Monday, August 08, 2005

Designing an intelligent debate

Suzanne Fields wrote in Townhall When George W. Bush remarked to Texas reporters the other day that he thought the belief in "intelligent design" a fit subject for polite conversation, his critics accused him of trying to reprise the Scopes trial. Haven't we argued enough about God vs. monkeys?
But what the president actually said was hardly enough to shake the earth. He said he thinks it's important for children to understand what the endless argument over the Darwinian theory of evolution is all about. "Both sides should be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about. Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . . You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."

I am not sure which aspect of this the Loony Left is more afraid of
  • That children might be taught that there is at least a possibility that God was involved in Creation, and that it was not just some random chance that they are here
  • Or that children might learn to think for themselves, and not accept all the liberal garbage their teachers are trying so hard to fill their heads with
This naturally opens a Pandora's box (to draw on a metaphor of the ancient Greeks), because how children learn about "the debate" is crucial to their understanding of it. As far as I can tell, the president does not advocate teaching "intelligent design," the belief that a divine hand was at work creating the universe, as a scientific course, but to let children know there's a debate over Charles Darwin's theory that man evolved from lower life forms. Fair enough.
I dont think he would be outraged at such teaching, but I do think that he was thinking more of teaching the kids to think for themselves, and remember, this is not a New Initiative the White House decided to lauch, he was just answering a reporters question. And I guess the press stupidly hoped he would say something they could use against those who want Intelligent Design taught.
A Christian friend of mine insists that Darwinism is now taught as "doctrine" rather than theory, that "scientists get hysterical in a hurry if you question any part of the theory, like Christian theologians protecting the doctrine of the Virgin Birth." Intolerance and intransigence, he says, are now the province of the Darwinians, who regard insult as legitimate argument.
That is true, because what is being taught is the Secular Humanist version of Evolution. One could also teach Evolution from an Intelligent Design perspective, acknowledging the fact that a Supreme Being was involved, but that adaptation and evolution were tools He used.
There's some truth in that. Important pieces of the "truth," culled from meticulous research that is still going on, support the Darwinian theory. But in actual, provable fact, Darwinians are no more knowledgeable than Aristotle was in plumbing First Causes.


Anonymous said...

You make a couple of very good points and so does the author you cite. Here's my take:

I think Bush's comments are okay as long as we're not talking about teaching these non-scientific alternative ideas in a science classroom. ID is not science. It might be correct, but still not science.

More here.

Don Singleton said...

ID is not science, but it does reflect a point of view which hold that faith and science are not an either/or situation.

Secular Humanism is also not science, but it's interpretation of evolution, as being something that took place totally without a supreme being's involvement should not be the only thing taught in science class.

I would either teach Evolution and strictly focus on the things that can be proven, and say that it does not explain everything related to Creation, or I would say that there are alternative matters of faith that explain those other matters. The Secular Humanists believe that they were done by random chance; Intelligent Design believes, as do Christians, Jews, and Muslims, that there was a Supreme Being directing those things that Evolution can't prove.

bsoist said...

Secular Humanism is not science. I agree.

The simple fact is that many science teachers may not focus on teaching science. Some focus on teaching a materialist philosophy, and they certainly should not.

Unfortunately, it would be very difficult to focus only on things ‘you can prove’ in a science class. If you mean focus on things that are proven, that would make for a shortage of material. If you mean things that have the possibility of being proven, okay I agree!

Don Singleton said...

"If you mean focus on things that are proven, that would make for a shortage of material."

It depends on what level you are talking about. I believe there are plenty of things that can be proven and even demonstrated to fill the science classes in all of public school (grades 1-12).

Certainly when one gets to the college level, you might have to begin exploring theories that have not yet been proven, but if you had the scientific method drilled into you in grades 1-12, and if you have a good faith basis established through your parents, you should be able to handle a few Secular Humanist teachers in college.