What's the Big Secret?
By Mark Earley
Prison Fellowship President
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?
More from Charles Colson on CBN.com
From BreakPoint, © Prison Fellowship
with Chuck Colson" is a radio ministry
of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission of
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