Science and Faith

This is quite possibly the best article I have ever read on the pseudo debate over teaching alternatives to science in Science Classes.

I've spent alot of time trying to describe the story, particularly as it utilizes a real-life couple and their child's bout with pneumonia. I've gone ahead and deleted much of my attempt because the author, Seth Ashley, really has done such a wonderful job of showing how much room there is for both Science and Faith to exist in people's lives, and in what contexts each can be most beneficient to both individuals and our species as a whole.

I had the occasional quibble with some phrasing (
[Link] Science can tell us the consequences of our behavior — take global warming, for example — but it doesn't tell us what we should do about it.) but even this somewhat dubious assertion can't ruin the tone or the content of the rest of the article.

A brief snippet from a sidebar nicely frames the "debate":

[Link] What’s the difference?

Evolution: A foundation of science that explains how biological structures change over time. Viruses such as bird flu mutate and change constantly. On the other hand, it takes millions of years for species to evolve and change due to natural selection, the process that allows individual creatures to adapt to their environment.

Intelligent design: A nonscientific idea that the complex form and function observed in biological structures is the work of an intelligent being. It contends that the origin of biological life and the diversity of all original species on Earth are the result of intelligence.

Creationism: A religious belief based on a literal interpretation of the Old Testament that God created the universe and all life.

Near to the end of the article, Ashley continues to examine the National range of the Evo-ID controversy. He describes how the current legislative environment in Missouri is still evolving towards some kind of political resolution.
[Link] House Bill 911, introduced in 2004 by Rep. Robert Wayne Cooper, R-Camdenton, would have required equal class time for evolution and intelligent design, and a teacher's refusal to comply would have been grounds for termination. The bill vaguely defined "biological intelligent design" as a hypothesis that biological structures are the work of an intelligent being. The bill also said — without any evidence — that "naturalistic mechanisms do not provide a means for making life from simple molecules or making sufficient new genetic material to cause ascent from microscopic organisms to large life forms."
If MO is the "Show Me!" state, why are folks like Wayne Cooper so all fired up to ignore evidenciary processes in the education of our children? Well, most of the legislators did say Show Me! loudly and clearly. Not that it stopped the fearful (in their guise of being faithful) from trying other routes around sanity and reason.
Missouri's science community rallied against the bill, which died in committee. In May, Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O'Fallon, introduced a toned-down bill that would require a debate about the origin of life in all biology textbooks. Her bill ran out of time in the General Assembly, but she plans to reintroduce it in the next House session in January.
Ahhhh... The inevitable evolution of an empty argument! Here's to the tax-payer's money that will be once again wasted in an emotionally charged fight for institutionalized ignorance. I believe that the people and courts will, once again, come to rational and Constitutional terms in this venue, just as they have in Dover and other places. The highly charged nature of this pseudo-debate means that the money must be spent just as it is on so many other spurious claims brought before our nation's courts.

The whole time I was reading this article, I kept thinking of the Inscrutable One's conundrum on what approach he should take to writing a response to a response to his response to a Letter to the Editor in his local paper. I don't know as this will help him any, but articles like Seth Ashley's, lucid and beautiful in its balanced description of the cultural war between Science and Faith, are a boon to our humanity and, thusly, I am quite glad that I found it and have the right and ability to share it online. Maybe it'll at least offer some kind of inspiration for Letter to the Editor writers everywhere. {-;

Special thanks to my buddy Ed Bremson of the Tao of Politics. He posted on a "candid" letter to the editor in Saturday's edition of the CDT which spoke directly to one of my biggest concerns with the current US Presidency. It was the pic at the beginning of this post that linked to Ashley's excellent article. Thanks Ed!!! I am very happy I found this one.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. To paraphrase a species, possibly far wiser than our own; Welcome, and thanks for all the fish, oh, and the meme of course. lol ;}


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