Tuesday, May 24, 2005

An Official State Dogma?

Georgia Textbook Evolution Stickers Removed

Much has been said about this issue, but reading this article this morning, a familiar phrase caught my attention all over again.

Six parents sued to remove the stickers saying the disclaimers violated the principle of the separation of church and state. A federal judge in January agreed and ordered the stickers be removed.

Are we happy with there being an official state dogma on a scientific theory-a scientific position that is determined and mandated by the state? According to the logic of this ruling, not only is a non-Darwinistic theory inherently religious (a non sequitor itself), but the reigning Darwinistic theory is the only theory allowed in state run schools.

Are adherants to theistic evolution content with this state of affairs?


Tim Van Tongeren said...

I thought that state-imposed beliefs were exactly what the founding fathers were trying to avoid.

Will the ACLU defend non-Darwinistic theories?

Public Theologian said...

I don't think that the issue iw whether something is Darwinian or not. There is a process for doing science and peer-reviewed sceintific research and one doesn't do that sort of thing in seminarries or Sunday schools nor write about them in church newsletters. What the purveyors of creationism and the new fad intelligent design want is to skirt that process by taking control of this or that school board, thereby using their political clout to circumvent the process of enquiry and peer-review and publication. That is what is not acceptable. These folks can't make it in the marketplace of ideas so they use their numbers to force their way into the schools. But that is not how science is done in this society.

I am as convinced of the essential correctness of the Darwinian theory of evolution as I am of the correctness of germ theory or the theory of electricity. But I am open to a new idea if it comes via the proper route.

Phil Steiger said...

Public Theologian-you continue to betray your own prejudice while arguing against it all at the same time. "How science is done in this society" is to ignore the scientific reality of any theory other than Darwinism-espeically ID. The core of the matter is in fact that one theory-the reigning and socially acceptable theory-is Darwinism. I am not sure you or anyone else would be able to name a contending scientific theory that is allowed to be taught in public schools that is not Darwinism in one shape or another.

And it is not because others are not serious contenders. The reason much of the public battle ground over this issue is in school curriculum is because the current academic dogma of Darwinism will not allow competing voices-not because ID is scientifically inferior.

Public Theologian said...


Science is simply amthid aplied to observable data. The problem with ID is that it isn't science--it's a philosophical/theological argument about origins. I believe in a Creator God and make that public confession each Lord's Day. But that confession is not science, as I did not arrive at that conclusion by the application of the scientific method but by grace through faith.

If ID were science it would be testable, repeatable the way that evolution is. The reason that Darwinian theory is so widely accepted, despite the horror that it caused when it was introduced in the 19th century, is that again and again when tested in a wide range of experiments, it proves to be the most correct statement of what is actually going on.

To say that there is no other widely known scientific theory that challenges Darwin is as meaningful as saying that there is no scientifc theory which challeneges germ theory. It isn't because there is some scientific cabal to keep out any other theories about the transmission of disease. It's just that for a hundred years, germ theory has proven itself to be the most accurate statement of how the process od diease transmission occurs. And if one wants to challenge germ theory, one has to do it by the standard route, and that does not include taking over the local city council and having stickers put on all prescription drugs which say WARNING: The proposition that these drugs will cure your disease and/or alleviate your symptoms is just a theory.

As a Christian it is embarassing to have my co-religionists trying to use political muscle to get their ideas heard, like somebody's mother filing suit because he got cut from the JV basketball team. The simple answer, that what has been put forward simply is not good enough to make the cut and that what is needed is more practice, does not seem to be sinking in with some people. I don't care if Darwinism or any other scientific theory stands or falls. If Intelligent Design won the day tomorrow through the academic journals and the peer-review process, I would become a proponent But I do want the process of the scientific method to be preserved, which does not include political take overs.

Phil Steiger said...

PT-Thanks again for your thoughts-I think they are illuminating. You find it embarrasing that your co-religionists assert political muscle to get a "religious" point of view publicly accepted. I, on the other hand, find it indicative of the naturalistic dogma of the day to try and dismiss ID by "defining" it out of the debate, and thus hopefully relegating it to the religious dustbins of history.

You claim ID is not a scientific theory, but a religious claim. The atheists involved with ID would disagree, and the Orthodox Jews and the Mormons might also take offense at the implied Christian overtones of that invective. You should pay more attention to the details of the arguments of ID and not the propoganda coming out of the Darwinistic academic community. Francis Beckwith, among others, has done a good job (a knock-down job in my opinion) of rebutting the silly dismissals of ID being a "religious" claim and not a scientific one. I don't have the links on hand, but I posted a couple of times on his articles and arguments. The reason so few academic journals have published ID articles is simply because they have done the same thing-they have gotten caught up in their assumptions and dogma and appear to be blind to the science of ID.

As for Darwinism being like germ theory or Grey's anatomy (another similar analogy I have heard), it is similar in the same way alchemy is similar to germ theory. They are all scientific theories, but that simple categorical similarity does not convey the relative certainty of germ theory to alchemy. So to assert that because germ theory is accepted and not denied in any serious scientific community and therefore that Darwinism enjoys the same reality because it is also scientific is a logical fallacy.

I have again posted elsewhere, and you can read for yourself in numerous places, that the ID theory of the universe is just as testable as any form of Darwinism. ID makes detailed and well-documented assertions about probability theory, the apperance of design, chemistry, physics, and cellular biology only to name a few. All of those assertions and hypotheses are testable in the same way the Cambrian explosion hypothesis is (if not more so, actually).