Creationism v. science: Laughable? Pitiable? Innocuous?
The Springboro, Ohio school board recently heard both sides in the “Teach the controversy debate.” That is, should public schools teach both “theories?” The science is evolution. The more questionable theory is usually termed Intelligent Design.
Are these archaic attempts at keeping creationism alive the last vestiges of an earlier era? If you think it is innocuous, read on. The Dayton Daily News has solicited comments. Here’s mine.
Nobody in science says anything should be taken on faith. A healthy skepticism should always be our mode. Not fearful doubts, but defiant intellectual doubts. Those of faith fear losing their faith to doubt. If it was religious knowledge that they had, there’d be no fear. Interestingly, the process of losing one’s faith usually entails gaining some knowledge.
In a faith tradition, the believer believes they know something (when applied to the real world proves they are largely incorrect). Can they approach it with a healthy intellectual doubt? Is any part of their theory revisable? They typically take the position that theirs is a sacred truth, beyond doubt. To have any doubt is tantamount to sin in their book (there an ample history of persecuting dissenters).
The various argument’s Christians go through in trying to get creationism taught in the schools follows a predictable pattern. 1. We are a Christian nation. The country was founded on it. Yes, the grip religion has on humanity was too strong even for the founding fathers to free us. 2. It should be Christianity’s myth because that has been our tradition in this country. Slavery was a tradition in this country, too, as was every form of bigotry and oppression. 3. (Implied but not stated) Evolution is only a theory. Yes, like the atomic theory or theory of flight and like them, you can challenge and revise any part of it and IF THE ARGUMENT YOU PROPOSE STANDS UP TO THE LIGHT OF REASON IT BECOMES PART OF THE SCIENCE. What’s the review and revision climate like among Christian fundamentalists?
Creationists call it the Wedge Strategy. They know they have to get to the children before their worldview solidifies in their teen years—college is too late and besides they know there’s a conspiracy among almost all scientists and university educators to spread atheism and humanism so the children have to be exposed well before then. So it is a part of the mission to continue to hammer away at the schools to teach creationism and plant that wedge. If nothing else, the kids may get the impression that school boards have an agenda and are unfairly suppressing an alternate theory. Just the discussion of it serves the Wedge Strategy.
Finally, the vocal among them wants to denigrate those who’d like public education to be free of religious bias. Those voices happen to belong to one narrow band of just one single religion, a religion that permeates our culture and monopolizes our politics and yet whose followers think they are a put upon minority. I guess it should be of little surprise when those folks try to foment hatred by dehumanizing those who would free our minds and saying they “are evil to the core.” That’s the hallmark of the imprint of religion when applied to the child too young.
Entry filed under: atheism, atheist, freethought, Humanism. Tags: Christian fundamentalism, Christian right, Creationism, Dayton Daily News, Intelligent design, Springboro Ohio, Teach the Controversy, Wedge Strategy.