Outside of the prayer in public venues fiasco in October, it has been many months since I have commented on an editorial piece or letter to the editor appearing in the Florida Times-Union. It’s time to start the new year with a fresh letter on an old debate. This letter by Tom Brady was published today under the heading, “Science standards: Prohibit myths.”
I was somewhat dismayed to see in a recent story that people were challenging Florida’s current attempt to bring our education standards concerning science out of the realm of theology and into that of rational thought. Trying to equate “creationism” or “intelligent design” with the scientific approach to the evolution of the species is tantamount to comparing the proverbial apples and oranges. The first two are manifestations of a belief system; the third is a demonstration of the scientific method. If we are going to teach creation myths in our schools, then we should not limit those teachings to Judeo/Christian myths only. The Hindus, Buddhists, Shintoists, Animists and even many American Indians have their own creation stories. If the school systems choose one myth over the others, they are making a choice to advance one religion over another, which violates the Constitution. For those who claim that the theory of evolution is not proved and is “just a theory,” they obviously don’t understand the definition of the scientific term. Since none of us knows, or can know, from whence the universe ultimately came, a discussion involving the possibility of an intelligent designer is perfectly appropriate. But this should be in a philosophy or theology class, not in a science classroom.
Since I don’t read the entire paper, the article referenced in the letter had escaped my notice until today when I did a search. The original story was about a public hearing about a new public school curriculum which explicitly teaches evolution and the debate which took place over whether also to include material on intelligent design. I agree with everything that the author of the letter wrote, but there really isn’t much new to say about this debate. Intelligent design simply isn’t science and shouldn’t be taught in a science classroom.
What I find remarkable is that the most valuable player of the National Football League has time to write letters to the editor in Jacksonville when one would expect him to be preparing to play the Jaguars this Saturday evening in Foxboro!