Sunday, November 13, 2005

Of Science and Religion

The recent decision by the Kansas school board to rejoin the 19th century has left me to wonder what all the palaver is about. This vote was a good thing. I can see it now! This intellectually lazy "science" will be a boon to intellectually lazy students the world 'round.

Teacher: "Class, what is 6 x 9?"
Johnny: "God knows."
Teacher: "Right!"

C'mon! Be serious. You could call Intelligent Design a science, but then, you could also call me "Ra, Sun God, Master of Time, Space and Dimension." Neither would be right.

I was prepared to write a long and scathing essay on this topic. I had written a three-page screed but then decided that there were better works out there. I am not against religion! I just don't think that it should be taught in public school science classes. Oh, and the religious right-wing will claim that this "theory" of theirs is more than just creationism dressed-up in a lab coat. It is not just an attempt to slip their theology into science. If this is the case, why are all the main proponents of ID in the religious right-wing?

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the Reverend Pat Robertson. He has the right to implore God to smite any foreign dictator that he wants. First he thinks he is the keeper of the divine hit-list, now he really believes that he is the sole spokesperson for God! The good people of Pennsylvania have the right to teach science in their science classes. Should they choose to vote the eight members of their school board off for trying to foist creationism off as a science, who is he to tell them that God will no longer be there for them?

But as I said, this is not an angry screed about the stupidity of Kansas for not-only voting that ID must be taught in their schools but also for voting to change the meaning of "science." No, really... that is the part of the story that doesn't get enough airplay.

They now want to define "science" so that it no longer is looking for natural explanations for observed phenomena. This will probably make things fun in electrical engineering classes at the University of Kansas:

Instructor: "Mr. Smith, your paper on computer design is really great."
Smith: "Thank you. I thought it important to debunk the fallacy that electrons moving along the conductive materials inside chips on the motherboard cause computers to work."
Instructor: "Yes, and that word 'Motherboard' has such a stink of paganism to it."
Smith: "Since the hand of God is what makes the computer work, I think that we should call it the manna-board."
Instructor: "I'll call the board of education and ask them to pray upon your suggestion."

There is an old proverb that says, "He who cannot remember the past is doomed to relive it." Apparently, however, even those of us who can remember the past are going to be taken along for the ride.

For fifteen days in the summer of 1925 Dayton, Tennessee was the center of the universe for creationists (literally since everything in the universe revolves around the Earth, you see) as John Scopes was tried for teaching evolution in the public school. Imagine! It was a crime to teach science in a science class. Makes you wonder what Home Economics would have been like...

Mary: "My cake always fall, Miss Nancy, what am I doing wrong?"
Miss Nancy: "Well, you probably didn't pray enough. God is making your cakes fall because you are a bad person!"

I am not saying that all proponents of Intelligent Design are stupid, backward or gullible. That would make the "theory" easy to dismiss. Some are misguided, some are sincere in their belief that there is some viable reason to call this science, and some are just insidiously using it to forward their agenda. They want to turn America into a theocracy with their God at the helm.

Didn't we just bomb the heck out of a theocracy because it fostered hate and discriminated against its own population? Hmmm. I guess that they backed the wrong god.

Billy: "Teacher, why is the sky blue?"
Teacher: "Because God wants it that way."

Well, I guess that is enough, I'll jump down off the lectern for now. But not before making one pitch in favor of ID. There are some good things to be said for taking the intellectually lazy route of blaming everything that you can't or don't want to explain on a supernatural power! For anyone that I have offended with this piece, please remember:

I am this way because God wants me to be!
(Alternatively, I could be possessed of devils. Take your pick!)
Don Bergquist - 13-November-2005 - Lakewood, Colorado

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