Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Intelligent Design

My views on religion sometimes even strike me as somewhat extreme when I recall past conversations. I think that might be more a case of overstating, rather than promoting a blanket condemnation of religion. However, I am an asshole. A fact which colors my ability to express myself with verbal grace and leaves me prone to antagonizing those I wish merely to converse with.

Moreover, instead of mellowing with age, I find myself becoming more irritated with my society's willingness to turn its back on rationality in favor of superstition. And yes, I am fully aware of the irony of becoming emotional about the illogical.

Lest this promote further misunderstanding of my views, let me clear something up right now. I don't actually have a problem with religious moderates. By which I mean a moderate to be someone who is able to reconcile their beliefs regarding the relationship between science and religion such that their theology gives ground to scientific advancement.  For example, I accept the existence and value the contributions of scientists who also happen to profess a belief in a personal God and attend services with regularity.

My scorn is reserved only for those whose religious views are so inflexible that they are willing to deny scientific explanations in favor of a literal interpretation of their particular holy book. I am alarmed by these people because in our country they are actively working to subvert science education by means of their creation myth supporting concept called Intelligent Design. The fact that ID is laughably absurd doesn't stop supporters from trying to get it taught in science classrooms as science. Which if successful has long term consequences that frighten me.

I happen to dislike Intelligent Design for its dishonesty and I’m saddened by its growing popularity among religious people who lack a strong science education. But if Christian Fundamentalists would keep their anti-science beliefs to themselves, like the Amish, I would happily ignore them. Instead the fraud that is Intelligent Design is being promoted aggressively in public schools so that all children will be taught the Christian creation myth disguised as science. Not only is this contrary to the Constitutional separation between church and state, but it also causes unjustifiable confusion in the children taught this way.

Which is of course the whole point of promoting Intelligent Design. The natural consequence of which will be to accelerate the already dangerous decline in young people seeking science degrees in this country. We stand to have our nation's future ability to develop science, medicine, and technology undermined. All of which at a time when we need more young scientists and researchers, not fewer. All of which at a time when we need our children to grow up to be careful, rational, well informed thinkers in order to deal with the global problems they will inherit from us.