From Pine View Farm

Dover, Deception, and Darwin 0

This Sunday’s local rag had a very well-researched article on the thinking behind “Intelligent Design.” Here’s the opening:

The advocates of “intelligent design,” spotlighted in the current courtroom battle over the teaching of evolution in Dover, Pa., have much larger goals than biology textbooks.

They hope to discredit Darwin’s theory as part of a bigger push to restore faith to a more central role in American life. “Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions,” says a strategy document written in 1999 by the Seattle think tank at the forefront of the movement.

The authors said they seek “nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies.”

Intelligent-design advocates have focused publicly on “teaching the controversy,” urging that students be taught about weaknesses in evolutionary theory. The 1999 strategy document, though, goes well beyond that.

The testimony in the case seems to support the plaintiffs’ contention that the intent of the school board’s decision to mandate in biology classes a statement elevating Intelligent Design to a scientific theory was motivated by an desire to establish religion, as witness this:

Two plaintiffs supported testimony by earlier witnesses who said that two board members showed religious intent in promoting the policy in the period leading up to the October 2004 adoption of the policy.

Christy Rehm of Dover said William Buckingham made references to the country being “founded on Christianity.”

I have a co-worker who likes to say that the USA was founded as a Christian Nation. In fact, it was not. It may have been a nation primarily composed of Christians in 1789, but that is not the same thing. Not by a long shot. Indeed, there was seven day a week postal service in the early days of the Republic.

Now, make no mistake: I accept evolution. I don’t believe in it. It’s not a faith, as some persons seem to think. It’s a fact. I accept it in the same way I accept that a hurricane is a very macho low pressure zone; that atoms are made of charged particles and can be split, releasing terrifying energy; that men and women may leave the confines of this Earth and travel in space.

Those who attempt to deny it are of the same cloth as those who claim that the moon walks took place in the Arizona desert and that no Boeing 757 struck the Pentagon.

So why are some so willing to deny the evidence of things seen?

What are they afraid of?

Here’s one theory. I make no judgement of it.

But I do think they are afraid of something.

Many years ago, when I was young, I studied the radical right. In those days, the radical right was the John Birch Society, the KKK, George Rockwell’s American Nazi Party, and other such outfits.

I am old enough to remember hearing Joseph McCarthy’s voice on the radio, claiming that there were umpty-ump card carrying Communists in the State Department.

What all these folks had in common was fear.

Daniel Bell, no relation, I fear, established pretty conclusively that what all these outfits had in common was fear of losing status; they were just barely hanging on and, if they no longer had someone to look down on (blacks, Jews, Catholics, immigrants, whoever), they would have no status left in their own self-image. It was sort of a big social transactional analysis: The only way they could feel OK was to believe that someone else was not OK.

And I think Professor Bell was on to something. I thought it then; I think it now. Why do the Intelligent Design proponents cling so fiercely to their theory (okay, we won’t mince words; they are “creationists”). Because their faith, not mine, but theirs, is threatened by the theory of evolution.

Frankly, that’s their problem; not mine. I would thank them not to demand that the State, through its agents, the school boards, principals, and teachers, participate in underpinning their weak faith.


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