Sunday, January 11, 2009

What's in the news

Christmas is over; time to move on to other interesting topics! Our local newspaper today featured a piece on the theory of evolution. The front page was devoted to a story about a local college instructor who is campaigning for awareness about evolution. He's concerned that his native country of Pakistan and other Muslim countries are missing out by not making it a regular part of the school curriculum.

He comments,
We simply cannot afford a mass rejection of evolution by 1/6 of the world’s population. Muslims are already behind in contributions to science and technology. If they reject evolution, there goes the hope that they could catch up. How many geniuses in this large population could we lose because of a culture that rejects evolution?* (A1)
I was a little confused by what this man meant about not being able to "afford" it and "losing" geniuses. What does he think is at stake? Another of his comments was interesting, though. Part of his rationale behind desiring to educate Muslims about evolution is that by association they see evolution as an atheist and/or Western idea.

"If evolution is associated with atheism or appears as a choice, either evolution or religion, then there is no question-people will accept religion."* (B6)

I can understand how frustrating it can be when you believe in something and everyone ties certain stereotypes to it and won't even listen to what you have to say.

I do associate evolution with atheism. I have encountered defensive non-believing scientists on many occasions. I remember my biology teacher saying, "They want us to call it a 'theory.' But it's not, it's a fact."

Paired with the above article was a question and answer session with a non-believing author of a book on evolution. Mr. Werth is apparently convinced of the importance of evolution. As he says, “Talk to any biologist and they’ll tell you there is no understanding of biology without evolutionary theory…” ** (B6)

He explains how Christians have gotten in the way of evolution being universally accepted in the U.S. It's interesting to hear about the "battle" from his viewpoint.
It’s all to do with the power of religious force in our society…First, they put forth creation science (a move to use scientific facts and fossil records to discredit scientists’ versions of the history of the Earth and man’s creation), but the court struck that down. There’s no science in creationism. Then they developed the idea of intelligent design…but that didn’t wash at all because it didn’t have any scientific theory.

Then there was the Dover case (which tried the legality of forcing teachers to educate students about intelligent design as an alternative to evolution) in 2006, and that was really the last gasp of intelligent design. The judges said no, (intelligent design) cannot be taught side by side with evolution. ** (B6)
"Developed the idea" of intelligent design! As if the Bible hadn't been around before that and we suddenly invented it for the sake of argument!

Is this an important topic for Christians? I think it's rather telling when the front page of the newspaper as well as additional pages can be devoted to Darwin. It's also interesting that conservative Christians are seen as opponents of modern education. Darwin followers write articles like these, assessing how many people have accepted the "truth," how many have denied evolution and slipped away, which obstacles make it hard for the "truth" to be made known to all and accepted.

Doesn't this all sound a little like us when we talk about Christianity? It just seems a little like religion to me. Any kind of knowledge, when it takes the place of God, or, when it claims to have authority over God's word, is dangerous, in my opinion.

*Palpini, Kristin. "Darwin's Disciple." Daily Hampshire Gazette. January 10-11, 2009.
**Palpini, Krisin. "Why Darwin's theory slipping in U.S.-a talk with Barry Werth." Daily Hampshire Gazette. January 10-11, 2009

2 comments:

  1. "Developed the idea" of intelligent design! As if the Bible hadn't been around before that and we suddenly invented it for the sake of argument!

    Professional liars started calling the Genesis story in the Bible "intelligent design" after the Supreme Court ruled in 1987 that "creation science" is not science and can't be taught in a science class. Then a federal court in Dover Pennsylvania ruled in 2005 (not 2006) that intelligent design is not science and can't be taught in a science class. The professional liars who want to destroy science education keep calling their belief in magical creation by different names because they are trying to make magic sound scientific so they can force biology teachers to teach it. Of course biology teachers would rather quit their jobs than lie to their students, so they would never agree to teach the childish nonsense of magical creation, no matter what it's called.

    The Muslims rarely (or never?) contribute anything important to science. Their problem is they suppress the teaching of evolutionary biology. Christians are trying to make America just as backward as the Muslim countries. Just like the Muslims, the Christians want to dumb down or suppress science education because they are afraid of modern biology for religious reasons. They will never be allowed to get away with it. They always lose in court and the biologists laugh at them.

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  2. Hi Bob,

    I don't like your use of the term "professional liar." However, I do think that both "sides" are guilty of jumping to conclusions and using sloppy arguments or being too quick to judge the evidence held by the other side. When we're hasty like that and don't do a good job of protecting the truth, it is a form of lying.

    I'm undecided about whether or not Creation belongs in the science classroom. While I believe it is relevant to the "Study of life," creation stories are usually discussed more in a religion or anthropology course, and not in science. Obviously I don't expect a non-Christian teacher in a public school to give preference to a Christian belief, but to be excluded for being associated with Christianity doesn't seem right either.

    I disagree about the "backwardness." The newspaper articles alluded to this as well, yet no examples were given. In what situation would a scientist be ill-prepared, preferring to emphasis Creationism over Evolution?

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