Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Wrong Dance

In a previous post, I talked about the Supreme Court decision concerning a slave named Dred Scott. It is known as Dred Scott v. Sandford from 1857. Scott claimed:

his presence and residence in free territories required his emancipation. Scott's lawyers argued the same for Scott's wife, and further claimed that Eliza Scott's birth on a steamboat between a free state and a free territory had made her free upon birth.
Scott lost and the results can be read at the Wikipedia link above. Among them is the ruling that African-Americans could not ever be considered US citizens (since overruled by the 14th Amendment).

The ruling in this case is so bad that at first it deflects consideration of the argument. Scott's lawyers worked within the confines of the mindset of the day. Laws allowing slavery in some states were accepted, and in others they were not. The argument "danced" around these laws. The thinking was that because Scott resided in free territories for a time, he should be emancipated.

But this argument was wrong. Scott should have been freed from slavery because no one should have been a slave in the first place.

I think the same can be said for the situation in US classrooms and the way the theory of evolution is handled. We are making the wrong arguments and dancing the wrong dance. Though atheists may have their rights in the classroom, so do believers. No child should be made to answer to a government institution against his or her religious beliefs. The Intelligent Design movement tries to dance around the rules against teaching creationism in the classroom by saying it is OK to teach evolution as the working theory but we should be allowed to look at the weaknesses of it. Instead they should demand that Darwinian Evolution Theory not be forced upon children at all.

Though many scientists want Darwinian evolution to be their working theory, that does not mean they should enforce it upon others. Some scientific theories impinge on the religious beliefs of others. American scientists and educators may not want to trouble themselves with thinking of others, but they live in a country with many different kinds of religions and they need to face that fact. There are soldiers willing to die for the right of freedom in this country, and many of these soldiers have beliefs that are contrary to philosophical materialists. When one thinks of the toll taken by the efforts to correct the scourge of slavery, it is asking little of educators to make the effort to teach scientific methods in a way that does not impinge on individual beliefs. For believers, science is the study of designed entities.

The ID people should realize that for a believer, design doesn't have to be proven. It is already understood that God made everything. Science itself can be defined as the study of designed, created entities. Science is how we learn about these entities.

A Creationist is someone who believes God created the world--not just someone who thinks He did it exactly 10,000 years ago. It is time to claim back the word "Creationist" for all believers and to unite for what is right.

Of course, Creationists need to respect the rights of others. There has got to be some way we can work this out.

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