Saturday, August 20, 2005

Topic of the Week - Intelligent Design Debate

As this so called debate on intelligent design between The Christian Right and the rest of America continues, it must be put in perspective. There is no debate when it comes to public education - intelligent design has no place in our public school system, especially when compared to the theory of evolution where The Christian Right are trying to categorize and place it in Science class.

The exchange between an advocate of intelligent design and myself (below) is an example between the two sides of this so called debate. I will let you decide if you think the Christian Creationist theory, masked as intelligent design, should be incorporated into our public school systems. Lookout for this issue in next year's elections - it will be an initiative that will be included on a number of state's ballots. The over-arching agenda here is that The Christian Right is attempting, once again, to incorporate their religious belief system into our public policies and public education system.

Of course, to protect the identity of this exchange, I have removed the names involved and replaced with PWB and intelligent design (ID):


PWB: With respect to my comments prior on your conservative agenda, your belief of 'Intelligent Design' contrasting/comparing to the science of evolution and how it should be taught in our public school system within science/biology class is an example of your attempt to incorporate your religious beliefs into our public education system.

ID : Yes, absolutely. intelligent design should be offered as another explanation for our existence - not sourced from any single religion or article of faith, but in general. If any religion basis for it (like the Bible) is sited, all known religious articles of faith should be shared equally. Evolution is based on faith. I defy you to come up with one piece of sound evidence for evolution from one species to another (not adaptation among like species – that is an entirely different matter).

PWB: Evolution is based on faith? This is an incorrect statement, and I think you realize this, don't you? Evolution is based on the continual focus on proving this theory with a fact based approach.

Let me ask you, why should intelligent design be offered in our public school systems? What is your true intent? I think if you were hontest with me, and others, you would acknowledge your true intention is to incorporate your Christian belief system into our public school system.

Science is based on the continual focus on facts - testing and retesting hypothesis until this 'theory' can be explained in a logical, rational way. Evolution is a science that continually attempts to prove this theory. Intelligent design, on the other hand, is based on hypothesis only - only your faith (beliefs) back it up. Therein lies the difference - there is no continual attempt, with a fact based focus, to explain and support this rational.

The other part of this issue, putting your general focus on all religions, is that the Christian Right, in general, is leading this agenda regarding intelligent design to have Christianity's belief in Creationism taught in our public schools - you know that, I know that and those who oppose their agenda know this. The Discovery Institute, the largest leading political conservative activitist organization whose primary focus is on challenging Evolution as part of the public educational curriculum, is funded by a number of Christian evangelical organizations.

Also, the last and extended part of this issue aligned with your intelligent design rational is that your 'faith' determines as fact that there is an afterlife (again, no actual facts prove that an afterlife for humans exist). Evolution is focused on the past and attempting to prove this theory, over and over again. Intelligent design is focused on the past but also aligned and supports a future 'faith-based' religious belief...again without any attempt to prove any factual base details.

ID: Then let each individual decide for themselves. Don’t you see the hypocrisy of the current state?? The Government is governing our beliefs and our children's beliefs with only teaching evolution.

PWB: Herein lies the difference between us on my stance of a distinct line between church and state and your stance that melding religious and 'faith-based' beliefs into our public policies, public educational systems and public forums are OK. I don't. Evolution is not based on religion, intelligent design is.

Your belief that 'faith' is OK to incorporate into our public policies and public forum respective of your Christianity beliefs is most disconcerning - faith/religion are the same when you use in this context...your foundation of Christianity as your basis to support these beliefs.

ID: You’re off base on this. I’ve always said that our country and constitution was formed based on “faith” (not religion) from the beginning. I’m not trying to incorporate anything, you and the left are trying to snuff it out through an activist judicial system.

PWB: Once again, whose 'faith?" Lets be honest here - you are talking about your stance that our country was founded upon Christian faith, your biblical Christian beliefs. You are trying to incorporate your biblical belief into our public policies - period. Once again, herein lies the difference between us when it comes to separation of church and state - I don't believe religious beliefs should govern our public policies. You do. This issue, intelligent design, is just one example.

ID: I believe this is why we are split so far – when you consider for a moment, that there is a possibility that we are not an accident (that this is another explanation other than evolution), then you and the left will give pause to how this is a life issue.

PWB: This is your religious belief again talking here. Your belief that we are not an 'accident.' Truly, your faith cannot support a fact based approach in proving your theory of creation (lets call it what is is rather than intelligent design, huh?). I acknowledge and respect your belief that life is not an accident, that there is a divine creator but many would appreciate it if you keep this belief personal and/or within your family or church... and try not to incorporate it into our public policies. Is evolution proven as 100 percent fact? Of course not. But there is a fact-based approach.

ID: No, they are teaching a theory, evolution, (and their faith in it) as fact. Why are you and the left afraid of letting our children have all the information and coming to their own conclusions?? This is one of the issues I point to when I allude to the “conflicted left”. The 'conflicted left' is indeed conflicted when it comes to explaining and rationalizing 'faith.'

PWB: Why afraid of letting intelligent design be taught in our public school system? Because there is not a fact-based agenda - it is based on religious faith. And those that are able to detach themselves from their religious faith and analyze the overarching picture on 'faith' know that there is no right and wrong answer, there is no right and wrong religion, there is no right and wrong explanation. The 'conflicted left' is indeed conflicted on this issue...as they could or should be because they are aware there is no right and wrong belief system and they tend to respect each individual's belief system, whatever that belief may be.

I ask again, why do you Christian fundamentalists want to incorporate your beliefs into our public policies, public forums and public educational systems? Because you believe that your one faith is the only true belief and existence for this country and world on a whole. This is most dangerous - please review historical evidence and how belief movements attempting to incorporate one belief system nationally can seep out of control. This is what the 'conflicted left' is concerned of...and what our founding fathers were concerned of when they drew a distinct line between church and state within our public policies and public education.

End

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