Thursday, September 01, 2005

Two Sides of the Intelligent Design Question From Religious Folks

There was an interesting exchange of letters in this week's Time Magazine regarding the debate over teaching evolution v. intelligent design on a parity basis in science. Personally I oppose that, altho I think it makes for a good framework for an examination of the role faith has in society, and therefore is better suited for a civics class.

But here, let me let two avowed Christians point out the distinctions:

Evolution is being taught as unquestionable scientific dogma. As a high school student, I have repeatedly observed that any attempt to debate Darwin's theory is immediately shot down by the teacher and quickly followed with the accusation, direct or implied, that the student who dares to think outside the evolutionary box is an anti-intellectual idiot. That approach hampers science, for it is a field that thrives on the testing of theories and on the questioning and seeking of more accurate knowledge. How will science ever be able to progress if students are told there is only one way to think?


Olathe, Kans.

Admittedly, an interesting point, and perfectly designed to subvert the claim that ID is not science, thus also introducing the teleological argument that God exists by default. So what's nearly the next letter?

As an evangelical Christian, I reject intelligent design because it is not science but bad theology. Within science, it is no crime to admit that we don't have all the answers. Within theology, however, it is a crime to use God as an excuse for our ignorance. If we don't understand how something came about in nature, then we ought to use the brains that God gave us to think about and work on the problem. Otherwise we turn God into a magic word to use whenever we can't figure things out.


(Have to love the Letters editor of Time. Kudos, because this type of contrast happens all too frequently for it to be coincidence)

Precisely the point, Mr. Graf, and this letter should become the rallying cry of science teachers nationwide. Folks, I cannot stress this enough: We are in danger of turning our schools into madrassahs where only religion is taught, and asking our kids to become whatever the democratic equivalent of suicide bombers is!

The Arabic world was once a bastion of enlightenment and intellectual curiousity. We got algebra, astronomy, rudimentary geometry, medicine, even our alphabet from Arabian peoples. And now look at it.

Is this what we want America to become?

It's easy to say it'll never happen, but you know what? It has once in human history at least, and that alone ought to scare the beejeezus out of you.
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