The National Center for Science Education has put together a website to respond to the new pro-Intelligent Design movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”. It is called Expelled Exposed. I have to say that red flags were raised for me when I heard a podcast about the movie based on this premise:
Have you ever noticed that Christians are fine with having God and science coexist? In fact, Christians see scientific discoveries as strengthening their faith precisely because they reveal the marvel of the world. So why is it that so many scientists seem to hate the idea of God so much?”
Um, yeah. Loonies like Richard Dawkins aside, suffice it to say that this has not been my experience of the “conflict” between Christians and science. I have already made known my stance on creationism and intelligent design.
Part of my problem with creationism and intelligent design has always been the dishonesty used to sustain the argument against evolution. I suppose it isn’t too surprising to see that this dishonesty isn’t limited misrepresenting main stream science and scientists. It turns out that many of the stories used in the movie to demonstrate this supposed intolerance for alternative views are misrepresentations as well.
For example, one scientist featured in the movie, Richard Sterberg, claimed that after using his position as editor of a small scientific journal to publish a pro-intelligent design article, he was fired from his post as editor, forced out of his office at the Smithsonian, and made to turn in his keys which gave him access to the Smithsonian’s specimin collection which he needed in order to do his work. Turns out that he had put in notice 6 months prior at the journal, had to move offices along with everyone else in his work area as part of an office re-arrangement and needed to turn in his keys so he could be issued a key card that would work with the new security system. Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on why parents who teach their children creation science or intelligent design in a way which elevates those teachings to a fundamental of the Christian faith are putting their children’s long term spiritual well being at risk. In the comments on that post (which were remarkably civil for this topic BTW, thank you to all who commented!), someone asked how I teach my kids to be faithful Christians while also accepting the science of evolution and geology and such. I think this is a good question and figured I would share how it works in our house.
The first thing I tell my kids is that God is always willing to meet us where we are. He doesn’t wait for us to get it all together or have a good grasp of life to reach out and reveal himself to us. Thousands of years ago the ancient Hebrews had no numbers for billions. They did not know what elements or atoms or DNA were. They did not know where sickness came from or what the stars were. It would have been literally impossible for them to understand a universe which was billions of years old, stars made out of burning gas shining many billions of light years away. They could not have comprehended that life was composed of atoms linked together into molecules which linked together to make macromolecules which worked together to create all the tissues, fluids and such of the human body. They could not have comprehended what DNA does, how it replicates itself, how it gets passed down from generation to generation while various mutations occur which can, over time beyond their words to even name, result in a diversity of life they weren’t even aware of.
In other words, it would have been impossible for the one true God to reveal his role in and purpose for creation to the ancient Hebrews in a way which reflected the scientific reality of this amazing creation. Continue reading
In my last post I kind of poked at those who use ridiculous notions of socialization to criticize homeschooling. Today, I’m going to sharpen my stick and point it in the direction of some of my fellow homeschoolers. It is my firm belief that an unfortunate number of Christian homeschoolers are putting their child’s future spiritual walk at risk in service to an idea which is not even necessary to the faith. I am talking, of course, about those who are teaching their children a from a creationist, anti-evolutionary POV. (Of course there are parents and churches who are teaching kids who aren’t being homeschooled the same things, but for the purposes of this discussion, I’m going to focus on homeschoolers who are doing this.)
Of course, one of the primary reasons some Christian homeschoolers teach their children that evolution, the big bang and such are wrong, is because they feel an obligation to inculcate a strong faith in their children. However, it is my very strong opinion, backed up by the experiences of many people who have been down this road themselves, that these parents are actually sowing the seeds of the destruction of their children’s faith in the future. Continue reading
In the “coulda seen that one coming” dept. there’s a report in the Chicago Tribune today about how scientists are unraveling the secrets of the sorts of complex cell designs “intelligent Design” proponents often point to as evidence for their theory. The insistence of IDer’s that some cells are just too complex to have come about through natural processes has always reminded me of the false, but funny story of the guy at the patent office who wanted to close shop in the mid 1800’s because there was nothing more to invent. Just as the man in the story was doomed by his short-sightedness to be proven wrong by the next invention to come along, IDer’s are doomed to be disproven by scientific discoveries. It’s just never a good idea to base an idea on what we don’t know rather than on what we do know.
I’ve never understood the supposed conflict between religion and evolution myself. I always want to know how God was supposed to explain the big bang and evolution to people who had no concept of DNA, germs, atoms and just barely understood how babies were made. Personally, I think he would say, “In the beginning . . .”
To get an idea of how totally ginned-up this “conflict” is, check out this column entitled “The War That Wasn’t” which appeared in the Washington Post awhile back. It’s just a shame that so many well-meaning Christians have bought into an idea which really just discredits our faith rather than strengthening it. What’s really sad is that while I am certain that most people who are creationists are honest in their beliefs, the breath-taking dishonesty of those who produce “creation science” materials reveals them to be liars who are getting rich on this phony conflict. Given the poor state of science education in this country and the number of new discoveries made since most of us left school, it’s very easy for them to present things which they know to be demonstrably false to people as facts without being challenged. Like I said, very sad.
Thankfully, most Christian colleges are honest enough to teach reality so there’s hope for us all yet.
Ok, I have to make dinner now. I hate making dinner. One day, I’d like to be rich enough to eat out all the time or hire a cook or something. These kids just expect to be fed entirely too often 😛