Creation Vs Evolution Essay, Research Paper
What Are They Angry About?
by Tyler Booman
If you’re planning a vacation later this year, better make sure it’s not in Kansas. According to recent reports, the state’s overall IQ has just taken a nosedive. What has caused this “giant step back into the nineteenth century” as one person called it? Quite simply, the State Board of Education voted to de-emphasize evolution in state testing and to give local school boards the option of deciding whether or not evolution would be taught. Nationwide, the reaction has been vehement.
On ABC’s “Politically Incorrect,” Ellen Johnson, president of American Atheists, Inc., referred to the Board of Education members as “Neanderthals.” Invectives like “embarrassing,” “backward,” “insane,” “intellectual backwater,” “blotting out the light of truth and knowledge,” peppered the Letters to the Editor of the Wichita Eagle’s online edition. Even PBS’s Bill Nye, “The Science Guy,” weighed in on the topic. The Associated Press quotes Nye as saying “to reject this fundamental, beautiful thing about the world around us is harebrained. It’s nutty.”
What is striking about the reaction to the Board’s decision is not that some people disagree with it. Anything as controversial as the creation/evolution debate is bound to generate a diversity of opinion. But the ferocity of the responses reveals something at work other than a simple difference in points of view concerning educational policy.
After all, the Board of Education did not mandate the teaching of a particular view of creation. They did not endorse fundamental Christianity, or Judaism or Islam. They didn’t even order the teaching of creation alongside of evolution. They chose merely to de-emphasize evolution and allow local school systems to decide how — or if– it is taught.
So why all the anger?
If you listen to the voices raised in protest, you might conclude that creationism is inherently anti-scientific and anti-intellectual. That even to allow the concept to be considered alongside evolution undermines the very fabric of education. But then, how would one explain away the many scientists who look at the world around us and see abundant evidence of intelligent design? And even if you disagree with those scientists, why the vitriolic responses when their views are considered? Ad hominem arguments and straw men are not proper responses for those who believe that “science rules.”
If the concept of intelligent design by a creator is absurd, backward, harebrained and nutty, those who think so should reasonably–and scientifically–demonstrate why. What is it about our universe that precludes the existence of God? What scientific proof can be offered to quash the notion of an intelligent creator? Of course, no such proof exists. If it did, these folks would long ago have destroyed the concept of God and moved on with their evolutionary model.
The real reason for their fury is that in opening the door the for a non-evolutionary model, the Kansas State Board of Education has threatened what has become a quasi-religious orthodoxy. In our culture, evolution is no longer considered theory, or even fact, but “truth and knowledge.” It has attained that status, not because evidence of intelligent design is lacking, but because design requires a designer. And if we permit the existence of a designer, then we open up the disturbing possibility that we might somehow be accountable to that person.
Phillip E Johnson in his book, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds writes, “the intellectual elite in America believe that God is dead. In consequence they think that reason starts with the assumption that nature is all there is and that a mindless evolutionary process absolutely must (emphasis his) be our true creator. The common people aren’t so sure of that, and some of them are very sure that God is alive.”
Last week, the “common people,” spoke. They said, in effect, that they wanted to allow for the possibility that the magnificent universe we see around us did not merely pop into existence of its own accord. They wanted their children to be able to reasonably consider that the place of their origin is something other than an ignominious pool of slime. They wanted to leave the door open for God. And because they have challenged the “orthodoxy,” they have been called harebrained, nutty and weird. In fact, they have been called every name but the most appropriate one: heretics.
The concept of intelligent design should be permitted in the schools, right alongside of evolution. It does not amount to a state establishment of religion so long as no particular religion is endorsed nor any specific doctrines taught. And if our children are as intelligent as we think they are, they should be capable of weighing the evidence for themselves, and drawing their own conclusions. After all, isn’t that what education is all about?