Preaching against a non-existent Left

In Kenneth Woodward’s Op-Ed in the New York Times, he talks about Intelligent Design, which is an attempt to get creationism taught in public schools by stating evolution is “just a theory.” The premise of his argument is that science and religion need not conflict.

Well, duh!

He undercuts counter argument by engaging in a reverse ad hominem: mounting his high horse as “a religious believer who recognizes evolution and does not think intelligent design theory belongs in any school’s science curriculum.”

Hmm, I’m all that and a scientist to boot.

Oh don’t get me wrong, Woodward is an understanding man:

For some religious fundamentalists, [Intelligent Design] may indeed be a way of making room for God in science classes. But for many parents, who are legitimately concerned about what their children are being taught, I suspect that it is a way of countering those proponents of evolution – and particularly of evolutionary biology – who go well beyond science to claim that evolution both manifests and requires a materialistic philosophy that leaves no room for God, the soul or the presence of divine grace in human life.

Sure there is a tiny bit of error and a whole lot of equivocation there. The actual statement should read, “For most, if not all religious fundamentalists, Intelligent Design is the way to making room for God in science class.”

What is with this obsession to find a fake middle ground by constructing a Left that doesn’t exist?

Let’s be honest here and think back to your K-12 American science education. Do you think it is more likely for evolution to be taught by someone using it as a launching pad to proselytize their atheism or by someone who will either skip over or denigrate evolution as being “only a theory” because it offends their religious beliefs?

Most Americans are religious, are we really to believe that most science teachers in our high schools are not? Should we really believe that teaching Darwin in our schools is part of a vast left-wing atheist conspiracy?

And if there was, they’re doing a shit job of it. There are far more Christians in our science schools than there are atheists in our churches.

What a moron.

And what of those people who “who go well beyond science to claim that evolution both manifests and requires a materialistic philosophy that leaves no room for God, the soul or the presence of divine grace in human life.” What evidence is there in Woodward’s thoroughly researched Op-Ed?

None other than James D. Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, who said, “one of the greatest gifts science has brought to the world is continuing elimination of the supernatural.” which Woodward notes, “A historian of ideas would immediately recognize this perspective as an echo of the 19th-century clash between proponents of science and religion.”

Too bad Watson could only have said that in the 20th century, not the 19th. This statement about the “supernatural” echoes more the 17th century inquisition than the 19th century Scopes monkey trial.

Fuck, man, you get the world’s most famous atheist/scientist and this is the best you can come up with? A famous scientist happens to have a philosophical/religious belief different from mine—what heresy! Are we going to go for Einstein next because he’s a Jew?

Science is interesting because it has limits. Because of quantum uncertainty, we can’t discern if God is playing dice because we can never pull away that curtain with experimental observation. As a Christian, I see the beauty of God in that limitation, for it yields a philosophy more beautiful than anyone could have though of without the hard reality of truth confronting them: our act of observation affects the outcome on a fundamental level. And puzzles yet to be understood: Schrödinger’s Cat, Grand Unification, quantum computing, etc.

The closest thing a scientist has to truth is “only a theory” for it may be forever disproven. That science itself is uncertain, that science discovers its own boundaries. That is a limitation I feel my religion can live with. Too bad Woodward and Intelligent Designers can’t feel the same.

4 thoughts on “Preaching against a non-existent Left

  1. The author of The Republican War on Science has an article summarizing his book on TPM Cafe. It’s about the politicization of science.

    I don’t agree that science is targeted specifically because anti-science viewpoints strength the “unholy alliance” of social authoritarians and regulated industry.

    (BTW, they are not social conservatives. Social conservativism would imply you are against change, not for creating thought-police laws.)

  2. Eight members of school board who pushed “Intelligent Design” into the Dover school system lost their re-election bid.

    Sounds to me like Kenneth Woodward should be eating crow right now. There are many people like him who pretend to speak for personally religious people like me. While they are free to express their extremism, they should not be given allowed to do so in our nation’s newspapers under the guise that they represent anything other than the minority viewpoint. For as the Dover election shows, for every one of them, there are far more of us.

    Religion has its place in the personal morality of our nation’s scientists, not in the public education of our nation’s children.

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