December 27, 2005

I Have a Confession to Make

Sometimes my brothers and sisters in Christ annoy me.

A lot.

I knew I'd have occasion at some point to lift this picture from Zendo Deb. I just didn't think it'd be this soon.

Here's a big favor I think we could all do for the Lord: Quit arguing that Intelligent Design is science.

It isn't.

You can't convince people it is. Because it isn't.

And, bonus, it bolsters the working theory some people have that Christians are irretrievably stupid. This does not seem to me much of a strategy for doing our part to help Him gather a people unto Himself from nation to nation, you know?

The funny thing is, I think people who agitate to have Intelligent Design taught alongside evolution think they're doing just that--helping to spread the Word. I have the same reaction to this as I do to people who think we should tax the daylights out of everybody in order to aid the poor:

What are YOU doing to help the poor? No--I mean you personally?

Me, I'm not doing as much as I need to. But I'm also not out there arguing that the government should be able to take more of your money, in order to provide all that aid I'm not giving myself. I may be sinful, but by gum, at least I'm consistent, and I'm not compounding my sin by stealing from you to cover for it.

That's why I don't like people trying to shove ID into science curricula. It's a cop-out. It's a dodge to relieve oneself of the burden of setting a good Christian example, by attempting to institutionalize the conversion process.

And if you're worried that learning about evolution might lead someone away from God, I'd like to know what kind of faith that person had to begin with, if it's shaken so easily.

I think sometimes people forget that faith is not supposed to be easy. It's supposed to be hard. I have days I look longingly at my copy of Why I Am Not a Christian and think, "Oh Bertrand, Bertrand, why ever did I forsake thee?" Then I remember that Russell was a miserable, cranky old socialist, and I'm okay again.

I guess I'm more philosophically aligned on this issue with a commenter at Ace's named Michael:

Despite the efforts of Augustine, C.S. Lewis, and others I suppose, I don't think anyone has accepted Christianity on the basis of a rational "argument" in the classical sense.

Typically, atheists want to "debate" religion, as if the outcome depends on who has the best rational "argument." Their (rather naive) assumption is that left-brain-dominant linear thinking is the only way of "knowing" the truth, because that is all they know.

Unfortunately, many stupid Christians attempt to engage them at this level. It doesn't work.

Right. And if God could be reasoned into easily-verified existence, who'd need faith?

Anyway, people for whom this subject is something of a passion (no pun intended, I swear) may enjoy the discussion here. Be warned: Lively, but long.

UPDATE: I neglected to mention that my husband* totally kicks ass in that thread. I insist he put his feet up and allow me to fetch him a tasty beverage this minute. That's his only flaw, you know: He's so driven, he sometimes works too hard.

*You remember the wedding, of course.

Posted by Ilyka at December 27, 2005 11:43 PM in hell is other people

Ugh. Arguments like that make my head hurt. No one is going to have their mind changed on anything because no one can seem to acknowledge that religion and science come from two separate areas. Like the one commenter who argued that because science was "created by man" it was inferior and therefore should bow down to religion... at least that's how I interpreted what she was saying, but my "that's not the point" alarms were shrieking by this time.

Anyway, I understand what the ID folks are up in arms against, and it's not science, but "scientism" -- the attitude of so many towards the theory of evolution (and other scientific theories) that because we've figured these things out and listed them in orderly format therefore there is no God and the universe is purely material and came about by chance. It's not even as well-developed as religious explanations of the universe which may be why it's so insidious -- it seems like revealed "of course" knowledge that no one would even bother to refute, the way no one would bother to refute the idea that your left hand is your left hand. So I can see why ID-ers are so frustrated. But the science classroom is still no place for formal instruction on why the universe came into being and who (if anyone) created it; it's irrelevant to the lesson. Do shop students have to learn the history of the circular saw?

This is just another result of the deterioration of public school education into a series of standardized tests punctuated by sports and other extracurricular activities. I am guessing they no longer teach Intelligent Design -- or as it used to be called, the teleological theory of creation -- where I learned it, in beginning philosophy. Even back then, philosophy was an elective, you didn't have to take it. (And most kids wouldn't - even I didn't want to, I wanted to take a course on fantasy novels, but my advisor said, rightly, that I shouldn't waste my time on something easy like that when I should be taking meatier courses like philosophy. I still have the book we used.)

Posted by: Andrea Harris at December 28, 2005 05:30 AM

Michael comments a lot over at the Politburo Diktat. He's a good guy, if completely wrongheaded. :)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 28, 2005 08:36 PM

Good guy or no, he just earned my undying wrath for suggesting that the thread can be killed merely by having YOU shut up.

Holy lunacy, you are so not the problem. The PROBLEM is that a group of geeks are actually over there trying to REASON with a complete fucking pinhead. Because she's "pretty." That'd have been a 75-length thread maximum if it'd been just Brewfan and Adolfo taking up for ID. Instead, it's over 380 comments.

But no, Pixy, YOU should shut up. Let the airhead talk some more. She's got ever so much more mouth-breathing to do at the monitor.

Ecch. Here, I fixed you a double martini, very dry. I'm off to have a triple, myself.

Posted by: ilyka at December 28, 2005 08:45 PM

Thanks for that. Gulp! Ah.

Adolfo wasn't too bad.

Sparkle, though, just doesn't get it.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 29, 2005 01:47 AM

Oh, and welcome home!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 29, 2005 01:49 AM

I have resorted to just saying A POX ON BOTH THEIR HOUSES...and I hve a degree in anthropology.

Its not that I disagree with Christians when they say God is involved. I just think the average Christian did a suck-ass job learning their scientific method, lazy bastards.

Science and belief in God do NOT conflict, but I tend to think that certain groups of Christians get a kick out of creating controversy.

Posted by: Sharon Ferguson at December 30, 2005 04:05 AM