Re: [xmca] Intelligent Design decision

From: Steve Gabosch (
Date: Sat Dec 31 2005 - 17:22:40 PST

Deb, why should creationism not be brought into the science
classroom? Here is one line of argument, based on advocating
religious rights and the separation of church and state. See what you think.

Your reasoning that creationism should be brought into the science
classroom is suggestive to me of the "teach the controversy" angle
that the Discovery Institute and other advocates of intelligent
design have been promoting. But I would argue that such an approach
is an attack not only on science education but also on religious
freedom. Loosely speaking, the topics and objects of science are
concerned with how to observe reality (in the broadest sense), how to
understand what has been and what might be observed, and what can be
done with such knowledge. Science is about observation, but faith is
about what can not be observed. In my opinion, believers in
creationism (intelligent design) - and believers in any
non-observable ideas based on faith - have the right to learn about
science without having their fundamental beliefs in the
non-observable questioned and debated in a place like a school where
they cannot choose to leave. So I disagree with you about using
science classrooms to "force" people to face facts about their God or
"expose to scrutiny" their beliefs in how their God created
nature. As I see it, this is exactly one of the fundamental reasons
why the "church and state" should remain separated - to prevent such
coercion from taking place. Religious doctrine and beliefs based on
faith should therefore not be a topic of debate in the science
classroom. On teaching children to think critically, and to view
scientific theory as something that changes historically, I totally
agree with you. But subjecting the religious beliefs of young people
to criticism and debate in science classrooms is not, in my opinion,
a way of doing either of these.
- Steve

At 02:02 PM 12/30/2005 -0500, you wrote:
>I guess I think much of the energy spent on this debate would be
>better directed at teaching our children to think
>critically. History tells us that a good portion of even the most
>scientific theories will be undermined by new methods and
>discoveries. While this issue taps into emotion more than most,
>bringing creationism into the science classroom exposes it to
>scrutiny that it might otherwise escape. Why are we unwilling to
>directly approach this with our students? Those (like me) who were
>raised on a diet of fundamental Christianity would be forced to face
>the fact that our God works through evolutionary processes - and
>that this does not run contrary to Christian doctrine.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Ares, Nancy (Warner) <>
>To: 'eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity' <>
>Sent: Sat, 24 Dec 2005 16:49:19 -0500
>Subject: RE: [xmca] Intelligent Design decision
> Interesting discussion, which mirrors the debate in the US on lots
>of levels. I agree with Kevin that one of the central issues is where it is
>best to explore the inconsistencies in theories of creation and evolution.
>Such topics as mind/body separation, free will, and cultural beliefs and
>narratives about the origin of humans and humanity are certainly the stuff
>of social science and social studies courses, where belief systems,
>ideologies, theologies, cultural traditions, etc. are rightly the focus. I
>doubt that many on this list or in other venues would argue that. Commitment
>to unfettered inquiry is central to many disciplines.
> I also agree with Kevin that attempts to place this sort of
>examination in a science class locates creationism or intelligent design
>among incongruous company. The basis of ID is not scientific, in the sense
>that topics we locate in science classrooms are defined. The 'horse of a
>different color' metaphor is correct in this sense.
> So, the argument is not about whether our children should be
>'banned' from examining scientific and social scientific theories. It is a
>matter of the proper place for such important discussion and exploration.
> Now, whether popular opinion or belief (as Deb says, that resonates
>with a large proporation of the US population), should dictate curriculum is
>another another horse of a different curriculum...
> > Good Morning Kevin,
> >
> > It's more than that. The creationist's quest for inconstancies in gene
> > theory has spurred some of the most productive investigations in
> > evolutionary
> > science, and the creation/evolution debate has inspired religious
> > thinkers to
> > reexamine and reevaluate some cherished tenets. I believe the crux of
> > the
> > issue is that ultimately evolutionary theory threatens mind/body
> > separation which
> > fits so beautifully with the notion of free will. This is an important
> > area
> > of discussion that should engage both the hard science and the social
> > science classrooms occasionally. Our children should be encouraged to
> > seek out and
> > examine inconsistencies within and between all of the subjects they are
> > taught. We are both limiting and underestimating our children by banning
> > from the
> > classroom any theory that resonates with a large portion of our
> > population.
> >
> > and peace with you, especially during this holy season, Deb
> >
> > In a message dated 12/21/2005 6:00:38 PM Pacific Standard Time,
> > writes:
> >
> > Dear Deb:
> >
> > I noticed your posting. My two cents here. ;-)
> >
> > I'm imagining the issues was less one of teaching the scientific view
> > versus the view from religious belief as it was the issue of the
> > proponents wanting the religious belief to masquerade as a scientific
> > Theory alongside of evolutionary theory. To teach children that both
> > Are equally valid *scientific* theories, by teaching it in biology
> > class.
> >
> > You mention social science. And I guess I'd agree that I'd consider
> > there to be more a case, if they were arguing that in social studies
> > they'd want to have their kids exposed to the religious creation
> > viewpoint and to let their kids know that some folks reject the
> > scientific theoretical approach in favor of these beliefs based on
> > Biblical revelation.
> >
> > That's a horse of a different color, though, I'm thinking.
> >
> > In Peace,
> > K.
> >
> > wrote:
> > > Hi Peg,
> > >
> > > I would love to discuss this further - I confess to a limited
> > understanding
> > > of the legal issues to date, but having raised my children in
> > international
> > > schools where these topics were openly and widely discussed, I can't
> > help
> > but
> > > feel that Americans are sterilizing our learning environments to the
> > > Detriment of our children and our communities. Please keep me in the
> > loop.
> > >
> > > Deb
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > Christmas mailing list
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> >
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Christmas mailing list
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
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