...Science class is for science. I've never really posted about the whole creationism in classrooms thing before, but I'm big enough to admit when I've had my head in the sand and I'm pretty sure this was just such an occasion. I honestly didn't want to believe that there were that many people out there who not only don't believe in evolution (that's a funny way to put things- like believing in gravity, but there you go....), but believe that their philosophical extrapolation of a mythology should be treated as verifiable science.
There are a lot of reasons for this, but the biggest one is that people don't really understand science. I mean sure, you took a class or two in high school maybe college that involved some lab work, but for the most part the only real difference between the way you learned science and the way you learned history was that your science book had images of microscope slides and your history book had artistic renderings. Someone probably gave you a pop quiz or two on the steps involved in the scientific method, but none of that really translated into a general understanding of how science works. Seriously. For most people the word science conjures images of Bunsen burners, flasks, microscopes, eyedroppers, and lab coats the same way the word witch summons images of black kettles, hooded robes, and people doing dubious things in the woods. Sadly the similarity doesn't end there, because for many people science is just the newfangled hocus pocus.
Now I can't correct for the entirety of that unfortunate failing of our education system in one blog post, but I'm going to sling my little rock for all I'm worth at the Intelligent Design in schools Goliath. (Okay, so it's only a Goliath in the Republican party. Really, don't you people see how you're giving everyone a black eye here? No? Well, stick with me, and we'll see if we can't get the light of day to shine on this for you. See, that's the other reason I've stayed away from this topic. It makes me uncivil.)
Let's start with a basic premise that we can all agree on. When it comes to God (or gods or whatever) it's all faith. (We're not talking about the fence-sitters waiting around for proof, that's like the exact opposite of faith.) It doesn't matter if you believe or don't believe. It's faith; the position can't be proven one way or the other so coming down squarely on one side is entirely about faith. (If you want to argue that particular point I'll be happy to take it up via email.)
Hold onto that.
Now let's take a look at one of science's most important tools. The entire point of going through all of that is to generate reliable evidence in order to make a determination. Evidence is what separates science from philosophy and religion.
I know there are some (*sigh* more like many) people out there who are currently saying (or thinking) it says (insert whatever) in the bible, there's your proof. But what you fail to see is that that is your proof. And what's more, it's dependent upon your acceptance of a point of faith in order to even be considered as evidence. The argument boils down thus: God exists (and embodies/contains/engenders list of attributes). The Bible is the word of God (and as implied by list of attributes of God therefore true). Therefore the Bible is proof of God's existence and his works. All of that makes a very pretty circle and is exactly how half of the argument over the existence of God has gone since birth of monotheism (and further back if you change up the names of deities and holy texts). The other half is just as circular, but in the negative.)
So the difference between teaching evolution and teaching intelligent design is that I can give pages upon pages of evidence none of which require faith on your part. Where as in order for you to even get out of the gate with intelligent design, you have to have faith. And that has no place in a science class. What's so damn difficult to understand about that!?
*Update* Welcome fellow LGF readers! Feel free to look around. Hope you like the place.
*Update* This gentleman actually takes the time to patiently walk you through. (Courtesy of the LGF link posted at the beginning of this post.)