Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Phoenix Kicks a Hornet's Nest

It seems that yesterday's post on intelligent design vs. evolution has caused a small furor (or at least a Villains Vanquished-sized furor).

My post prompted this reaction from the blog mama, Kathy, as well as significant amounts of comment on both posts.

So, rather than let the horse rest in peace, I've decided to kick it a bit more.

First off, I'd like to qualify my remarks by saying that I tried very carefully not to offend anyone with my post. I tried very hard to make sure that my commentary came down preferring neither side of the debate. Rather, I tried to point out that since neither theory has been proven yet, that neither has any more authority than the other and that ideas should not be stifled in schools.

Kathy wants to make sure that I am aware of the Establishment Clause in the Constitution and not just the Second Amendment. Let me assure you all that I am equally aware of all amendments. As a matter of fact, my father is adamantly anti-any organized religion. Don't think he missed that one.

I, however, have trouble reconciling the inconsistencies. I mean, apparently discussing an alternate theory in Biology is bad, but discussing what makes a good Muslim is okay in a History class. I don't think you can have it both ways. I don't think you can discuss the 5 tenets of Islam in any class if you can't discuss Christianity in the same manner. In History, one could simply say that "one of the major world religions is Islam, and we will be discussing that part of the world today." One need not expound at length on the beliefs of the faithful and their religious text. Let's be honest, Buddhism and Judaism - none of the other isms in fact - received such spotlights in the same course. So, we have an imbalance. My analogy isn't faulty. There was no need to go into the five pillars as they offer nothing to any historical discussion.

What? Somehow prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, almsgiving, and the recitation of the creed add something to history? What, pray tell? One doesn't discuss the religious beliefs of George Washington when one discusses the Revolutionary War. One doesn't need a lengthy explanation of the Puritan's religious beliefs to understand that persecution because of those beliefs led to their desire to seek their fortunes elsewhere. One simply doesn't need knowledge of the Five Pillars to understand the Ottoman Empire. All it does is give you a 5-point quiz question. If “God created the Heavens and Earth” is religion, then so are the 5 Pillars of Islam.

One also doesn't need to pry out of every literary work every written every possible reference to the Bible or Christianity.

But somehow, these are accepted. And the inconsistency bothers me.

I'm not a religious sort. Far from it. So I find it curious and highly ironic to be defending what many view as the Religious Right's argument. I don't think religion should be taught in public schools. I don't. But I also don't think we need to worry about giving offense by mentioning the existence of a God in the Pledge of Allegiance, on currency, or in this nation's courts. I merely am trying to suggest that children be exposed to more possibilities and be allowed to debate and form opinions like the rest of us. I am opposed to the notion that there is some final arbiter of truth out there and that he is teaching 7th grade science.

Children should not be stifled. Discovery is all about asking questions, posing hypotheses, and testing those hypotheses. I don't think anyone is served by cutting off debate. If a group of well-informed adults can debate and discuss it for days and send the matter to court, isn't it dishonest to keep the next generation unaware of the controversy?

I'm an Agronomist. The very notion that I would endorse Creationism over Evolution is preposterous. But I find myself in the ironic position of seeming to do so. In fact though, that is not my intention. What I endorse is allowing people to decide for themselves. That's all. You don't have to include all of the biblical gobbledygook to make room for the possibility of alternate theories. You don't have to explain the Islamic Faith to explain the Ottoman Empire. Should we really leave our children questioning what is true? Because I have to tell you that learning that God created life before I started school, and then that he didn't later was very confusing.

The very reason I usually avoid these discussions is because, in my opinion, religion makes people nutty. I don't deny anyone their beliefs. EVER. In College, generally a pretty liberal environment, I was labeled "the Anti-Christ" by my friends. Why? I didn't think 8 Bible Studies per week was what my father would have considered a good use of my time or his money. So my friends labeled me "the Anti-Christ," which I felt was extremely unfair and served no purpose other than to make damn sure I never went to another religious function with them, and pushed me away from any sort of organized religion.

Simply put, they got nasty for no reason other than my making use of my time in my own way. I wasn't doing drugs and whoring around. I was studying. Just studying. And for that I earned my label.

None of that is actually pertinent to the discussion at hand, but I'm hoping it will provide some insight. I don't deny the possibilities. I think the debate is a good thing. But don't ask me to defend anything other than the notion that children should be provided with all the possibilities in the face of the unknown so that they can figure things out for themselves. At least until one theory of the many is proven to be fact.
posted by Phoenix | 8:16 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home


Popular Posts:





fighting 101s