Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Good Questions in the Aftermath of Dover

In the National Review Online, David Klinghoffer asks some very good questions in response to yesterday's Kitzmiller v. Dover ruling; questions like:

"If ID is bogus because many of its theorists have religious beliefs to which the controversial critique of Darwinism lends support, then what should we say about Darwinism itself? After all, many proponents of Darwinian evolution have philosophical beliefs to which Darwin lends support." 


"Is it really true that only Darwinism, in contrast to ID, represents a disinterested search for the truth, unmotivated by ideology?"

Klinghoffer notes that one of the expert witnesses whose testimony Judge Jones found persuasive is on the board of directors of the New Orleans Secular Humanist Association as well as a member of the Atheist Alliance International. In addition, Klinghoffer includes some very telling quotes from proponents of Darwinism revealing what can only be called an antipathy for religion, especially Christianity. Here's a sample:

There is University of Minnesota biologist P. Z. Myers, a prominent combatant in the Darwin wars being fought in an archipelago of websites. He links his own site (recently plugged in the prestigious journal Nature) to a "humorous" web film depicting Jesus' flagellation and crucifixion, a speeded-up version of Mel Gibson's Passion, to the accompaniment of the Benny Hill theme music "Yakety Sax," complete with cartoonish sound effects. "Never let it be said that I lack a sense of reverence or an appreciation of Christian mythology," commented this teacher at a state university. In another blog posting, Myers daydreamed about having a time machine that would allow him to go back and eliminate the Biblical patriarch Abraham. Some might argue for using the machine to assassinate other notorious figures of history, but not Myers: "I wouldn't do anything as trivial as using it to take out Hitler."
Apparently, one's motivation for advancing a position is only relevant when it opposes Darwinian dogma.
The day before yesterday, I read a lecture given by Michael Goheen called "The Power of the Gospel and the Renewal of Scholarship" (HT: Prosthesis). The following excerpt is timely in light of the Pennsylvania court's decision.
[The] belief in a secular or pluralist society is an illusion however. The claim to religious neutrality is a myth, and a dangerous one at that, because it masks its own ultimate commitments. In fact, all human societies embody all-encompassing truth claims about the world that are based on ultimate commitments. These faith commitments are often below the level of conscious understanding yet they shape and form the whole of our social life. Western culture is not a secular society but a society that since the time of the Enlightenment has been shaped and formed by a deep religious faith in progress, human autonomy, scientific reason, technology,and social planning. While these idols are under attack these days, and a multitude of new spirits are rushing to fill the vacuum of the central core of culture that is being swept clean, the fact remains the same: Ultimate commitments lie at the foundation of our shared social life and shape every part of it. . . .all human societies including secular or pluralist societies are shaped in their entirety by a shared understanding of the universe and humanity’s place in it.

That being so, the question is not whether religion will be permitted in the classroom but which religion will gain admission.


R. Mansfield said...

It seems to me that we're headed in a direction in which every religious viewpoint will be allowed in a public school classroom EXCEPT Christianity.

So much for tolerance.

Ken Abbott said...

Has anyone tagged Myers for the inherent anti-Semitism in his "death to Abraham" fantasy?

Mike said...

Would you consider this an ad hominem attack on Myers?

Are we trying to persuade others we are right or are we simply excavating the chasm between the two sides?