Call to Arms
by: Jasmine Taylor
Lately I have been making large use of YouTube as an intellectual resource, not just for mindless entertainment. For agnostic awareness and religious and scientific debate YouTube is a fine tool. I have especially been watching series with notable thinkers and speakers as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Gore Vidal, and Lawrence Krauss. Last night, however, I watched something which I found astonishing. It was a selection of videos, pro and con, regarding Ben Stein’s new film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.
As far as a fair and balanced discussion of the controversy of Creationism vs. Evolution is concerned, this film appears to be as fair and balanced as a Fox News report on the “War on Terror”. I couldn’t believe that a discussion focusing on the war between science and religion is being posed to potential viewers as a war between two different sects of science. This is horrifying because it perpetuates the idea that creationism, rather than being a religious standpoint, is a scientific theory.
It strikes as me as somewhat insane that, over the years, discussion around these two opposing ‘theories’, as they are so often called, never broaches discussion into the fact that any sort of religious theory regarding creation is NOT, no matter how many bits of science are inserted into its dialogue, science. It is just as much science as, to vaguely quote Richard Dawkins, the story of the stork is to human reproduction. Nobody would say it is a reasonable idea to teach both ‘theories’ of reproduction in the science classroom, more specifically in the biology classroom, due to the fact that one of these ‘theories’ is incompatible with science, i.e., reality. But for some reason which continues to elude many people including myself, the Intelligent Design vs. The Scientific Theory of Evolution debate is always focused on the science classroom and the scientific community in general. I, being a rational and reasonable person, don’t see anything wrong with the discussion of creationism in schools - it is relevant to society as a whole as one of many worldviews; in the same way that Greek Mythology, the culture of the Maya, and even long-disproven theories like phlogiston, are mentioned and discussed in educational institutions. Unlike evolutionary theory, however, creationism is not, and has never been, a theory based upon scientific investigation, experimentation, discovery, or fact.
Ben Stein, as well as perpetuating old and sad myths about evolution (such as the “lightning in a mud-puddle” story), seems to forget that creationism is not science. He points out professors and professionals who have been punished and persecuted for espousing creationism, saying that it is an outright refusal to acknowledge the second amendment. This, my friends, is a lie. People aren’t fired from professorships because they believe the intelligent design theory, or because they talk about it, they are punished and persecuted because they attempt to publish and teach intelligent design as a scientific idea in places and publications which it is inappropriate to do so. I can imagine the same type of punishment or persecution being dealt to a pastor or bishop who was to use his Sunday Sermon as a platform to enlighten his congregation to the wonders of pre-Cambrian evolution, or LSD.
As an agnost who acknowledges that the Scientific Theory of Evolution is indeed fact, and that creationism is indeed a part of religion and thereby not fact but supposition, I am saddened and disillusioned by the seemingly endless struggle to put these two ideas upon the same educational and scientific platform.
To Ben Stein wake up!
To all us agnosts and science-fans out there, this is a call to arms we must do all we can as individuals to ensure people come to understand that evolution is a fact, supported by physical scientific evidence, and that creationism (or, Intelligent Design) is a religious stand-point, entirely removed from, and irrelevant to, science - especially when it come to the education of our youth.