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Miscellaneous meanderings and philosophical ramblings. The title from a spiral notebook I used to jot down my thoughts on religion and other matters some years ago. I like to write, think and express my views on various issues. Robust discussion is welcome.

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"Lan astaslem."
I will not submit. I will not surrender.
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Monday, April 18, 2005

Evolution only in public schools?

The Northwest Indiana Times ( has an online editorial Schools should stick to teaching about evolution, not creationism

The problem is that it muddles over very important distinctions in the debate over evolution being taught in schools vs. other views.

Evolution, as in life adapting to its environment is scientific certainty. But the ideology of evolution that sneaks into schools is not. That is, evolution or material causes alone are all that are responsible for the existence of the universe and all life. This is not scientific fact but a rather large statement of faith just as much as that of any Christian, Muslim or Jewish believer. But the article makes no such distinctions.

Ignoring the many philosophical arguments that support a non-material cause for origins compounds this fallacy of omission. These arguments are still very strong today and held by many scientists. In fact, only creationism and creation science are mentioned along with an allusion to religious beliefs. These code words are used as a hasty generalization in the service of a typical ad hominem tu quoque fallacy. This is par for the course and not surprising. While it is possible the paper is faithfully reporting what the board only considered; is it to much to ask that the reporting also expand on and provide more information and context to this subject?

Unfortunately, the fallacies add up and lead to the conclusion that only evolution should be taught in public schools. While the adaptation of biology to environment is appropriate for a science class, schools in fact, do a disservice to children and their families when they ignore the philosophical beliefs that accompany evolution in the way it is normally taught. Some educators may do this intentionally and in so doing step into the inappropriate role of indoctrination under the guise of teaching. This will only continue the controversy and give more parents reasons to looks elsewhere as they seek an education for their children rather than state sanctioned propaganda.

What is so wrong with children being exposed to and discussing other views on the origin of the universe and life? A good argument can be made for also teaching Intelligent Design in a science class. But if it is to painful for the naysayers to have that in a biology class then perhaps an introduction to philosophy is in order where such things as the Cosmological, Teleological and Intelligent design and other arguments can be presented. After all, they are already being instilled with a particular philosophy on origins in science class anyway. To keep denying children exposure to the larger world of thought is to force feed a faith in materialism that goes beyond science while falsely claming to only be teaching scientific fact. Our children deserve much better.
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