"Expelled" Off-Shoot #2: ID in public schools

That could be true. Then again, perhaps I haven’t seen any of them because it’s hard to find time to go to movies at all!

Referring to one of your earlier posts, pnewton, I was reflecting this morning that perhaps the main objection to Intelligent Design is the insistence by some of its proponents on the legitimacy of teaching ID in science classes in public institutions. The basic idea that the universe is the result of purposeful action on God’s part is, of course, not only not antithetical to religion, but seems in fact to be a crucial part of Catholic (and other Christian) theology.

But ID cannot be taught as “science” because it is a philosophical or theological idea; it could no more become the subject of laboratory research than could belief in the Holy Trinity.


I agree totally. On the other hand, much of the opposition to evolution is that atheism is sometimes incorporated in teaching. You said earlier that science is free of religious thought, or something to that effect. Unfortunately, scientist (and teachers of science) are not. I have know teachers and professors that depart from the subject matter to inject religious opinions. We can not always compartmentalize what we are from what we teach.

This is actually one reason I fear the teaching of creationism or ID in public schools. All this will do wiil allow the easier injection of personal religious opinion. That is fine as long as the teacher isof your faith. However, if we imagine the same atheist who teaches evolution, now fulfilling their required ID curriculum. :eek: Does anyone really think the scepticism and sarcasm wouldn’t have a greater impact on students than if nothing is said?

Pnewton, good ideas. Let me respond to two of you points:

(1) I have taught on the high school, undergraduate, and graduate school levels, and with due qualification for these different contexts, I have tried to set aside my presuppositions as much as possible. My most bizarre set of teaching evaluations in one class included two contradictory ones: (A) “This would have been a great class if the professor didn’t talk like a right-wing Catholic all the time”; (B) “It’s too bad the instructor is an atheist!”

Now, did I conceal my presuppositions too carefully?

(2) I do think compartmentalization can be maintained. My sons attend a Catholic grammar school, in which the science teachers is also the religion teacher for the middle grades. She carefully distinguishes between her methodological naturalism in science class (they are studying the oceans this quarter), and what she says theologically in religion class about various dimensions of the Catholic belief in creation. She has done this so effectively that there is no confusion among the sixth graders, of whom my son is one.

We could discuss this issue, if you like.

Pnewton, one more thought, which I forgot to address because I’d cut out that part of your note: I haven’t encountered atheism incorporated into teaching. Are you referring to methodological naturalism? I don’t regard that as atheism. My friend George Coyne is a specialist in stellar evolution, and a Catholic priest. When he is studying the evolution of stars he considers their development from gravitationally collapsing clouds of hydrogen to thermonuclear explosions, and he studies this process naturalistically, without inserting God’s finger at various points in the star’s development. Fr. Coyne is by no means an atheist, and says that his study of stars and other evolutionary astronomical elements actually gives him more things to pray about.


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