To The Daily Sun,
In his response to a recent letter I wrote about how I think creation "science" should not be taught as fact or as an "alternative theory" in American public school science classes, John Demakowski described much of what I wrote as "baloney." Yes, Mr. Demakowski, that is the perfect word to use in an honest debate or discussion when you disagree with someone.
Mr. Demakowski does not seem to get the overall point of my letter. I said, in effect, that people of faith can believe in both a Creator and evolution and the fact that the earth is 4.5 billion years old. Personally, I never saw the conflict. Nor do many other people of faith, including many Christians. But, a Creator or "intelligent design," while perhaps true, is not something that scientists can prove. Is a matter of faith or philosophy, not science.
Perhaps both faith and science are important, but they are very different. Personally, I would prefer to believe that there is an overall plan and meaning to the universe and to the human condition, but I cannot prove that in a laboratory. Scientists can explain the evolution of life and the origins universe all the way back to the Big Bang without God.
That does not mean that there is not a God or a "first cause," but this cannot be proven empirically. In fact, real scientists will tell you that no one can prove anything prior to the Big Bang. Again, as I said before, these creation stories do belong in public schools, but they do not belong in science classes because they are a matter of faith and belief, not things that can be proven by science. They belong in humanities, philosophy, and literature classes.
Mr. Demakowski may think I have never read the Bible. Actually, I have read it many times and even have some formal academic background in religion and theology. Even St. Paul said that faith is belief in something "not seen" or provable. So, Mr. Demakowski, do you think that perhaps even St. Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, might actually agree with me?
Toward the end of his letter, Mr. Demakowski quoted Jesus in the Gospel of St. Matthew (24:9): "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of my name." Perhaps I misunderstood him but he seems to imply that what I (and others) have said about this somehow amounts to some sort of "persecution" of Christians.
Are you kidding? I know that the Christian Right likes to rant about an ongoing "persecution" of evangelical and fundamentalist Christians but in reality, they enjoy much more religious freedom here than they do in most other countries, including other democracies. They are allowed to worship freely, collect millions of dollars through televangelists, get tax exemptions for their churches, strongly influence political and social discourse, and even to have their own schools (where, even in states where corporal punishment is outlawed in public schools, students can still be paddled). How is that "persecution?"
In the USA, parents are often even allowed to "opt out" their kids from receiving vaccinations for "religious" reasons even at a risk to health. One could make an argument that conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists have too much influence in the USA. They support political candidates, including members of public school boards who will support their unconstitutional attempts to control taxpayer-funded public education. And, this is not only in science classes. In Texas, they want to rewrite the history textbooks to support their ideologies. In many schools, especially in the South, they have outlawed comprehensive sex education and replaced it with "abstinence only" sex education (often with "slut-shaming", Christian outside speakers) which is based on the "logical" premise that if you tell teenagers over and over that they should not do something, they will not do it.
E. Scott Cracraft