Checking I.D.

Yet another heated debate was sparked by my colleague Jan Frel's post on the electoral victory for Intelligent Design opponents.

It's not the first time that subject has caused an uproar and sparked a lively comments section.

So here's another ill-advised entry into the debate which, as far as I'm concerned, is a political one. There is no real scientific debate, there is no real theology debate.

Here's what I mean.

Evolution is not a challenge to God, but a science-based explanation for the diversity of species. The contradiction at the heart of the "Evolution vs. God" issue, in terms of opponents of Evolution, is that by forcing God into the science curriculum you are actually reinforcing the scientistic view. You are perverting God and religion by legitimating science as the absolute path to knowledge.

There's just no reason (as the Vatican's recent rejection of fundamentalism suggests) that Evolution itself can't be attributed to God.

On the other side, science-based arguments are employed to "debunk" God. It's like using Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle to debunk Leaves of Grass. It's not compatible. It's not the same way of measuring reality. All you're doing is saying, again, that religion is not science -- which we know. Therefore it's boring, unnecessary and offensive to some. But it's not based on the repetition of outcomes given a set of initial conditions, you say? Yeah, that's because that's the scientific method.

The argument is that religion should be taught as religion, and science as science; not that one supersedes or is more real than the other. After all, how can that argument be won?

Back to the real world. An interesting note in the real-world case of the Dover, PA school board elections (in which all ID proponents were voted out). The oft-neglected fine print -- undoubtedly a success story for Science, for education, and for God -- is that the platform of the incoming board members is not to dismiss Intelligent Design. Their platform actually included the teaching of ID, but as an elective course in comparative religion.

All that said, personally I see ID as a fairly naked political attempt to pervert science and as a wedge issue and not crucial to a better understanding of God. My argument is not over ID but rather over the endless debate as to which method of assessing reality is truer -- which is fundamentalism.

And for the record: a. I'm NOT implying that ALL methods of assessing reality are equal and b. I'm not implying that there is a legitimate scientific debate over Evolution. Again, it's not debatable using God because it's a scientific debate. Therefore, in the realm of science, it is true if it meets the standards science has created for itself.

I trust that everyone agrees with everything I've written and that little more need be said.

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