Friday, March 25, 2005

Mysterious Ways: The Washington Post ran an excellent column about how secularists try to dumb down intelligent design. Despite all the sensational brouhaha about Christianity creeping into curriculum, there's an interesting debate to be had about evolution. But the discussion currently underway has the same sophistication as a monkey pooh-throwing contest (meaning no disrespect to our primate cousins).

Right now we have Christians who want to denigrate biology textbooks with ridiculous stickers that misuse the word "theory". Atheists are countering that any question of Darwin violates the separation of church and state. But while both groups are trying to protect children from the other side, neither seems concerned with fostering an environment that teaches students to think critically about what they are learning.

Just to be clear, I am not a religious person. I float from agnosticism to deism, depending on the humidity. I haven't bought into any particular religion, but I do believe in God, simply because the state of nature provides evidence toward his (lower-case H) existence. However, I can't prove anything, and I don't believe humans are capable of proving such things. That's why it's called faith.

If God is out there, I don't know how much he interferes with everyday life. Chances are he lets nature take its course, as evidenced by the tsunami disaster and the Longhorns' lackluster performance in the NCAA tournament. But I still pray. It can't hurt, for one, and I often find greater answers and a deeper truth by seeking help. Whether it's an angel's grace or my subconscious sputtering into action is irrelevant to the good that comes from the power of prayer.

Science has proven that evolution does exist -- this is beyond dispute -- but it hardly answers all the questions. Where did life come from? Science tells us that it came from chance, a primordial soup brewed under the right conditions until something crawled out. But if that's true, then such spontaneous generation should be observable in nature, or at least able to be replicated in a laboratory. A true scientific experiment must be repeatable, not just be a one-time occurrence. And so far life has never come from nonlife.

Plus, the complex structures that are present in today's life are fascinating and incredible. Random mutations cannot account for everything life has to offer. Humans are incredibly intelligent -- they can build rockets and machinery that are truly astounding. But even with their smarts, humans could not build from scratch anything as complex and amazing as, well, another human. Yet we are supposed to believe without question that single-cell organism evolved by chance to become cheetahs and daffodils.

Just because questions remain doesn't mean that God is the only answer. As man's understanding of nature evolved, observations once attributed to God were eventually explainable through scientific reason. For example, early man attributed the presence of rain to God's will. Today scientists, with the help of high-tech weather satellites, have since figured out that rain really comes from the way a butterfly flaps its wings. See how far we've come? In short, there is probably a scientific answer to many of the questions I've brought up. And that's what makes me think God has a hand in this. The world runs under such scientific order that I have a hard time believing all this came from accidental chaos.

We shouldn't teach religious myths in a biology course any more than we should teach biology in a theology course. But if we're going to teach kids about science, we need to teach them the shortcomings to what we know and the questions for which we have no answer. The first role of science is to question everything, not to obey a strict list of dogmatic rules. We should leave that to religion.


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