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Mark Earley
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PERSPECTIVES

What's the Big Secret?

By Mark Earley
Prison Fellowship President

CBN.com – Chuck Colson recently talked about the intelligent design debate flaring up again in Kansas. Now something very similar is going on in Dover, Pennsylvania. A school-board election has sparked a conflagration in that small rural community—and again, it's over the issue of intelligent design.

A year ago, the school board in Dover approved a policy requiring that high-school biology teachers inform their students of challenges to Darwinism. The New York Times gives the details: "A statement is read to biology students asserting that Darwin's theory 'is not a fact,' urging them 'to keep an open mind' and pointing them to the seminal book on intelligent design, 'Of Pandas and People.' Students are allowed to leave class when it is read."

But even this unusual procedure of allowing students to opt out isn't enough to appease critics who say that alternatives shouldn't be presented at all. Speaking of intelligent design, former school board member Jeffrey Brown told the New York Times, "The junkyard is full of unproven hypotheses. We have no business promoting it until it's gained widespread acceptance in the scientific community."

So seven candidates are now running for school board to unseat incumbents who voted for the intelligent design policy. Going by the name "Dover C.A.R.E.S," they're proposing that intelligent design be mentioned only in humanities classes, to be taught as a religious idea, not a scientific one. Of course, intelligent design makes no claims about the identity or nature of God: It only posits that nature is so complex that it must have arisen by design, not by chance—something, by the way, Albert Einstein believed.

Dover C.A.R.E.S. argues on its website that intelligent design theorists should be happy with their proposal. They claim that teaching the theory in humanities class will allow for more class discussion than would reading a statement in front of a science class. But that deliberately ignores the point that teaching a scientific theory in humanities classes sends the message that it's really not a scientific theory at all. And that's precisely the message Darwinists want to send.

If memory serves me, quite a few ideas that are now widely accepted in the scientific community were scorned and ridiculed at first. Like the idea that the earth revolves around the sun, for instance. Now, I'm not saying that intelligent design theorists are collectively the next Galileo. All I'm saying is that the members of the scientific community who look back at that era and accuse the Church of being hidebound and repressive are now acting exactly the same way themselves.

Why must it be a secret that some scientists—and not just religious scientists—believe that naturalism might not provide a sufficient explanation for the origin of life? Why is it supposedly so unscientific to talk about controversies in the world of science? If intelligent design is really unscientific, Darwinists should prove it once and for all by giving it a real chance to compete in the scientific arena. Science isn't dogma; it's a discipline to exercise all hypotheses and find out what is true. Science that's afraid of new discoveries and possibilities can't call itself science at all. Let's just have an open and honest discussion in science class. Is that really too much to ask?

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From BreakPoint, © Prison Fellowship Ministries. "BreakPoint with Chuck Colson" is a radio ministry of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission of Prison Fellowship, P.O. Box 17500, Washington, DC, 20041-0500." Heard on more than 1,000 radio stations nationwide. For more information on the ministry of Chuck Colson and Prison Fellowship visit their web site at http://www.breakpoint.org.

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