Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Editorial: Science class not for 'creationism light'

Editorial: Science class not for 'creationism light' WACO TRIBUNE-HERALD

Saturday, September 01, 2007

One of the hard-to-swallow slurs of modern times is the assertion that if one endorses the evolution model in describing human origins, one is rejecting God’s role.

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One so devout as Pope John Paul II said that evolution does not conflict with Christianity. Unfortunately, some people set up a false conflict between science and religion. They then seek to insert religion into science class under the terms “creation science” and “intelligent design.”

Recently, when questioned by the Dallas Morning News, a solid majority on the State Board of Education, including some members who call themselves creationists, said that they do not support intelligent design in science class.

That is a credit to people who see the distinction between science and religion.

Science is based on empirical research. Though theses can be challenged and debunked, it is the evidence that leads the conclusion, not assumptions of divine inspiration.

Intelligent design, aptly called “creationism light” by some scientists, employs statistical probabilities to assert that only an “intelligent designer” — God — could be behind all that we see in the earth and universe.

That’s a reasoned assertion backed by very serious study and writing. But it’s not science. It is theology.

People who promote “creation science” in school wish to take the round pegs of Genesis and try to hammer them into the square holes of the scientific method. (A key point: As intelligent design doesn’t necessarily employ Genesis to explain creation, is it anti-Christian just as some brand evolution to be?)

It is legitimate to discuss some of the gaps in scientific knowledge about human origins. It is not legitimate scientific discourse to insert material backed only by faith as an “alternative” to what science generally accepts.

Evolution, natural selection, is a fact demonstrated in many species. How exactly it bears on the development our species still has some theory attached, but most of it is indisputable.

It is reassuring to know that for the purposes of science classes, even creationists on the state school board are firmly in the corner of science over theology.

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