Thursday, June 18, 2009

Science and Faith

This is an issue that concerns me greatly. I just watched the "Mr. Frost" episode of the seventh season of The West Wing. That season concerns the campaign for President between the Democrat, Matt Santos, played by Jimmy Smits, and the Republican candidate Arnold Vinick, played by Alan Alda. The question of whether intelligent design should be taught in public schools, and I really liked Santos' answer:

[Santos has responded to an earlier question about Intelligent Design saying "I believe in God and I like to think that He's intelligent." So now people don't know where he stands on what should be taught in school science classes. So during a small forum with teachers, he is asked,
"...if you believe in the theory of evolution?"]

[Santos] "Well, I think it would be fairly difficult to teach geology, anthropology and zoology without evolution. So, yes I do. I don't think it's contradictory to believe in science and believe in God."
"Do you believe that the theory of Intelligent Design and the theory of evolution should be taught alongside each other in the public schools?
"Absolutely not. One is based on science and one is based on faith. Intelligent Design is not a scientific theory. It's a religious belief and our constitution does not allow for the teaching of religion in our public schools.... Evolution is not perfect, It doesn't answer every question but it is based on scientific facts. Facts that can be predicted, tested and proven. Intelligent Design asks theological questions. I'm sure that many of us would agree that at the beginning of all that begetting something begun. What was that something?"

[questioner] "...Many of us what a version of science taught to our kids that's in accordance with our beliefs."

[Santos] "I understand. But can't we agree that the inclusion of non-scientific explanations into the science curriculum of our schools misrepresents the nature of science and therefore compromises the central purpose of our public education which is the preparation of a scientifically literate work force?"

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