August 14, 2005
As you might have read below, I was quite mad to learn that the Kansas Board of Education has been taken hostage by Creationists with a new PR firm. And you may assume that I was mad because I'm a firm believer in evolution and I hate Creationists. Its not that simple.
I come from a biology background, so I spent a good portion of my higher education on the topic of evolution. I can tell you, and so can thousands of other biologists the world over, there are no controversies about evolutionary theory or whether Darwinian evolution exists. The arguments within the study of evolution are over how the theory applies to certain groups of organisms, not all life on earth.
The exaggerated arguments peddled by creationists about supposed controversies in evolutionary theory are just false. The goal of creationists is to try to convince the general public that the theory of evolution has significant holes that cannot be explained by science alone. Anyone with a good fundamental understanding of evolutionary theory knows that is false and creationists have been rebuffed for years in their attempts to have Creation Theory taught side by side with Evolutionary Theory in public school science classes. So they have changed the terminology they use from Creation Theory to Intelligent Design and they refer to Evolutionary Theory as "controversial." This is a PR move and it has been quite frustrating to see the general public buy into like a new kind of soft drink or emerging diet fad.
So, am I mad because creationists are at it again in their assault on science education? No, I figure some faction of fundamentalist Christianity will always try to make the world conform to their beliefs. Forcing Creation Theory on impressionable school children is just a means to an end.
No, the frustration comes from an "up is down" philosophy that merely dismisses evolution outright despite the volumes of peer-reviewed evidence supporting it. Why not try to resolve the difference?
There is a school of thought that the human soul is a divine creation. You don't have to lie about some pseudo "controversy" within Darwinian evolution to hold the belief that the human soul is divine. And that belief doesn't seek to negate millions of years of fossil and geologic evidence sitting right under our feet. It recognizes scientific advancements in understanding the origin of life on earth while holding room for philosophical ideas about the questions science can't answer.
The bottom line, reasonable people all over the world have resolved the difference between science and religion and they live their lives without any conflict between the two. Are they godless? No, they are probably more spiritual than most because they have thought long and hard about their religious philosophy and scientific reality.
What is being debated in America's public school system today is not about giving equal weight to 2 differing schools of thought in science. It is a debate about whether we teach our children the truth about the origin of life on earth or we further dumb down science education in this country because fundamentalist Christianity cannot resolve the difference between science and religion. Don't be fooled by fancy P.R. campaigns and disingenuous terminology, this is a wholesale attack on a century of sound science and the quality of science education in America.