I see in my morning New York Times e-mail that the Utah legislature defeated an “anti-Darwin” bill intended to challenge the theory of evolution in high school science classes. The bill died after being amended by the majority whip, Stephen H. Urquhart, a Mormon who said he thought God did not have an argument with science. Some Mormon legislators opposed the bill because they agreed with Mr. Urquhart that science and religion should remain separate, others because they thought intelligent design was not in keeping with traditional Mormon belief. A spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Joe Conn, said Utah’s vote would resonate. “If the creationists can’t win in a state as conservative as Utah, they’ve got an uphill battle,” Mr. Conn said. (But Mormon conservatism isn’t the same as mainstream Christian fundamentalist conservatism. Mormon conservatism makes more sense.)
Finally, a sign of intelligent life in a legislature. Do issues such as this really need to be legislated in the first place? Wouldn’t it make sense to present all three major theories (creationism, intelligent design, and Darwin’s theory of evolution), explain what each theory entails, and leave it up to the students to make up their own minds? Real education is about discovering what you don’t know and challenging what you think you do know.
Personally, I don’t see a conflict between creationism and evolution. In my mind they fit together well although intelligent design seems kind of whack. Okay, God created everything in six days. How many billion years is a day for God? It seems to me that God leaves most things to chance anyway. And I suspect we may still be in God’s seventh day.
If you want take the account in Genesis literally and believe that God created the heavens and the earth in six of our days a little over 5,000 years ago, then you have to throw out most of what the world accepts as scientific fact. Sciences such as geology, archeology, astronomy, anthropology, and paleontology are heretical and nothing but hooey. Scientific methods such as carbon dating are nothing but parlor tricks. Fossils do not exist. Dinosaurs never existed; pools of crude oil only exist because God put them there. Neanderthal man never existed nor did the wooly mammoths that have been found in the Siberian ice (it’s just a hoax). The last Ice Age never happened because then the space now occupied by the third planet from the sun was just a void. Our solar system didn’t exist then either; God hadn’t created it yet.
Why are some people so willing to take a few verses from the Bible as literal, historic, and scientific fact, but not the Bible in its entirety? Since man is incapable of fathoming the true nature of God, it’s logical that the Word had to be dumbed down to terms mankind could understand. The Bible, particularly much of the Old Testament, is the Word of God, either dictated to the authors or otherwise divinely inspired. It’s man’s nature to take editorial license and when you consider all of the translations and how far removed the Bible is from the original texts, it’s quite open to a wide range interpretations. There are scores of Biblical texts by both Jewish and Christian authors that are not included in the Bible as we know it. I would have to assume that these books were divinely inspired as well. There is no denying that a continuous editorial process has been at work for several millennia.
Ultimately, we each have to make our own peace with God.