Thursday, August 25, 2005

I refuse to name this post.

Garou responds to my Unnamed Intelligent Design post:
You'll note that I didn't say why I liked the article, yes?
I totally noticed that.
Sadly, too many people refuse to acknowledge the role of faith in society, and seem determined to drive any mention of it out of schools entirely.
Faith certainly has a role in society. In fact, I forgot to make something very clear in my earlier post. I quote myself:
For people who study radioactivity (and, perhaps, milk), the question of whether radioactive milk is safer after boiling is pretty well closed, and any dispute stems from ignorance. I've read enough about Evolution and Intelligent Design (ID) to know that it's a much deeper debate than I have time to follow, so opinions I have on it come to you direct from the land of ignorance also.
I think most people engaging in the debate do so from a position of faith. I don't understand all the nitty gritty (ooey gooey?) detail the science of our origins, but I have some faith in the people who do. There are proponents of Intelligent Design who also don't grasp its complexities but agree with those who do. Then we have these ignorant faithful arguing with each other in public. Am I proud to be among them? Well, uh, let me get back to you on that.

But back to faith in society. Certainly it has a place. I still believe in the separation of church and state, however, and I'm not very comfortable with officially bringing faith into classrooms teaching subjects that don't involve it. If students want to pray before a test, more power to them. If they want to ask questions about the role of God in the process of making a bill into a law, I leave it to the teacher to address that. If that question comes up every year in every class, then consider incorporating the answer into the regular lecture. If the students don't have a question about it, and it's not really part of the subject, I don't think "lots of people think it's part of the subject anyway" is a good reason to include it.

Maybe the compromise is to have a subject that includes it. An overview of different ideas of origins would certainly include Intelligent Design (and Evolution, and Creation, and Brahma, and so on).

Or maybe the compromise is not to teach the subject at all. Let the parents do the teaching, and they can instill in their children whatever beliefs they want.
I consider this more tragic when it comes out of people who preach tolerance and diversity - I expect a fundamentalist to decry discussing Islam in school, but it saddens me when a liberal says that a sidebar about ID in a biology class is beyond the pale.
I think a sidebar is fine (though I'd still prefer to go without it), especially if it's coming up in class unbidden.

I don't look at this as a matter of tolerance and diversity at all. If that were the case, we'd have to also make room for every origin belief held by anyone in the community. That would be diversity, certainly, but I don't hear a lot of ID proponents saying we need to have Creek mythology in our schools on the basis of having a "broad range of fact, of science, including faith." How can one propose this on the basis of pluralism but not propose also teaching many other things?

I highly enjoyed the comparative religions class I took in college, and I'd have no problem putting it in high schools too. I just prefer religion in schools to be studied rather than practiced. That's my real fear: that my daughter will go to a school funded with my taxes, and someone will say "our faith is the truth" before she really knows what that means.
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