I have just finished reading an excellent book, Monkey Girl. It gives a good background to the attempts to introduce creationism/intelligent design into US school science classes. The 2006 Dover Kitzmiller case is covered in some detail. However, the book fills out the details with personal information on the main characters. This makes the book very readable. It’s been described as a “page-turner” and I can vouch for that.
An important message that is conveyed by this treatment of the plaintiffs, defendants, judge, lawyers and expert witnesses as real people is that the dispute is not between religion and science, or between religion and atheism. It is very much a struggle within religion, within Christianity. It is very much a defense of separation of church and state as a protection of freedom of religion, the rights of parents and children to have their own religious belief without interference from others (fellow Christians) with other religious beliefs.
The book’s title comes from a school playground taunt of the young child of one of the plaintiffs in the Dover case. As the girl relates it:“When I said I thought it would be kind of good to learn more about evolution, some other kids started calling me Monkey Girl. ‘Cause they said God made them, but that I must’ve come from chimps.”
“Humes is a Pulitzer Prize winning author who sat through the entire trial, interviewed the principal parties to the case, including Judge Jones himself, and clearly did his research. While he does seems to hold the same bias I do, his bias, like mine, is based on an unerring belief that science is the best way to understanding life and reality, and should not be watered down because it conflicts with religious beliefs, which are based on no or little evidence. Religion should stay in the churches, in the homes, and in the minds of the believers. It should not be imposed on others as if it is the sole source of truth. The sheer inanity (as Judge Jones called it) of the attempt to teach ID as science should make every American sit up and take notice of what a hold religion has on the hearts, minds, and even balls of this country.”
Attacks on Christianity
The attack of intelligent design on many Christians is shown by the experience of biologist Richard Colling, a professor at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois, USA, and a lifelong member of the evangelical Church of the Nazarene. He wrote a book called Random Designer: Created from Chaos to Connect with Creator because—as he said in a letter to students and colleagues this year—”I want you to know the truth that God is bigger, far more profound and vastly more creative than you may have known.” Moreover, he said, God “cares enough about creation to harness even the forces of [Darwinian] randomness.”
However, in late August, Colling was prohibited from teaching the general biology class, a version of which he had taught since 1991, and college president John Bowling has banned professors from assigning his book. This was because of opposition from fellow Christians who oppose teaching of evolution. At least one local Nazarene church called for Colling to be fired and threatened to withhold financial support from the college (see Can God Love Darwin, Too? for the Newsweek story).
So, you can see it is not just scientists or even atheists who need to oppose attacks from intelligent designers. It is Christians too.
Intelligent design/creationism I: What is scientific knowledge?
Intelligent design/creationism II: Is it scientific?
Intelligent design/creationism III: The religious agenda
Intelligent design/creationism IV: The religion – science conflict
Intelligent design/creationism: Postscript
Should we teach creationism?
What do we teach our children?
Evolution’s threat to religion?