God has Darwin on the Run

by Beacon Staff • October 5, 2005

Earlier in the year, there was the tragic story of Terri Schiavo. For weeks the media and even the country's lawmakers were focused on the tug of war between Schiavo's husband and her parents over her right to die.,"Americans are too uptight about religion. It seems that at least once a year there is some controversy over faith or worship and its interaction with secular life.

Earlier in the year, there was the tragic story of Terri Schiavo. For weeks the media and even the country's lawmakers were focused on the tug of war between Schiavo's husband and her parents over her right to die. One avenue that was continually debated was the religious aspect to the struggle. Faith leaders like Jesse Jackson descended on Schiavo's Florida hospice room and preached about what God would want and about how many involved were not considering the religious morals that were at stake. This sad debacle lasted far longer than it should have and was a disgrace to all involved-especially the lawmakers who attempted to insert themselves into a private family dispute.

The latest issue to come out into the public eye involving religion deals with the idea of Intelligent Design (ID) being taught in public schools. ID has been steadily gaining in popularity since its creation by a Christian-textbook publisher from Texas in 1989. Since its debut, the idea has moved from being just another phrase for creationism to being a full-fledged scientific theory. The theory states that certain features of the universe and of living things are too complex to be a result of natural selection. Proponents of ID claim that instead of nature making the decisions through trial and error, an intelligent cause or agent guided the design of our universe.

This theory has caused outrage among some parents in Pennsylvania who did not like the fact their children's 9th grade biology class began not with the theory of evolution, but with the idea of Intelligent Design. The parents are now teaming up with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to stop ID teachings in public schools. The media has picked up on the story and is fueling the fire of yet another showdown between God and Charles Darwin.

Ever since the famous Scopes Monkey Trial back in 1925, evolution has been an accepted lesson for teaching in the classroom. It seems odd that in a new century, with all the technical and scientific advancements we have made, the validity of evolution would still be in question.

Indeed, the entire situation seems quite ridiculous. Those in favor of ID cite the fact that there is no definitive proof of Darwin's theory. This makes perfect sense since a theory is really only a best guess. Yet, this theory isn't chalked up to a higher power but instead based on empirical evidence, which is collected for years before making any conclusions. ID, on the other hand, is a haphazard response to Darwin's theory based strongly on the idea of creationism, which cannot be proved using any sort of scientific method.

Though it is wrong to promote the idea of ID as science, it does not mean it is without a place in a public school curriculum. ID or creationism should be taught to students, not as a factual answer, but as historical context. Students should be taught how humans went from creationist stories to scientific theories and be told why and how these changes in thought came about.

People in America get too charged up over brushes between faith and science. Some are afraid their children are being brainwashed into believing in God while others are convinced religious morals need to be imposed on everyone to keep America's youth healthy and pure.

Evolution is not a perfect theory, and most scientists would most likely agree with that. Since its inception, it has undergone many revisions, and as our abilities to probe the issue increase, the theory has become more and more refined. The teachings of ID, however, are static. The basic ideas put forth by its supporters have not undergone any sort of fundamental change for thousands of years. These two forces are often at odds with one another, but in the classroom there is room for both so long as faith isn't taught as science and science isn't taught as lies.

"

[gallery]