Wednesday, September 28, 2005

You All Need to Get a Life (and / or Brain)

Oh goodie! Just what this country needs: another Scopes trial!

A background of my views on the ID vs. Evolution debate can be found here. Go read and come back to share in the disgust.

Being the optimist that I am, I am hoping that this trial seriously damages three very annoying constituencies that are stakeholders in its outcome:

The Blind Believer

Here's the skinny: there are many books in the Old Testament that can fairly be called historical narratives; for example: Kings, Judges and Numbers. The first couple of chapters of Genesis are not among them.

You people need to understand that the human inquiry into our origins cannot abrogate your faith unless you allow it to. Indiana Jones put it best (to paraphrase): science is the search for fact; religion is the search for truth.

To wit: you will never see an archaeological discovery of an ancient clay tablet bearing an inscription that reads:

Dear humans,

There is no God.

Sincerely,
God.

So stop acting all threatened by a scientific theory already. Especially when the teaching of said theory comprises approximately one-one millionth of the typical high school curriculum.

The Militant Atheist

These people are far more annoying than the Blind Believer since their intractability is compounded by about 15 tons of smugness.

Imagine a hypothetical Militant Atheist. Let's call him, oh, EZ Pliers. EZ is an obstensively smart guy. He's a biologist and a professor, and he knows his stuff cold. Because he's so knowledgeable in his field, he has lots of interesting things to say.

But he's also an absolutist. He hates religion, and has little tolerance of most believers, let alone the Blind ones. He cannot fathom that anybody would take anything on faith, even those things that cannot be proven empirically. He's an atheist, and he's POSITIVE he is right. He has no use for religion since it is based on "faith" and not "reason," and is more than willing to impart his derision on the topic to anyone who will listen.

He is "intelligent". He is an Atheist. There is no God.

Ok, Mr. Smart guy. Mr. Scientific Method. If there is no God, and you are quite sure about that...

prove it.

If Intelligent Design is not a legitimate scientific theory, I'm sure that you could conclusively chop it to bits and obliterate it from the consciousness of scientific theory in short order, with conclusive and unambiguous evidence.

And therein lies the smugness. The Militant Atheist *hates* religion, while never quite realizing that he subscribes to a religion of his own (and that little "ism" tacked on to the end of the word "atheism" is a dead giveaway).

The *belief* that there is no God, is just as much an article of faith as the belief that there is one. But EZ, and others like him, don't get it.

The Establishment Clause Know-Nothing

You've heard it before, but it bears repeating. There is no "wall between church and state" in the Constitution. No, that little nugget came from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to a bunch of Baptists. Here's $100 worth of law school tuition that I will impart to you all for free: letters - even ones from Thomas Jefferson - are not legal precedent. Unless, of course, you can convince 5 Supreme Court justices otherwise.

Given the recent history of the Court (and intellectually barren citizens) mangling the Establishment Clause in this way, the following imaginary exchange between a teacher and his atheist-raised student doesn't really look so ridiculous in this day and age:

TEACHER: For God's sake, Billy! You need to do your homework every day.

BILLY: Who's this God person? Is that your nickname for the Principal Chalmers?

TEACHER: [Sotto voce] I bet Chalmers would like that...

BILLY: What'd you say?

TEACHER: Er, nothing...

BILLY: So who is this "God"?

TEACHER: Er, well... Many people believe that the universe was created by a divine being...

HEADLINE IN NEWSPAPER THE NEXT DAY: Atheists, ACLU Sue School for Teaching Religion.

Hopefully, this ID case will make it to the Supreme Court so that they will have the opportunity to undo 50 years of crappy jurisprudence; chief among it, the aptly named Lemon Test.

Or the courthouse caves in on itself.

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