Tennessee Becoming Like Texas?

Jim thinks so, and we know of Jim’s feelings towards all things Texan!

Jim posted about an article by David Waters over at the Washington Post concerning public schools “being allowed” to discuss/teach the weaknesses of evolution and offer counter-theories. I don’t particularly care for the tone of the article, which is rather snarky in its patent dismissal of Intelligent Design and Creationism. He states this legislation is

“A back-door attempt, under the guise of ‘academic freedom,’ to encourage public schools to teach Creationism and Intelligent Design in science classes.”

This would be a bad thing because, as Waters states, “Creationism isn’t science.”

While there has been fierce debate over this, I don’t see the big deal. There must be a major presumption on the writer’s part, namely that ID and/or creationism is just a fundamentalist-contrived attempt to reconcile their overly simplistic views of Gen 1 (and other texts) with the claims of modern science, or something more/less insidious. If this is so, well, as with any fundamentalist on the other side, there’s little chance of minds being changed.

I would say that if one wanted to argue for ID, the bible wouldn’t necessarily be the book to use. Theology is not science and vice-versa and the ancients simply were not privy to, thus not concerned about, the issues that consume the modern science-and-religion debate, particularly as it relates to evolution and creation.

But if the issue is explicitly theology being taught in public schools, well that’s another issue altogether. Two thoughts here. I don’t have a problem with the bible being taught as literature, because that’s what it is. Where I would be concerned is teaching it as literature divorced from its theological orientation. To teach it as only literature apart from its attendant theological assumptions and assertions is to disregard the purpose for which it was written, and such would be dishonest to do with any work of literature. Second, with Jim, I would not be ok with just anyone “teaching” the bible, and that goes for public schools, churches, and wherever else. I wouldn’t want my children being taught about scripture by someone who has no understanding and/or concern for the bible as a theological text (which, by the way, doesn’t mean that merely holding this assumption qualifies one to teach it).

So, if teachers want to discuss evolution and creation, then let them do it—isn’t that at the heart of learning?  Just let them do so on scientific grounds, not theological or literary or whatever else, and let each theory’s merits determine its truthfulness.

Αυτω η δοξα


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