I've been thinking a lot lately about the debate over whether to teach “intelligent design” in public schools and have come to the conclusion that I really just don't care.
It's not like there's any significant difference between science and religion. After all, they both aspire toward the same goal-to understand the mystery and meaning of life. They both fall miserably short of achieving that goal. And they both present a premise that is difficult, if not impossible, to believe.
For instance, the once-upon-a-time-an invisible-man-in-the-sky-said-some-words-out-loud-then-snapped-his-fingers-and-created-the-universe theory sounds as wildly absurd to me as the on-a-dark-and-stormy-night-a-cluster-of-particles-appeared-from-nothing-and-formed-matter-which-then-exploded-and-became-the-universe hypothesis. Even if you could believe either of these clearly ridiculous theories, they still don't explain the mystery and the meaning of our existence, which can be defined by these two nagging questions of self-actualization:
1. How did I get here?
2. Why am I here?
Science certainly hasn't answered these questions. There is still so much that is unknown about how we got here, science hasn't even begun to ponder the why. And religion? After centuries of devotion, religion still hasn't explained our origin. Even your most hardcore Christian, if he really thought about it, would have to agree with this incontrovertible truth.
Think about it from a supreme being's perspective. Pretend for a moment that you are God and you're sitting around doing nothing. These are the days before you created the universe, so you are the only Being in existence. You've been sitting around the house since before time began with nothing to do. You can't jump on the Internet, can't call a friend, can't order Italian delivery then eat it while watching Law and Order. You can't even step outside for some fresh air. All you do is sit around and think. And since you haven't created Paris Hilton, there's not much to think about. Not much to think about except those two nagging questions of self actualization that have been plaguing you for 30 thousand hundred billion years:
1. Holy shit, how'd I get here?
2. Holy shit, what's my purpose?
The point is, teaching children that we evolved from single-cell organisms doesn't explain how the organism got here any more than teaching that God created the universe explains how the fuck a God got here. They're just two highly impotent worldviews, and the struggle over which to teach children is just the age-old race to get first dibs at brainwashing them.
So it doesn't really concern me which of these beliefs they end up teaching in class. They can teach Raelian theology for all I care, so long as it doesn't interfere with the primary function of school-to keep children incarcerated for as long as possible.
I realize there are many of you out there who want more out of school than just that. You want a clean and safe place to teach your children to read and write, a place with no distractions and proper discipline. So remember this, oh people who want to teach creationism in public schools-be careful what you ask for.
Unbeknownst to most, creationism is not a single theory. It refers to a wide range of organized beliefs, some of which are mutually exclusive, some of which vehemently oppose each other's ideas about creationism.
This could be a problem.
On one end of the spectrum, you've got the Flat Earthers, who still, ahem, believe the Earth is flat. Of course, there's not a whole lot of these folk running around these days, but what few exist are deeply annoyed by all this spherical-Earth nonsense that's been spreading for the last few centuries. Naturally, they have a website, and a mission statement that says today's science is sorcery and lies.
“One thing we know for sure, the known inhabited world is Flat, Level, a Plain World.”
Then you have the Geocentrists, who accept a round planet but deny that the sun is the center of the solar system, and Young Earth Creationists (YEC), who believe the Earth is only 10,000 years old, and Old Earth Creationists, who believe in an ancient Earth, and Omphalos Creationism, which claims that the universe was created young but with the appearance of age (“And the Lord said, ‘Let there be earth, but bury some fossils 'cause it's really funny to watch people dig.'”), and Day Age creationism, which claims that each day of creation represents millions of years, and Gap Creationism, which says God created two universes, and Progressive Creationism, and Evolutionary Creationism, and if you're gonna teach one version of creationism, you have to teach them all. Which will probably lead to more distractions for the children, and further divisiveness, and inter-creationism bigotry, as the Omphalos Creationists boys won't sit at the same lunch table as the Gap Creationist boys, and of course there will be a spree of Flat Earther bashing by Young Earth Creationist punks, holding some poor kid by the ankles and dangling him over the edge of the Earth, and, Jesus Christ, maybe they shouldn't teach that bullshit in the schools after all.
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