You know there’s a problem when the biology department has to take a stance on an issue that should be philosophical. In a statement that is as academically as bold as it gets, our biology department explained what scientific processes are, and why forcing creationist theory into the biology department is akin to “teaching astrology in an astronomy class or alchemy in the chemistry curriculum.” Not as earth shattering as Martin Luther’s little note, but in the same vein of slightly esoteric slaps to the uninformed.
And it’s just what this state needs – a reality check.
This is the same state that has made national news for the world’s first pro-creationism museum, the oh-so-creatively christened Creation Museum. I can’t explain the sense of head-shaking guilt I felt as I read London’s The Times online edition as writer Tom Baldwin tried his hardest not to belittle the far-fetched data the museum collects and just study the whole atmosphere. As if the Petersburg, Ky., attraction is an aquarium where they store strange children desperate to have what they believe proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.
But just why is religion threatened by science in our country? Einstein was religious, and I know there are faculty members in our science departments who are religious. The way I see it, the problem is twofold. First, even in a religion whose essence demands faith without proof, mankind has some kind of innate desire to prove that God exists to settle that empty feeling we get in the depths of our stomachs sometimes called doubt.
And secondly, when things start to go wrong (whether it’s our children being rude, the economy falling down the stairs, or just a few too many rainy days) people tend to want to blame something. I’m glad this time that it’s science, and not a person or race, but that doesn’t make it right.
I don’t even think this is a purely Republican problem. The Democratic party is traditionally expected to push religion out of the public eye, while Republicans attribute the fall of our society to sinking morals and the lack of Christian values. In a survey done by the Pew Research Center in July 2005, 20 percent of those polled felt that the Democratic party was unfriendly towards religion, to the Republican party’s 9 percent. Likewise, the Republican party was felt to be friendly towards religion by 55 percent of those polled, but only 29 percent felt that the Democratic party was friendly towards religion. But neither party is to blame for this exclusively. It’s a problem of those in power who are are both scared for their country and their children, and who think that forcing religion into the classroom is the answer.
I’m a firm believer in science explaining the how and religion or philosophy explaining the why, and I wish more people would do the same. They can believe what they want, but leave it out of the classroom. This may not stop any of the people I’ve pissed off up to this point from hating me, but I’m a religion minor precisely because I so admire faith. Some of the most honorable, strong and fair people I have ever met have been Christians, and have cited those traits to be a direct result of their faith. But creating truths to match what you feel isn’t faith. It’s wrong, and the push of intelligent design into the classroom is a knee jerk reaction to their fear of the loss of faith in America, not an effort in fairness to knowledge. These politicians aren’t fighting to have our science class split up evenly between creation according to Darwin, Prophet Muhammad, Jesus, Moses and Buddha. They’re trying to push their own agenda, regardless of whether or not the facts align with what they believe.
Faith is something to be proud of, but is that really the motivating force between this recent (if not reoccuring) push from religious politicians?
Creationism Vs. Evolution Timeline
1859 – Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of the Species” is published
1914 – Evolution first appears in textbooks, in George William Hunter’s “A Civic Biology”
1923 – The first anti-evolution bills are passed
1950 – Pope Pius XII rejects biblical literalism
1968 – Epperson v. Arkansas case prohibits the banning of evolution in public schools and universities
1987 – Edwards v. Aguillard determines that forcing schools to teach creation science if they are to teach evolution is unconstitutional
1997 – Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish Board of Education rules as unconstitutional the reading of a “disclaimer” before teaching about evolution.
1999 – LeVake v. Independent School District rules that biology teacher Rodney LeVake was allowed to teach evidence both for and against evolution
2005 – President Bush states that children should be taught Intelligent Design alongside evolution as competing theories