Saturday, May 07, 2005

Long-term impacts of evolution debate

By not letting creationism be debated in comparative religion classes, where it really belongs, we are furthering the decline of science in this nation. What does that mean?

It means that other nations are passing us in math and science. School vouchers or school choice or fixing our public schools does not in any way change the fact we have made science less important in the curriculum. While we sit here and debate school prayer, creationism, Hollywood, "filibusters against faith," No Child Left Behind, we've let some of the most important subjects in our school system go.

Math and science are the guiding forces behind innovation. We invented so many of the great technologies of the past two centuries in this nation, but now those R&D jobs are going to India, to China, to nations who are putting emphasis on these important subjects. And those jobs are going along with other jobs because along the way to trying to "regain religion in our schools," we de-emphasized what makes us strong as a nation.

Let me ask you a question. What good will it do any of us if we have all the religion in the world in our schools if our nation is poor and indebted to others? Religion is important to private, in my house of worship. Religion is important to many of us....but it should not be a political tool. Religion has a place to play in any believer's life, but it shouldn't stop us from teaching the sciences, from teaching math, from teaching literature of all sorts. Religious conservatives wish to stop teaching evolution, wish to ban any literature that was written by a homoxsexual or mentions one, and wish to bring "faith" back to public schools.

Let me be perfectly clear: This drive to make creationism a science is lethal. It is injecting a religious issue into a field that needs to be agnostic. When we let religion be a filter for the things we see, the things we hear, the things we test ruthlessly, we have lost. Galileo was decried by the religious conservatives of his time, but he was right. Copernicus was criticized, yet he was right. Darwin was ruthlessly attacked, but he was right. The reason there is such a rush to bring creationism into a science curriculum is, I think, because the thought that a higher power doesn't guide all our actions scares many people. They must have that idea, because it makes them feel secure. It's the idea that leads Pat Robertson to declare that federal judges are a greater risk to the American people than Al-Qaida. It's the idea that takes extreme judges, who rule far outside of the law and interject their personal politics into their decisions, to become martyrs to a "filibuster of faith."

I'll tell you what it is. It's garbage. I believe in God, Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, the Holy Spirit. I believe, as I stated in a previous post, that God was the force that began it all, but I do not believe that man walked with dinosaurs, or that our Earth is only 7,000 years old. There is definitive proof that this earth is far older than that, and that evolution has taken place in many species. I mean, look at the striking similarity between President Bush and many monkeys (kidding, I'm kidding!) Genesis, in fact, doesn't even mention dinosaurs. I think that people were told these stories for generations, and eventually wrote them all down. It probably wasn't until the time of Joseph, as far as I know, that there began to be comtemporary documentation.

Ultimately, when we degrade science, when we degrade technical skills, when we waste more time fighting to bring religion into schools than we do in improving our technical skills and improving our education, we decline. Remember, the Romans started going downhill after Constantine's conversion to Christianity. This is not in any way to demean religion or its role in our lives, rather, it is to make the point that we're spending too much time in all the wrong places, and instead of fighting to reduce evolution to one of several beliefs, these conservatives should be spending their time making sure our children are the best educated, best trained, most well-prepared to deal with reality. The world doesn't conform to our shape. We have to find our place in the world, and I can tell you that the Indians aren't having this debate, and they are taking our jobs.

By the way, they're pretty faithful over there.


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