Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Creationism in Schools?

Yesterday President Bush said schools should teach both "intelligent design" and evolution in science class. When asked to state his own belief he declined. This probably falls in-line with previous statements from the President that faith is a personal matter.

For the sake of argument, let's run down a list of religiously charged issues and see what side the President would probably take.

Abortion - sinful; should be illegal
Creationism - truthful; should be in schools
Evolution - sketchy
Euthanasia - sinful
10 Commandments - divine; should be in schools.
Christianity or Islam - Christianity; should be in schools

There's nothing wrong with having personal beliefs. There's nothing wrong with talking to people about those beliefs or trying to convince people about your views. What I find curious about the President is that he keeps pushing to put morality and Christianity on everyone, but he himself refuses to take a stand on what he believes.

I'll aslo assume that the President is an average Christian, representing average Christian believes on the role of government, ethics and morality. I make this assumption because: 1) so many prominent Christian leaders are in bed with the President, and 2) Christians are taking credit for winning the election (electing one of their own as President).

The President is right when he says that faith is a personal matter, and I do not deny his convictions as a Christian. But what I don't understand is how he desires to keep his faith personal but regulate to everyone else how they should live and behave. You could round up 10 random Christians and I'll bet they wouldn't agree on most things, so why do these people attempt to tell anyone else how to live?

Obviously "intelligent design" has no place in a science classroom. Science employs a little thing developed by Francis Bacon called The Scientific Method. Maybe the President never heard of such a thing. It is a process of observing and creating theories to explain natural phenomenon. These theories are tested and reproduced . The scientific method is a "cautious means of building a supportable, evidence-based understanding of our natural world." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method)

Evidence based... methods and theories taught in science class are those which adhere to the scientific method. Obviously you can't reproduce creation. This does not mean that it didn't happen; it just means that it probably doesn't belong in a science book.

This type of thing--science--has been around for about 400 years and has helped us to explain things like gravity, electricity, the conservation of mass, thermodynamics, cells, heredity, the elements, relativity, thermodynamics, continental drift, the atom, the expanding universe, and the genome. I'm not against religion, but I also don't understand this fear of science in so many Christians. We drive cars, fly in planes, take medicine, eat food, and have children all in an environment made possible by the results of the scientific method. Why would we want to go back to a mindset that fostered what has been termed the Dark Ages?

This country was built upon these principles as well. Here are a few quotes from a little document I like to call The Declaration of Independence.

"..to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them.."
"We hold these truths to be self-evident.."
"Prudence, indeed, will dictate..."
"All experience has shown.."
"To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world."

The Founding Fathers were themselves God-fearing but also embraced science and evidence and even marshaled it to their cause for independence. Just because you can explain things logically and with science doesn't mean God doesn't exist. But we're going to come out on the wrong side of these issues just as the Catholic Church did with Copernicus when they refused to believe that the earth was not at the center of the solar system. It seems silly now, doesn't it? But is the principal really any different? Are we still not able to meld religion and science after 400 years?

Let your kids learn about science in school and teach them to be the best Christians they can be at home.

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