My old pal, Michael Balter, now a Paris-based author and journalist has got a great piece in this Sunday’s Los Angeles Times. Michael’s essay has particular resonance because he’s not only a correspondent for Science magazine, but he also writes from a leftist, secular vantage point.
Yet, Michael argues, why not let the theory of Intelligent Design be taught in schools along with Darwin? Says Balter:
Most scientists don’t want any debate. Many view intelligent design as
simply a new and more sophisticated attempt “” "the thinking man’s
creationism," as Science magazine put it “” to slip old-time religion
into the classroom. They maintain that the theory of evolution, in
particular natural selection, is so well supported by the evidence that
it is the consensus scientific view. As such, it deserves a monopoly in
school curricula……Opinion polls consistently show that a majority of Americans don’t
believe that the theory of evolution is the best explanation for our
own origins. A November 2004 Gallup poll, for example, found that only
13% of respondents said they believed that God had no part in the
evolution or creation of human beings, and 38% said they thought humans
evolved from less-advanced forms but that God guided the process. About
45% said they believed that God created humans in their present form
within the last 10,000 or so years. These results echoed similar Gallup
polls dating to 1982……Could it be that the theory of evolution’s judicially sanctioned monopoly in the classroom has backfired?…For one thing, the monopoly strengthens claims by intelligent-design
proponents that scientists don’t want to be challenged. More important,
it shields Darwinian theory from challenges that, when properly
refuted, might win over adherents to evolutionary views. …The history of the theory of evolution is one of bitter debates between religion and science, and the debates continue today……The best way to teach the theory of evolution is to teach this
contentious history. The most effective way to convince students that
the theory is correct is to confront, not avoid, continuing challenges
to it… …Given the opportunity to debate, scientists should say: "Bring it on."
I have to say, as not only a secularist, an atheist and a downright anti-theist, I love this piece. Michael’s absolutelty right. Let the games begin. Meanwhile, I’m gonna sit up in this tree and finish my banana.