of state authority as a replacement for it. Many people not warped in attitude by the exacerbations of the conflict see no contradiction between the idea that the universe, life, and human beings evolved according to natural processes, and the idea that a divine being or beings can be credited with the existence of everything, having set those natural processes going in the first place. The big question is whether nature can give us a moral law that is robust enough to serve a modern democratic free enterprise society -- if it can, that moral law would be acceptable both to believers, who would see it as God's natural revelation, and to unbelievers, who could trust its metaphysical impartiality.

This debate, Creationism/ID vs. Evolution is irrelevant to the truly important questions: What is justice? What is virtuous behavior? What, if any, is the universal moral code? Without asking these questions, what is the point of a formal education?

3 Comments:

Blogger Mike said...

Agreed. I get equally upset with Christians who want to keep Darwin out of school as I do with Darwinists who want to keep God out of school. Both need to be included if we are going to have true debate and understanding. Good post.

5:22 AM  
Blogger Mainline Mom said...

But...I disagree with the concept of lumping Creationism and Intelligent Design together. The two can be completely separate, and while Creationism is purely a religious notion, ID is in fact rooted in science. It belongs in a science classroom. ID is about studying order and complexity in the physical universe, and logically deducing that something or someone made it that way. It is not strictly Judeo-Christian or even strictly religious.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Robert Landbeck said...

COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED. A real monkey wrench is about to hit both sides in the ID vs Evolution debate and particularly religion is in for difficult times. For a wholly new interpretation of the teachings of Christ, contained within the first ever religious claim and proof that meets all the criteria of the most rigorous, evidential, testable scientific method, is published and circulating on the web. It is titled The Final Freedoms. An intellectual, religious and political bombshell!

It is described by a single Law and moral principle, offering its own proof, one in which the reality of God confirms and responds to an act of perfect faith, by a direct intervention into the natural world, delivering a correction to human nature, including a change in natural law [biology], consciousness and human ethical perception [proof of the soul], providing new, primary insight and understanding of the human condition!

So while proponents of ID may have got the God part right, if this development demonstrates itself to be what it claims, and the means exist to do so, all religious teaching, tradition and understanding of ID are wholly in error, while the proponents of evolution who have rightly used that conception to beat down the credibility of religious tradition, but who have also used it to deny the potential for God, are in for a very rude shock.

However improbable, what history and theology have presumed to be impossible is now all too achievable. The implications defy imagination! No joke, no hoax and not spam.

Review copies of the manuscript, prior to paper publication, are a free pdf download from a number of sites including: www.energon.uklinux.net and http://thefinalfreedoms.bulldoghome.com

2:02 PM  

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