Skip to comments.Evolution and intelligent design Life is a cup of tea
Posted on 10/07/2005 4:59:16 AM PDT by shuckmaster
How should evolution be taught in schools? This being America, judges will decide
HALF of all Americans either don't know or don't believe that living creatures evolved. And now a Pennsylvania school board is trying to keep its pupils ignorant. It is the kind of story about America that makes secular Europeans chortle smugly before turning to the horoscope page. Yet it is more complex than it appears.
In Harrisburg a trial began last week that many are comparing to the Scopes monkey trial of 1925, when a Tennessee teacher was prosecuted for teaching Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Now the gag is on the other mouth. In 1987 the Supreme Court ruled that teaching creationism in public-school science classes was an unconstitutional blurring of church and state. But those who think Darwinism unGodly have fought back.
Last year, the school board in Dover, a small rural school district near Harrisburg, mandated a brief disclaimer before pupils are taught about evolution. They are to be told that The theory [of evolution] is not a fact. Gaps in the theory exist for which there is no evidence. And that if they wish to investigate the alternative theory of intelligent design, they should consult a book called Of Pandas and People in the school library.
Eleven parents, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State, two lobby groups, are suing to have the disclaimer dropped. Intelligent design, they say, is merely a clever repackaging of creationism, and as such belongs in a sermon, not a science class.
The school board's defence is that intelligent design is science, not religion. It is a new theory, which holds that present-day organisms are too complex to have evolved by the accumulation of random mutations, and must have been shaped by some intelligent entity. Unlike old-style creationism, it does not explicitly mention God. It also accepts that the earth is billions of years old and uses more sophisticated arguments to poke holes in Darwinism.
Almost all biologists, however, think it is bunk. Kenneth Miller, the author of a popular biology textbook and the plaintiffs' first witness, said that, to his knowledge, every major American scientific organisation with a view on the subject supported the theory of evolution and dismissed the notion of intelligent design. As for Of Pandas and People, he pronounced that the book was inaccurate and downright false in every section.
The plaintiffs have carefully called expert witnesses who believe not only in the separation of church and state but also in God. Mr Miller is a practising Roman Catholic. So is John Haught, a theology professor who testified on September 30th that life is like a cup of tea.
To illustrate the difference between scientific and religious levels of understanding, Mr Haught asked a simple question. What causes a kettle to boil? One could answer, he said, that it is the rapid vibration of water molecules. Or that it is because one has asked one's spouse to switch on the stove. Or that it is because I want a cup of tea. None of these explanations conflicts with the others. In the same way, belief in evolution is compatible with religious faith: an omnipotent God could have created a universe in which life subsequently evolved.
It makes no sense, argued the professor, to confuse the study of molecular movements by bringing in the I want tea explanation. That, he argued, is what the proponents of intelligent design are trying to do when they seek to air their theorywhich he called appalling theologyin science classes.
Darwinism has enemies mostly because it is not compatible with a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis. Intelligent designers deny that this is why they attack it, but this week the court was told by one critic that the authors of Of Pandas and People had culled explicitly creationist language from early drafts after the Supreme Court barred creationism from science classes.
In the Dover case, intelligent design appears to have found unusually clueless champions. If the plaintiffs' testimony is accurate, members of the school board made no effort until recently to hide their religious agenda. For years, they expressed pious horror at the idea of apes evolving into men and tried to make science teachers teach old-fashioned creationism. (The board members in question deny, or claim not to remember, having made remarks along these lines at public meetings.)
Intelligent design's more sophisticated proponents, such as the Discovery Institute in Seattle, are too polite to say they hate to see their ideas championed by such clods. They should not be surprised, however. America's schools are far more democratic than those in most other countries. School districts are tinythere are 501 in Pennsylvania aloneand school boards are directly elected. In a country where 65% of people think that creationism and evolution should be taught side by side, some boards inevitably agree, and seize upon intelligent design as the closest approximation they think they can get away with. But they may not be able to get away with it for long. If the case is appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, intelligent design could be labelled religious and barred from biology classes nationwide.
The government prohibits that by law. Therefore I must abide by it.
What are your views on abortion, partial birth abortion, government taxation, taxes for public schools which teach what you wouldn't want taught, removal of God from anything resembling a public place and euthanasia?
LOL. Depends if he drives in NY.
My memory and the memory of about 15-20 other FReepers. Plus it has been documented for all to see.
Does your belief system allow you to lie and misrepresent facts so shamelessly or are you just making it up as you go along?
Here's the original:
You stated:"...What is right or wrong for one country is not necessarily right or wrong for another country. Just ask the people living in other countries...."
What are your views on burkhas, honor killings, infidel killings, suttee, footbinding?
Note that my questions refer to your statements about people living in other countries. Your response does not.
Since you do not think slavery is wrong, in which countries or under what circumstances do you think it is appropriate?
So you don't consider slavery to be wrong, but if it were legalized it would be wrong because it would be against the Constitution. I feel like the AFLAC duck in the Yogi Berra commercial!
So, um, was slavery wrong before the 13th Amendment? What is right or wrong for one country is not necessarily right or wrong for another country. Just ask the people living in other countries.
Wow. Moral relativism too. How did you arrive at this? No wait, let me guess: The Old Testament has God constantly giving the Israelites special laws when he's not busy suspending other laws just for them, so moral relativism is the only Godly philosophy of ethics.
Am I close?
Analyze my previous posts. My all-sufficient answers are in there. Your questions are typical of liberal spin. If you don't like an answer you demand more answers to questions in order to finally find something that fits your profile as out of line. Forget it. You are not getting it from me.
Even though the only places slavery is still practiced are Muslim lands
Only in your dreams. Only in your dreams. Don't feel bad. Sometimes you even sound like the AFLAC duck.
OK, so why do you believe that
What is right or wrong for one country is not necessarily right or wrong for another country. Just ask the people living in other countries.
It is as if you have never heard the terms, "tradition", "culture" or "practice". Leave the Dark Ages, come out into the light. It is a real eyeopener.
OK, so different cultures have different traditions, and so they consider different practices as morally acceptable or unacceptable. Fine.
But we're all human beings, regardless of the culture we live in. You don't consider slavery to be wrong. Is it only not-wrong in the US, or are there other cultures in which slavery is also not wrong in your view?
I believe that I have sufficiently explained myself. You will not be satisfied until you can say, "ah ha" you said.." So forget it. You are not luring me into your liberal trap. By the way, answer my question. Is slavery a moral issue? If you say it is where do you derive what is moral and what isn't?
"my all-sufficient answers"
Thank you for clarifying your view of yourself. Now I understand why you might think slavery is not wrong.
I'm more of a Luke 6:31 person myself.
The creationists really are the pale riders of postmoderndeconstructionism.
You are correct that you have "sufficiently explained" yourself, but not to your credit.
Somehow the phrase "total management principles" seems out of place in their description of outlawing slavery.
Matthew 25:40 placemark
There's no "ah-ha" moment in the offing. You've already "sufficiently explained" yourself. See, for example, post 611. I'm just eager to understand why a supposed conservative would hold such a reprehensible view.
So forget it. You are not luring me into your liberal trap.
So opposition to slavery is now liberalism??? LOL!
By the way, answer my question. Is slavery a moral issue? If you say it is where do you derive what is moral and what isn't?
Of course slavery is a moral issue. Slavery is immoral because a human being cannot be owned. Humans have individual rights because it's a necessity for survival as humans. All humans have such rights, because if you apply rights to only some people and not others, then it's no longer a principle but instead just an ad-hoc, self-serving rationalization.
Let me ask you something: How would you feel if someone kidnapped you & sold you into slavery? Would you chalk it up to a stroke of bad luck, like getting hit by a hurricane, or would you recognize it as a crime - a violation of your inherent rights as a human being?