SPidge Tales

Monday, October 17, 2005

White Sox, Carl Everett, and Dinosaurs

Last night, the Chicago White Sox won their first American League pennant since my mom was 3 years old and my dad was 11. Beginning Saturday, they will have the opportunity to win their first World Series since the days of Shoeless Joe Jackson. However, most importantly, into the spotlight rises White Sox slugger and Paleontologist of the year Carl Everett. For a complete appreciation of this dinosaur doubter and admitted crazy man (not bad-crazy, but “fun crazy”), read his interview with Maxim Magazine here: http://www.maximonline.com/sports/articles/article_6530.html . The return of Carl Everett could not have come at a better time, with the issues of evolution, “creation” science, intelligent design, religion, and science, all in the forefront of our national consciousness.

I am not a proponent of intelligent design in the classroom as an alternative to evolution, or, in the terms of the fake open-mindedness of its conservative proponents, “teach the controversy.” I do believe in intelligent design, per se, as in I believe that God is behind creation, and is at work in the world. However, this is not a scientific proposition. It is a matter of religious faith that is beyond the realm of proof or disproof. The issue of whether God is at work through evolution should be left out of the science classroom.

While I disagree with the advocates of creationism and intelligent design in the classroom (to get a funny look at biblical fundamentalism, click here: http://objectiveministries.org/kidz/ ; this website is hilarious), I can sympathize with their frustration over a feeling of being looked down upon by a media and cultural “elite” who mock anything non-secular. When any display of public religiosity is frowned upon, people of faith feel forced to get their spiritual messages across in different ways. Religion does have a place in school. Religious beliefs, and an understanding of the different religions of the world, should be taught in public schools. It should be integrated into history and literature curriculums. Religious belief has influenced political and cultural life since the beginning of civilization, and most of the great literature and art is either religious in content, or influenced by religious themes. Students should not be proselytized, but they should be taught about religion. It is because religion is not taught in the humanities, where it belongs, that religious people are trying to sneak it in the backdoor through the science classroom, where it does not belong.

If scientists wish to keep religion out of their field, they need to act in two ways. They need to convince their secular colleagues in the humanities that religious thought and belief need to be taught and discussed in their classrooms. And, scientists need to stick to science, and stop playing ethics and philosophy. Ethical dilemmas such as the destruction of human embryos for the creation of stem cell lines should not be treated by scientists as just some issue of science that is beyond the realm of religious critique. If they want religious people to stop playing science, they should stop pretending that all scientific advances are beyond the realm of religious criticism.

1 Comments:

Anonymous berndog said...

the problem is, darwinism as it was taught in my high school, and presumably in a lot of places, goes beyond the bounds of science and becomes a philosophy, an account of all reality. the insistence that the process is impersonal and unguided leaves no room for a creator. scientists can say there is no empirical evidence for a guiding principle or force, but an unknown force is different than none at all.

8:37 PM  

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