Intelligent Design, Unintelligent Debate

Since I’ve been pondering the topics of schooling and spirituality (separately), I thought I’d comment on the ugly underside of mixing the two. Let me get out a couple of ideas first:

* Public schools should teach what knowledge the society has. In a pluralist society, it’s a secular humanist organization by nature. Public schools are not there to indoctrinate children. There are other institutions better suited for that.
* Science is the ongoing study of our world through particular processes, which we call the scientific method. Its instruction ought to include the process (including limitations, if you will) as well as the knowledge discovered through those processes. Yeah, that’s a rather circular definition, but you know what, it’s worked pretty well so far. And science recognizes that it is a dynamic field. What may be true today may be false tomorrow. That’s the way it works, and it comes with the territory. Just ask the inventors of margarine.
* I personally believe that science is one of the ways of looking at the world. Most religions are other valid ways of looking at the world. However, because religion and government tend to get ugly when they get together, and I believe religion is much more powerful if people discover and develop in it on their own, I think they should be kept out of public schools. Churches and small groups are much better suited for religious instruction. The public school format can’t do it justice. It seems that what does make it into public schools when religion is supposed to be taught isn’t religion, but dogma.

Ok, now that I got that out of the way, I’ll be the among the first to say that Intelligent Design (ID) should not be taught as a science. Why? Because it wasn’t discovered through the scientific method. It’s basic premise appears to be, “Life is too complex to have evolved through natural processes, so somebody must have created it.”

Such a statement is not only impenetrable by the empirical methods of science, it is an *opinion*. That is what people believe through processes other than the scientific method. Some people allege that ID was created simply to pick a political fight in the public schools, and, whether that is true or not, it should be taken for what it really is: Christian creationism packaged in scientific jargon.

Now, if you believe in Christian creationism, then good for you. I’m not going to make fun of your beliefs, even if I don’t share them. They’re your beliefs, and if they support you, then great. I happen to believe that there is something more than radical materialism that influences our daily lives, but I’m not going to march down to the local school board and demand that all teachers in the county teach it. Why? Because the spiritual beliefs that I hold may not work for someone else. They may require different rules, different ways of thinking, and a different path to Enlightenment/Christ consciousness/realization than I do and that’s just perfect. I happen to believe in the law of karma and reincarnation, but if you believe in a afterlife in the spirit world and that supports your path, then awesome. I just ask that you don’t try to make teachers teach your religion.

And what about atheism? Yeah, I believe that atheism shouldn’t be taught, either. I think it’s just as wrong for a teacher to say “There is no God” as “There is a God.” As for the beginning of the Earth and life on it, the Big Bang and evolution is what science has to offer, and should be taught as such. In the case that religion and science come into conflict, people should have the knowledge to decide for themselves what to believe.

So keep your religion out of my child’s school. I can take care of that myself, thankyouverymuch.

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