As I am sure many of you already know a court battle has begun regarding the exposure of Intelligent Design in public classrooms. The issues presented in this AP article caused me to reflect on a couple of things.
First, there really is pressure from the general scientific world (read-“pre-theoretically committed metaphysically naturalistic scientific world”) to make the latest form of Darwinism a state mandated scientific position. Is there another field of public school education in which there is a single dogma mandated by school boards, courts, state and federal governments? Is there another field in which the state has taken sides, forced a position, and created this kind of teaching structure?
Secondly, the evolution position is working at winning the debate by framing the issue in a false and deleterious manner. Anytime you read a piece on this issue, you will read some form of this quote from this article:
Eight families sued, saying that the district policy in effect promotes the Bible's view of creation, violating the constitutional separation of church and state.
Ironically, the policy, as represented in the article, says nothing about Christianity, Creationism, or religion. The way the debate is being framed in the public square seems to be, “True Evolution against Blind-Faith Religion.” That framing stacks the deck before anyone gets a chance to weigh the actual merits. An old but quite genius tactic, actually.
Thirdly, I continue to be surprised by the public reasoning employed by ID’s opponents. Sure, there are those who genuinely deal with ID’s scientific and philosophical merits, but the public face of ID’s detractors is more akin to the historical arguments in favor of racial or gender discrimination: if we allow another point of view into the public eye, the way things have always been might change. Deep. Here it is from a witness for the evolutionary case:
The statement read to Dover students states in part, "Because Darwin's theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered." Miller said the words are "tremendously damaging," falsely undermining the scientific status of evolution.
So, apparently what “scientific status” means to Miller is, “can never change or be challenged.” Forget ID. What about the Cambrian Explosion versus gradual, cross-species mutation? The statement included in the above paragraph would allow for theoretical changes within evolutionary theory, whereas the reply by the evolutionist would not.
Miller had this to add in response to a question about science and absolute truth:
"We don't regard any scientific theory as the absolute truth," Miller responded.
If Miller believes Darwinism cannot be challenged as “new evidence is discovered,” it would seem it is pretty absolutely true.
Fourthly, I am disappointed at the context of the case itself. I find the way ID is being presented in this particular school district rather silly. From the article:
Dover is believed to be the nation's first school system to mandate students be exposed to the intelligent design concept. Its policy requires school administrators to read a brief statement before classes on evolution that says Charles Darwin's theory is "not a fact" and has inexplicable "gaps." It refers students to an intelligent-design textbook for more information.
What is that intended to do? A statement, not even by a teacher, that refers students to another textbook is a pretty pointless context for both ID and the lawsuit against ID. If the school district was ready to implement some form of scientific free-inquiry, this is a pretty shallow attempt. Additionally, if evolutionists wanted to attack the current leading candidate for World’s Worst Nemesis, religion in public schools, this is a pretty trite context.
Right Reason, a great clearing house for many Christian Philosophers, links to an online debate involving Francis Beckwith regarding the legality of teaching ID in public schools.
Many more thoughts and links at Wittingshire.