Sunday, October 16, 2005

Will it ever end? Not likely.

Ran across this commentary about the Dover, PA school board trial in the Daily Herald, a central Utah newspaper. “Why is Charles Darwin still on trial?” by Charles C. Haynes, senior scholar at the Freedom Forum's First Amendment Center.

Haynes neatly summarizes the trial and concludes …

Whatever the outcome, the crusade against evolution is bound to go on. Why? Because from Dayton to Dover, many religious people still see evolution as the great enemy of faith. "Darwinism entirely changes one's view of life," thundered William Jennings Bryan at the Scopes trial, "and undermines faith in the Bible."

What's sad about all this is how self-defeating these efforts are. When believers insist on "proving" religion through science, they are playing on the wrong field. If religion needs scientific proof to be true, it would no longer be authentic religion. It's not called "faith" for nothing.

Of course, science has implications for religious belief. That's why a dialogue between religion and science is needed, but only if both sides understand the language and the method -- and respect the limits -- of the other.

Dover, like Dayton, isn't about dialogue -- it's about people shouting past one another. Eighty years ago, Scopes lost. This time around religion may be the big loser, and that would be unfortunate, indeed.

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