Lawsuits over Intelligent Design and Evolution Pose a Democratic Dilemma

By Royal, Robert | National Catholic Reporter, October 21, 2005 | Go to article overview

Lawsuits over Intelligent Design and Evolution Pose a Democratic Dilemma


Royal, Robert, National Catholic Reporter


Democratic politics are good for many things, but they are not good for determining truth. Truth, real truth, floats like an elusive many-hued goddess beyond crude partisan grasp. Politics does better with practical alternatives, with workable compromises, than with theoretical foundations. And for that reason alone, the recent lawsuits about teaching evolution and intelligent design in public schools, and the disputes to which they have given rise, are just about the worst possible ways to argue out the truth about religion and science. Yet there is an accommodation needed here, and let us pray a wise one emerges.

All Christians, all Jews, all religious persons of any kind who accept a creator God--in this country 90 percent of Americans--hold as their deepest belief the idea that there is something besides matter and that, however defined, it is more important than the universe it created. Insofar as I understand the current controversy over teaching "intelligent design," advocates have no very clear idea of what intelligent design means, except that it denies materialism. I expect that in court they will lose because good lawyers will simply demonstrate that such beliefs have no place in science.

The lawyers are right, up to a point, but not in the way they think. Modern science arose by carefully detaching itself from moral values and teleology. Science, we were all taught, is disinterested and value-free and only claims to deal with empirical, not metaphysical, philosophical or ethical questions. In the past, theologians and philosophers mistakenly tried to control realms where they had neither expertise nor authority so the scientists have been well within their rights to mark out their own territory outside ethics and metaphysics.

The problem now, however, is that the border violations are more frequent in the other direction. Few of us will object to scientists, including Darwinians, publicizing scientific studies. It is when they want to tell us that these have religiously authoritative consequences--and that is precisely what Richard Dawkins and a whole raft of Neo-Darwinians believe--that the rest of us have to remind them that they've stepped outside their self-defined competence and are acting like inquisitors of old.

Let us state this without equivocation: Darwinian evolution of whatever form, whether true or false, simply has no relevance whatever to the question of God's existence unless you believe in something like a very rigid, literal reading of the Bible or that evolution necessarily entails philosophical notions of a purposeless and meaningless universe. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Lawsuits over Intelligent Design and Evolution Pose a Democratic Dilemma
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.