Ending specious reasoning
By David Scott
Reaction to the Kansas Board of Education’s decision to discourage teaching of “macro-evolution” is a depressing reminder of how little our national debate has evolved since the days of the Scopes “monkey trial.”
Predictably, the media have painted religious believers as pigheaded zealots who want to block out anything that might conflict with their airtight worldview.
And it’s true that some “creationists” on the local level fit that bill. Some set up a false, unbiblical opposition between science and belief—as if what Christ has revealed about God and man could somehow be threatened or contradicted by our efforts to understand how we are, in the psalmist’s words, “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps 139:14).
But the real zealots are those who want evolutionary theory taught as if it is an infallible dogma. It’s not. Far from it.
There is much that evolutionary theory explains, and there is much that it hasn’t been able to explain. And real scientists—those honestly interested in the pursuit of the deepest truths about human beings and the world we live in—are unafraid to say so.
The problem is that real scientists aren’t in charge of the debate.
Many of those pushing evolution in the schools are those with a different agenda. They want our kids raised to believe that they are no different than animals—a random product of sinew, bone, and raw appetite, with no greater significance in the universe than any other thing found in nature.
Up until last year, the National Association of Biology Teachers defined evolution as an “unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable, and natural process” that produced “life on earth.” he only thing scientific about that “scientific” definition is that evolution is a natural process that is unpredictable. The rest is pure ideology—aimed at rejecting any idea of God or a non-materialistic origin of life. Wisely, the association has voted to drop the words “unsupervised” and “impersonal,” which are unproven, and can never be proven by the scientific method.
Now the scientific establishment has to take the brave next step of teaching children the whole truth about evolution.
Let’s let them know, for instance, that evolutionary theory has helped explain how animals adapt and change in response to natural forces in their environment. But let’s also let them know that there is much that evolution cannot account for, such as the inner design and workings of the cells that make up persons and animals.
And let’s also let them know that evolution is simply not enough to explain the amazing qualitative differences between humans and other species.
There is nothing in the fossil or chemical record to explain why we alone can compose hymns of praise and symphonies, or make great sacrifices out of love, or build skyscrapers and space stations, or engage in scientific explorations of the secrets of the universe and the workings of the body.
We do not expect the government-run schools to begin teaching that the human being is made in the image and likeness of God and that each of us has a divine purpose and destiny.
But it’s time to stop preaching, in the name of science, that life is just a random struggle of species to survive. That’s a species of false dogma that should not be fit to survive in a free society.First published in Our Sunday Visitor (August 29, 1999)
© David Scott, 2009. All rights reserved.