Creationism is illegal?!?


My blog is usually about art-related topics, but please allow me this brief diversion. A federal judge has just ruled that the theory of intelligent design cannot be discussed in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district. Why? Not because of it’s scientific merits (or lack thereof), but because it violates the so-called “separation of church and state”. Funny, I always thought scientific questions should be resolved in the labratory, not the courtroom.

Never mind the fact that the phrase “separation of church and state” appears nowhere in the constitution. The first amendment only states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” The idea is freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. The same day Congress passed the First Amendment (Sept. 25, 1789) they approved a resolution requesting President George Washington to proclaim “…a day of public thanksgiving and prayer….”. Early American society was saturated with religious thought, and any honest student of history must admit that the Founders were hardly trying to forge a secular society.

But setting that debate aside, my real concern is that the courts are now censoring certain scientific theories not because of their merits, but because of the perceived ideology behind them. According to the AP news article, “Dover Area School Board members violated the Constitution when they ordered that its biology curriculum must include the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause”, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III said. Can anyone quote to me the part of the constitution that forbids the acknowledgment of God? I thought we were “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights”? After all, if our rights merely come from human governments then those same governments can take them away.

I know what some of you will respond by saying intelligent design is bad science. While I believe there are gaping holes in the theory of evolution, that is not my point. My concern is that the courts are overstepping their bounds. Intelligent design isn’t being censored because it is good science or bad science, but simply because it conflicts with a secular atheist worldview. It seems secularism must be defended at all costs, and any scientific evidence to the contrary must be squelched. I say let both theories be presented fairly and let them be judged on their own merits.

Thanks for listening to my rant. Feel free to post a comment. I welcome other opinons, but due to my busy schedule I may not be able to reply.

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26 thoughts on “Creationism is illegal?!?

  1. You do realize that Jefferson, one of those Founding Fathers who supposedly wasn’t trying to found a secular society, actually did say that there should be a wall between church and state, right? Also, the Kitzmiller decision threw ID out because of its ineluctable ties to Christian Creationism. Creationism isn’t science, and thus can’t be taught in a science classroom. There is no question of whether ID is “good science or bad science”. It isn’t science AT ALL, and thus doesn’t deserve the label.

    • Yes Jefferson did say there should be a wall between church and state; a wall which kept the govt out of the church’s affairs but one which would allow the church to keep the govt in check, stopping it from becoming corrupt.
      I am concerned about the use to ID and Creationism interchangably, they are infact two different sciences. Creationists obviously belive in the 6 day creation mentioned in Gen 1 but inteliigent design therorists are those which belive this world came about due to the input of intelligence. I have heard of ID theorists which think this intelligence is like a ‘force’ not a ‘being’, or that a ‘being’ used evolution etc. I realise this may be the misconception of the judge (if you have quoted him correctly).
      May i ask whether you have investiagted the reseach performed by reputable scientists beofre you stated that ID/Creationism is not science

  2. “and any honest student of history must admit that the Founders were hardly trying to forge a secular society.”

    Come again? Sure they were! What was it they had left Europe for? Religious prosecutions. Read your constitution again – and point out where the word GOD is? ALL of europe’s constitutions at that time mentioned God; and today most of them remain as such. The US diverted from that for good reason – to make a secular country where EVERYONE was free to pursue their own religios beliefs. That meant to keep the state out of religion, and to keep religion out of state – the first amenment.

    My argument would be that ANY serious history student would be able to tell you that. Too bad, that your view is a widely misconception of this fine country. God has no role in government – for if “he” did, which God would it be?

    Look at countries where there is no separation; Look at Iran, Saudi Arabia, Equypt … look what comes from religious empowerment. It’s only the few that has a good life under such rules. The US constitution and later amenment were the key to success – that the US would undergo the same fallasies.

    You seem to read the constitution as a certain gentleman reads the Bible … if “congress shall make no law ….” isn’t that a separation of congress from religion? It’s what “most law professors” that know about this stuff will tell you it means.

  3. Good subject Cedric! I agree with you. First, If there is no God, where did we all come from? No one knows for sure. But the Bible says,”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1. I know the debate is about government and God but if you don’t believe in God you have already become intolerant and one sided in your view. Look outside at your car. Did your car evolve from slime over billions of years? Of course not. It had an intelligent designer. How much more complex is the human body? God’s thumbprint is on everything!

    From what I understand, the separation of church and state isn’t even in the constitution. It was a letter written by Jefferson. But certain judges have taken it to be constitutional.

    Take God out of the government and you have our schools today. Look at the violence, the shootings, rapes. Horrible things are happening because people are following what is right in their own hearts. And the bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9 But God knows, and that is why He sent His son. To turn us from our own hearts and back to Himself.

    Which God would rule in Government? Which god is the god of your life? The god of hate, pornography, greed, selfishness? The bible says that if we are guilty of just one of these we are guilty of them all. So, we are all guilty. Thank God for Jesus Christ!!! Who cleanses our sin and presents us before God blameless. Only through Him can we live life peaceably.

  4. Cedric,
    I read the opinion from the bench, it’s not all that exciting. Your title, “Creationism is illegal!?!?” is silly. That’s not what the case was about. The judge simply said that despite the validity of the scientific pursuits of those people who feel that Darwin did not explain everything this specific action by the school board to force a change in the science curriculum is not as much science as it is faith in a lab coat.

    Coralius,
    There are limits to the extent to which evolution explains things of this world. If you don’t want to call that I.D., that’s fine with me, but don’t pretend it’s perfect and don’t teach faith in Darwin either.

    Shawn,
    The U.S. Constitution isn’t very long, nor is it difficult language. You’d be well served to read it. If you believe that the constitutional concept that prohibits congress from enacting a law to establish a state religion is often over-played into an anti-religion statement, than I’d agree with that.

  5. I think one thing should be cleared up for me before I choose a side. Is it censored in school, or only in biologyclass? And is it censored completely, or is it just something that shouldn’t be taught?

    I feel that in biologyclass, modern science should be taught… creationism shouldn’t. The teacher and classroom should however be open to discussion about it if a student wishes so – and if it doesn’t hurt the finishing of the curriculum. There should be classes that at least talk about it, though, in religion class or cultural class or whatever possible class this theme would fit into. If the school in general is still open to it being discussed, I feel that the judge has made the right decision.

  6. Whether one believes Creationism or not does not take away that one little eensy bit of fact….it is NOT a science. Nope. Not one bit.

    It doesn’t belong in science class. It cannot be proved or disproved. It’s a “faith-based intitiative”, if you will.

    The burden of proof is on the ID crowd, and instead of rational attempts to explain supernatural events, they point to the sky and tell us God can’t be explained, therefore it belongs in a Science class?? Whaa?

    Evolution, holes or no, can be tested against the here and now, reality as it stands.

    Intelligent Design…or whatever fancy name they give it to add credibility…is not illegal, as you say. Even the judge has no problem with students discussing ID. Just don’t do it in an arena dedicated to natural explanations for natural phenomena.

    Also, do a little research on the Founding Fathers, particularly Jefferson, an infamous agnostic if ever was one. And, how you can have freedom of religion without freedom from it as well?

  7. “But setting that debate aside, my real concern is that the courts are now censoring certain scientific theories not because of their merits, but because of the perceived ideology behind them.” -Cedric

    Doesn’t the ideology behind an idea account for it’s merit? The ideology behind intelligent design is “faith-based reasoning”. Faith-based reasoning is the opposite of “evidence-based reasoning”, which happens to be the ideology behind science.

    That’s why they banned it in “science” class, ya dig?

    Luke

    P.S.: I wanna know if Cedric thinks that all religion-based creation stories should be taught in science class, or just his own religion’s creation story?

  8. Wow, some interesting posts.

    I totally agree with Cedric. Like the graphic you put up for this post.

    The root of this discussion should be of concern for all. That is what country do we live in where a court can tell a school what it can teach or not teach.

    What if that same court had ruled that evolution could not be taught. I would find that just as wrong and a court telling the school that they can not teach intelligent design. A government of the people for the people. State and community rights. These are the things of freedom, not courts ruling from with not accountability to being voted in or not.

    You cheer this court imposing on our freedoms because you like the outcome. What if that same court rules that the government can take your property and give it to another private citizen because they will use it in a way that will generate more tax revenue for the government then you were? What if that court then rules that church buildings need to be torn down and disbanded, because they offend the public senses? Courts overstepping their bounds and making or over interpreting laws is a problem.

    What is there to be afraid of with teaching intelligent design? I feel that education should be as inclusive as possible in teaching all things and letting people learn what is going on around them and deciding for themselves. This is a huge debate in our country. It would make sense to teach it in science so that kids grow up understanding the issues and the positions. It seems that the position of one side is that they only want their side taught and is being intolerant of others views. A vast majority of people believe in some kind of God. What is wrong with teaching a form of science that atleast acounts for this posibiliy. Especially if there is no specific God mentioned.

  9. “A vast majority of people believe in some kind of God. What is wrong with teaching a form of science that atleast acounts for this posibiliy.”
    -Kirk

    What’s wrong is that intelligent design is not based on evidence. It’s not a hypothesis that can be tested, thus it’s not science. ID doesn’t explain the fossil record, bio-geographical diversity, common structures between species, vestigial anatomy, or similarities in biochemistry between species. The theory of evolution explains all of this evidence rather well, (or rather, this evidence points toward the theory of evolution).

    It should be illegal to teach intelligent design in science class, just as it should be illegal to teach that the sun rotates around the earth (another theory that had to be ripped away from the church, in the face of undeniable EVIDENCE).

    Luke

  10. Luke,

    Ok, but there was a time when teaching that the world was round would have been wrong.

    Who knows what the future may hold for how eveloution will hold up. Many of the scientists have given up on the big bang as a means for the beginning. Knowledge expands, shouldn’t we be open to other ideals wheather from a religious point of view or not?

    You say it should be illegal to teach intelligent design.

    What if intelligent design proves to be right in 10 or 20 years from now? Can you be 100% sure that intelligent design is so wrong that it should not even be taught? We should be open to new possiblities. People who challenge paradines and make revelutionary discoveries are people who are open to new ways of thinking about something. Often these people are seen as outsiders. Children should be taught to be critical thinkers insteading of censoring a possible theory of the beggining of life.

    People complain about other modes of censorship to the extent of permitting things that actually are destructive and should be censored.

    It is unfortunate that politcal correctness has cast any opinions from a religious point of view as worthless or only valid in a religious circumstances.

  11. “We should be open to new possiblities.” -Kirk

    We should be open to reasonable possibilities, not blatantly ridiculous ones. Being open to possibilities doesn’t mean that we should teach students that the mothership is waiting behind the moon to beam us all up one day. Some people believe this to be true, and it’s a theory that surely can’t be disproved 100%…thus it’s definitely a “possibility”. So, should we openly invite it into our classrooms? NO!!! Because it’s completely founded on faith, and not based on any real evidence…..does this sound familiar? Yes, it’s just like intelligent design! This is why the vast majority of sciencists discount intelligent design as rubbish. The only people who propagate it are Christians who have no choice, because the theory of evolution conflicts with what the bible teaches. Intelligent design is an idea born out of a necessity to hide from the mountain of evidence that represents the theory of evolution. There’s a minuscule amount of evidence that supports ID, which makes it nearly completely faith-based. Thankfully, Judge Jones recognized this. There’s no place for faith-based ideas in science class, plain and simple.

    Luke

  12. Evidence is not some neutral ‘thing’. Evidence is nothing until it is interpreted. The evidence (counter to what the popular TV show CSI says) does not speak for itself. It needs an interpreter. Unfortunately all the interpreters are biased one way or another.

    To say that there is evidence for evolution and not intelligent design simply exposes the presuppositions that the interpreter is bringing to the table – that there is no designer. That doesn’t prove anything.

    Those who say there is no evidence for intelligent design presuppose there is no intelligent designer from the outset. Those who say that there is no evidence for evolution presuppose the existence of the intelligent designer.

    There is nothing wrong with the notion of presuppositions. The problem is the claim that somehow one is better than the other because one has a more realistic basis or stance because of the evidence. Both views are working from faith (beliefs) and therefore both are, in a sense, ‘religious’. So when a court says that evolution is non-religious they expose their ignorance of epistemology, religion and philosophy.

    Say it like it is, evolution and hence naturalism is the religion of the day. Ok, fine, but denying the voice of the other ideologies isn’t very smart ‘educating’. But it is smart dogmatizing.

    Naturalism or Theism (or any other -ism) – none of them can prove their point of view because they all start from faith. Hume made it clear, we can’t even prove (in the strict and important sense of the word) a simple thing like ’cause and effect’. Just because it happened that way yesterday, doesn’t prove it will happen that way tomorrow. Moreover, who can prove their own existence prior to this very moment? It’s equally explainable by the brain in a vat theory (upon which a few Hollywoord blockbusters have been based). There is no way to escape the slippery slope of skepticism. One has to start by ‘believing’ something.

    Of course that doesn’t mean you can’t show why one system may be more internally consistent than the other, or how one explains the world better than the other. But bottom line, they both start from a faith system.

    So why not teach kids the most widely accepted philosophical ideologies which effect our ‘sciences’? Why not even the lesser ones like the mothership variety…

    We homeschool our kids and teach them the major philosophical/religious ideologies of the world. Not just intelligent design, not just evolution, but both – and more! Are we biased one way or another? Of course! We are Christian Theists through and through, but even though we are, we try to show each system from each system’s point of view so that our kids can actually understand where people are coming from. We discuss each system from the other’s view so that they can compare them. We even talk about those weird odd ball ideologies. Why not? Why can’t the public school system do that? Isn’t that what education should be? I suppose not – if you are just trying to raize zealots for your own cause – and people from both sides of this issue are guilty of that.

    I want to raise my kids to be thinking kids – not ones that blindly follow one ideology just ‘because’. I firmly believe that Christian Theism is internally consistent and the best explanation of the world – and I can back that up with lots of reasons, argumentation, etc… But if my kids end up disagreeing with me, so be it. I’m not into brain washing.

    I applaud Cedric for his post. The courts are overstepping their bounds.

    Cheers,
    Paul Mikulecky
    Lost Pencil Animation Studios Inc.
    http://www.lostpencil.com

    “The art of character animation is to try to catch lightning in a bottle…. one volt at a time.” Brad Bird

  13. Kirk and Paul, excellent points. Especially Paul. I am a creationist, and I have studied the evolution/creation debate for several years now, but I would be a liar to claim that either creationism or evolution fit into Popper’s Principle of Falsification. I can have an intelligent debate with an evolutionist, provided that we BOTH understand that we interpret the facts based upon our own axioms (assumptions). Normal “operational science”, although it was founded by mostly creationists (Blyth, Dalton, Mendel, Galileo, Boyle, Pasteur, Newton, Linnaeus, ect.), is totally seperate from the metaphysical theories of evolution and creationism. The only correct answer to this situation is that we still need some theory to give meaning to life, and why we are here. I encourage looking at both sides with an open mind, but keep watch for deception on either side (Wyatt’s archeology claims, or Haeckel’s embryos, just as examples). Keep in mind,the one you choose will be your choice mostly because it agrees with your life philosophy, and how you want to live your life. If the idea of a being higher than yourself is not appealing, then it will be evolution. If you want a clear-cut purpose that will last long after you do, than maybe creationism. Blessings, guys!

  14. Oh by the way, I just looked at Paul’s comments again, and I’m amazed. My comments really didn’t add anything. I don’t think anyone could put it better. We’re all biased, but I think Paul came at that just about as objective as a human being can get (and objectivity is virtually non-existent in the natural and social sciences these days). Excellent work, Paul!

  15. “My concern is that the courts are overstepping their bounds. Intelligent design isn’t being censored because it is good science or bad science, but simply because it conflicts with a secular atheist worldview.”

    That’s good posting right there.

  16. Paul,

    It’s true that mostly everyone holds presuppositions about the way the world works. Yet you are forgetting a very important fact, which is…. Most people’s presuppositions are flexible. People’s presuppositions arise from the evidence they view, and these presuppositions are usually susceptible to change when one views any evidence that may contract their previous presupposition.

    I think this idea is commonly overlooked by Christians, because they are taught to believe in some absolute truths (that is, that the bible is God’s word, and God’s word is infallible and immutable….thus the ideas the bible presents must be true.) A Christian’s presuppositions may be completely flexible in many cases….(Take, for example, the belief that there are 9 planets orbiting the sun. If evidence of a 10th planet was presented in the form of satellite images, a Christian would then have no problem believing that there are 10 plants orbiting the sun…an example of evidence changing one’s presupposition). However, a Christian’s presuppositions are completely INFLEXIBLE when it comes to ideas that are spelled out in the bible (in this case, the idea that God created and designed life). Any evidence that showed that the process of evolution mindlessly designed life would have to be viewed as false by a Christian…..for if it were not viewed as false, the Christian would no longer be a Christian.

    On the other end of the spectrum, it is one of the keystones of science that there are NO absolute truths. Even the most well established theories in science, like gravitational theory and atomic theory, are not thought to be 100% true (which is why scientific theories are always subject to constant testing, examination, and modification.) Scientists will commonly use the word “fact” when referring to such theories, but they do so only in the sense that they are “very likely” to be a true, according to the current evidence. If compelling evidence were presented in favor of intelligent design, a scientist could believe in it and still be a scientist. Infact, a scientist would HAVE to believe in it in order to be a good scientist. For a scientist only believes what is most likely to be true according to the evidence, while a Christian believes what is most likely to be true according to the bible. Note that the difference is that scientists rely on evidence, while Christians rely on their faith in the bible, thus you are wrong in saying that both groups rely on “faith” to the same degree.

    Just for kicks, here are some examples of evidence that the theory of evolution explains perfectly and intelligent design/creationism does little to explain:

    Evolution explains the gradual increase of complexity in organisms that can be seen in the different levels of the fossil record. It explains why flowering plants are never found with Paleozoic reptiles, and thousands of other examples like this. It explains comparative anatomy, which explains how the anatomical structures within a particular group of organisms often reveal that they are based upon a common prototype. It explains vestigial anatomy, like the tail bone, appendix, and goose bumps, which have no purpose currently, but used to useful in our previous forms. It explains comparative biochemistry, which explains how the more closely related organisms are, the more similar their biochemical makeup is. It explains bio-geographical diversity, which explains how long isolated animals have common structures and a more similar biochemical makeup to each other than to other animals.

    I have yet to see how intelligent design explains away all this evidence for evolution.

    Luke

  17. For clarification, when I said:

    “Any evidence that showed that the process of evolution mindlessly designed life would have to be viewed as false by a Christian…..for if it were not viewed as false, the Christian would no longer be a Christian.”

    ….I was just referring to Christians who hold at least a moderately literal interpretation of Genesis.

    Luke

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