Saturday, August 27, 2005

Intelligent Design: Comments from Other Nations

Damien Henderson of the Glasgow Herald notes that we Americans are still struggling to reconcile science and religious beliefs while in Great Britain they study science in science classes and religion in church. The theory of intelligent design belongs to the latter and British clergy agree with this position.

"But over in the U.S., where President Bush recently endorsed the teaching of intelligent design alongside Darwinian evolution, the line between church and state is not so clear."
So much for the separation of church and state.
An editorial in Dublin's Irish Times says that "President Bush is some kind of throwback." (RAmen to that)"His beliefs are actually more primitive than those of his predecessors in the early 20th century. It was Woodrow Wilson who said back in 1922: 'Like every other man of intelligence and education, I do believe in organic evolution. It surprises me that at this late date such questions should be raised.' ... For the president to pretend human origins are an open question forces us to question his judgment -- even if we didn't already."
The London Independent notes that the U.S. President doesn't do facts. "All scientific fact the world's experts can muster, for instance, hasn't persuaded him of the reality of global warming. His White House is much more comfortable with Christian literalism. Just look at his rhetoric on good and evil in dealing with terrorism. It would be comforting to believe that Bush is just pandering to his Christian conservative base, but unfortunately there is plenty of evidence that he truly holds those fundamentalist views. What's even scarier: He's not alone. One recent poll found that almost half of Americans believe God created humans fully formed less than 10,000 years ago."
That's a lot of children "left behind" in the realm of education.
Philipp Gassert and Ole Wangerin in Hamburg's Die Zeit wonder how America got so backward. "We have to go back to the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial when Clarence Darrow, defending evolution, made a laughingstock out of William Jennings Bryan, arguing for creationism.
"Even though the believers won the trial, they lost so much prestige that they simply withdrew from the "sinfully world". They started teaching their children at home or in private schools. Off the radar screen their numbers grew, especially in the south, until by 1980s they had founded their own think tanks and colleges. Armed with studies produced by their pseudoscience they launched a series of legal and political assaults against local schools. Since education in the U.S. is a local, not a federal, matter, fundamentalists needed only persuade some school systems in the south to adopt their views. Then other school systems could point to those in Mississippi or Alabama as precedents.
Robert Marshall reports in the Melboune Age that the blight has spread as far as Australia where their education minister recently said that intelligent design has enough merit to be taught along with Darwin if their schools.
It's embarrassing to be an American in Bush's world.