The Evolution of Science Class
Teaching Creationism or even Intelligent Design in the classroom may be going too far for even some solid conservatives. Writing for Time Magazine, staunchly conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer opposes those who would seek to add faith into the science class.
Krauthammer’s conclusion says it all:
To teach faith as science is to undermine the very idea of science, which is the acquisition of new knowledge through hypothesis, experimentation and evidence. To teach it as science is to encourage the supercilious caricature of America as a nation in the thrall of religious authority. To teach it as science is to discredit the welcome recent advances in permitting the public expression of religion. Faith can and should be proclaimed from every mountaintop and city square. But it has no place in science class. To impose it on the teaching of evolution is not just to invite ridicule but to earn it.
I should first say that I find the theory of evolution to be extremely compelling. But I also believe in God and do not think our presence here is some kind of cosmic accident. As such, I find the Intelligent Design (ID) assertion a plausible means by which to integrate my faith with science.
But here’s the thing: ID is nearly impossible to observe. We can suppose the hand of God, but we cannot see it. And although it is true that we cannot observe evolution in the sense that we can’t see it happening, we can observe mutations, gene flow, genetic drift and specification through natural selection.
The difference is that evolution can be studied using science. Intelligent Design can only be assumed or debated from an intellectual or theological standpoint. And that’s the difference between faith and science. We need no hard evidence to have faith in the existence of God. But we need facts, experiments and verifiable evidence to believe a scientific theory.
Perhaps the theory of evolution explains how God made all this happen. But science has no means to study that. And thus, God’s role is not scientific. That doesn’t mean science is opposed to God. It simply means science is separate from religion. And maintaining that separation is essential in educating our children.
I would certainly support more comprehensive theology courses in schools (the study of religions being integral to the understanding of world societies). But I simply have not been convinced that creationism or intelligent design deserve a place in our science classes. They just aren’t assumptions that meet the qualifications to be considered science.