Then and Now

     It began in Dayton, Tennessee, on May 25, 1925.  That was the day that high school science teacher John Thomas Scopes was indicted for teaching evolution.  It was against the law to teach evolution in a Tennessee public school back then.  The Scopes Monkey Trial, as it became known, pitted William Jennings Bryant for the prosecution against Clarence Darrow for the defense.  It proved to be a pivotal case for public education.
     It was a media spectacle.  In an unprecedented move prosecutor Bryant took the stand to be cross-examined by Darrow.  Playing up to public opinion Bryant’s testimony drew heavily on Christian sentiment instead of addressing the scientific premises of evolution.  Christians were afraid and suspicious of science.  They considered science an enemy to their faith.  That was then.
     Likewise scientists were afraid and suspicious of religion.  They considered religion an enemy of science.  The result was the competing issues became politicized.  School boards at the local and state levels became the battlefield for what would be taught in public classrooms.  The ongoing controversy generated a lot of heat and little light with evolutionists succeeding in framing the issue as fact versus faith.  Time and again faith was defeated.
     The vote of the Ohio State School Board in 2006 was typical.  The board voted eleven to four to remove language in the state’s science standards that encourages students to “investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.”  One school board member Martha Wise (poorly named) said her reason for voting to delete the language is because “it is deeply unfair to the children of this state to mislead them about science.”  Too late.
     The heart and soul of science is to investigate and critically analyze everything in the physical realm, including evolution.  I cannot fathom how it is misleading to teach children to do this very thing.  Anything less is not science, it is shamanism.
     Removal of such language and the reasoning for doing so reveal the fissure in the supposed factual arguments of evolutionists.  If evolution is more fact than theory, if it is so unquestionably true, if its underlying foundation is so faultless, why do evolutionists fear its examination?  If all roads of life’s origins and continued existence lead to evolution, why are evolutionists saying don’t read the map?
     This issue raised its head again in Tennessee.  Tennessee State Senator Bo Watson said, “It came to my attention that some teachers did not know how to respond when certain scientific theories were disputed in the classroom.”  If students raised questions regarding certain scientific theories the teachers were in a quandary as to their legal footing in engaging the students in honest dialogue.
     Senator Watson proposed SB 893.  It was the Tennessee Senate’s version of a bill that had already passed in the Tennessee House of Representatives.  It allows teachers, in keeping with the curriculum established by the Tennessee Board of Education, “to respond to the debate and dispute that may occur when certain scientific subjects are taught in the classroom.”  The ultimate purpose of the bill is to foster the “critical thinking skills of students and their ability to analyze information.”  Last month, May, the bill was adopted by the Tennessee Senate, about eighty-seven years after the Scopes Monkey Trial.  This is now.
     Of course the bill’s detractors claim it is an attempt to slip creation science and intelligent design in the back door of the schoolhouse.  So what if it is?  The bill is not a directive or mandate to teach a prescribed course of study.  It is a bill that allows open dialogue and honest debate.  That is something no true scientist should shy away from.
     Paul warned Timothy “guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge” which some have professed and thus gone away from the faith (1 Timothy 6:20-21 NASB).”  In the King James Version the Greek word gnosis (i.e., knowledge) is translated science.  Paul is not suggesting the avoidance of science, but the avoidance “of what is falsely called science.”
     I have maintained there is no contradiction between true science and true religion.  I have never read of any fact revealed by science that has caused me to doubt the Bible and I have never read anything in the Bible that caused me to doubt the facts revealed by science.  Science without religion is godless knowledge and religion without science is blind faith.  Mankind can ill afford either.
     Believers are beginning to recognize that what they thought was their enemy then is our friend now.


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