The Daily Scoop: Science, religion and policy – Part 1

The Daily Scoop will delve into a controversial area today. Spurred by the direction a recent discussion took and coupled with the discovery of the article here examining some intersections of religion, policy and science, the debate between Theory of Evolution and creationism will be the theme today. The article here gives some insight into the recent Tennessee bill that was seen by many as an open door to bring intelligent design (or creationism) into the classroom, to be taught along side scientific theory. The author provides some good insight into the minds of the legislators who presented the bill and their astonishment over the controversy it created. It’s well worth reading along with the linked companion article it refers to at the beginning. The second part of today’s Daily Scoop is a video about a landmark court case in Dover, Pennsylvania involving the teaching of intelligent design in the high school there. 

From the Economist:

MY COLLEAGUE wrote a characteristically thoughtful post on the non-binarism of scientific and faith-based belief systems. As it happens, my piece in this week’s paper is about Tennessee’s newly enacted law protecting teachers “from discipline for teaching scientific subjects in an objective manner”. I spent a large part of last week discussing this bill with scientists and civil-libertarians, many of whom see the bill as a Trojan horse for the teaching of creationism and intelligent design; with the bill’s supporters in Tennessee’s legislature, who seem genuinely amazed that the bill has stirred controversy; and with a representative from the Discovery Institute, whence the bill’s inspiration came. In this battle generally—that is, in the battle over whether humans evolved through natural selection or were created ex nihilo by God a few millennia back, and in the battle over whether the latter theory has a place in science classrooms—I side with the first camp.

But I found it difficult not to feel a measure of sympathy for the bill’s sponsors, Representative Bill Dunn and Senator Bo Watson, both of whom seemed genuinely surprised by the furore it had caused.

Read more…

4 Comments to “The Daily Scoop: Science, religion and policy – Part 1”

  1. Is intelligent design and other forms of modern-day creationism a science as science is defined? Unquestionably not – and the courts unquestionably support that. Critical discussions in the science classroom are important as long as it is within the boundary of the science classroom.

    Is intelligent design and other forms of modern-day creationism promoting a religious view point? Unquestionably yes – and again, the courts support that too (and the most recent is Dover)

    Does intelligent design and other forms of modern-day creationism represent the Christian view? It represents a Christian view – not the view. Because it is not this view of the majority of Christians, this is a deliberate attempt to force one particular view onto all.

    Do churches do enough to educate their flock about their denominations stance? Unquestionably not – thus part of the problem because too many people think they have to make a choice. Besides not having enough of an understanding to make a choice, they don’t have make to make the choice and they don’t realize that.

    How can one make a choice without knowing much, let alone understanding, evolution?

    For anyone here who wants to know more about the interchange between science and religion, I invite them to my blog.

    Oh – I could go one – but I’ve gone too long.

    Meanwhile, carry on Tennessee because enacting this law will ensure it won’t stand.

    • Wow! You’ve put in a lot of work into this topic. There truly is a lot out there that needs to be set straight and far too many people who do not comprehend the scientific process and separating the popular definition of “theory” and the scientific definition.

      You’ve done a lot to educate, I just hope that those who need to read these do indeed READ them.

      Thanks for this Frank!

  2. Thanks. I went on a self-taught journey with an idea what I wanted to know. With one source leading to another, I would say my bibliography is alone is 4-5 pages. You saw that I’ve done many posts on the topic, so I welcome all to read the archives.

  3. As a former evangelical Christian (but never a Young Earth Creationist), I have thought very long and very hard over this issue. In 2009, I wrote-up my conclusions on my Falsifiable Theology blog (that I no longer monitor- so don’t post comments on it and expect a reply any time soon). However, to summarise, I have some sympathy with those that want evolution downgraded from atheist dogma to a theory that explains the fossil record; but I have no time at all for those that want the Bible to be used to trump scientific understanding of the way the Universe came to be as it is.

    Meanwhile, if you and your readers have not seen it, you/they may enjoy reading this:
    At the end of this piece, ultra conservative (Mormon) professor of Geosciences at the Brigham Young University, Barry Bickmore, is quoted lamenting his failure to prevent Republicans voting through “cAGW is a Hoax” legislation in Utah, whereupon he makes it clear he thinks climate change denial will be a disaster for the GOP because it will eventually be blamed for damaging the long-term prospects for the USA’s economy. Similarly, I believe that any resurgence of the 20th Century invention that is Young Earth Creationism will do catastrophic damage to the long-term prospects for Christianity’s credibility.

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