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April 14, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

How to resolve the evolution vs. creationism debate in schools: debate the controversy and provide a marketplace of ideas

On the other hand, militant evolutionists aren’t fighting to have their position heard in the schools: it already is heard. Instead, they are fighting for exclusivity — they want evolution (and ONLY evolution) to be taught. Why? Well, partly because of their devout faith in science (which is evangelical in character and views any challenge as heresy). But mostly because of the religious orientation of the alternatives to evolution; God has no place in the schools, they say. These people fail to make a distinction between preaching and teaching; they don’t recognize that you can discuss religious issues without the evangelism. They see that boogeyman everywhere, trying to convert our children to God!! But just because I may talk to my students about the Jewish position on abortion doesn’t mean that I am attempting to coerce them to adopt that position.

At the bottom of the insistence on evolution (and only evolution) is an anxiety about the effect of religion on citizens. The evolutionists implicitly further Dawkins’ idea: religious people are a blight on democratic secular society. They claim that religious faith is either the product of stupidity or ignorance, and as such must not be tolerated in a political system that depends upon rational and scientific deliberation. In other words, they conceive of the good citizen as one who is wholly taken in by ideology, even if that ideological orientation is only enabled through an ignorance of its alternatives. The scientio-rational worldview flirts with totalitarianism — as long as there is any resistance to “science” (whatever that is; frequently it seems to mean “left politics”), science cannot effectively bring into being the cold, sterile, monochromatic world it is always willing into existence. In the words of George Will, these people are for the diversity of everything but thought; a tragedy given that diverse thought is the only thing that is truly necessary for the proper functioning of democracy.

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