mardi, février 08, 2005

Kantsas All Just Get Along?

I don’t want my kids learning evolution. I believe in Christianity, and like the man before me said, God created heaven and earth.

Paraphrased from a woman speaking before the Kansas Board of Education

Like a tiny ripple in a tiny lake, tiny too is the human mind. The half wise are everywhere…

Paraphrased from a book of Viking Wisdom

On my way to work this morning, listening to NPR, reports out of Kansas that anti-evolution forces are at it again.


I will never live in Kansas again. Okay, I might live in Lawrence, but only if I could get the New York Times everyday for free and mid-court, row ten season tickets to Jayhawk basketball.

In an effort to poke a tiny whole in the entire dumb enterprise, in an effort to let some small, infinitesimally small bit of light in, let me say that it seems that our creationist friends are getting a bit more creative. Now, there is conversation around “Intelligent Design.”

Here’s my thing. We know that humans and other creatures have evolved over time. There is no credible argument to be made against the mountain of evidence to show that creatures change over time. There is ample, ample, ample tons of evidence that the earth is quite old and that creatures have been here for quite some time. No logical or reasonable person could dispute this evidence.

I also find no basis in science to dispute the presence of a God or other supernatural force that inspired or directed creation or our existence. So, as I see it, there may be intelligence behind our universe. I don’t really know.

Is this too simple? Is it so easy that people miss it?

There are people in the world who see the Bible as absolute truth.
There are people in the world who see the Koran/Qu'ran as absolute truth.
There are people in the world who see the Torah (the five books of Moses) and the Talmud as absolute truth.
There are people in the world who see Moby Dick as absolute truth.

Behind most religions are zealots who think that only they are right. I don’t know one way or another. However, I do know that the public schools should not teach Christian theory.

I would teach science in the same way that I would teach comparative religion. I would explain creation in exactly that way. Creation is a fabulous mystery. Some argue that it all started with a big bang and single cells that evolved over time into dinosaurs and people and all the flora and fauna in our world. Christians and others believe that the world was created by God and that there is intelligence behind the design of our world. Scientists and philosophers are exploring both theories.

If we can’t do that, let’s just skip creation and start with cellular biology. If that’s too controversial, just start with the life cycle of the sheep. Kids in Kansas can just live a dark and dumb existence. Hey, it’s one state we won’t have to compete against for college admissions.

As an alternative, we could just squash all other religions and become a Christian theology. In our public schools and all public institutions, we could advance Christianity (and only Christianity – it’s the one truth, right? We can argue later if it should be Baptist Christianty, LDS Christianity, the Seventh Day Adventist school, Methodist Christianity, Catholic Christianity or Christianity Christianity). Atheists, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, the Agnostic, Unitarian Universalist, the uncertain and Quakers (oh, especially those darn Quakers) can all just go to hell (they will anyway, right?). In lieu of science or math or history, we can just teach the Bible, everything else is just another form of untruth.

Folks, there are a lot of religions in the world (one of my favorite sites). All of them are practiced in the United States. To have faith is to believe, and to believe is to feel you are right. To feel that you are right is, unfortunately but necessarily, to feel that others are wrong. All of that is fine, but none of that justifies the lack of respect behind suppression, however inadvertent, of other philosophies and beliefs. The fact that one is a Christian, does not confer a right, divine or otherwise, to inject their beliefs into the lives of others.

Yes, I understand that Christians argue that teaching evolution is suppressing their belief, but in our non-theocratic system, the right to espouse religion exists outside of our public institutions. Teach your own kids creationism, okay? Send them to Christian schools. Homeschool if you must, but don’t sell religious doctrine from one particular discipline as the only truth - so absolute that it must always prevail.