Monday, April 28, 2008

My Turn

It has been interesting reading all the family reviews on this movie. Terry, Rebecca and I finally got a chance to see it on Friday night, and now I’m wanting to chime in.

First of all, I should say that I recognize that I am neither a scientist nor a philosopher, so I am simply writing from the viewpoint of someone who has followed the politics of this debate with much interest for over twenty-five years. I actually wrote my high school research paper on the subject and entitled it “Academic Freedom.”

Perhaps because of this more political point of view, I didn’t go to the movie expecting lots of scientific content. I think the point of the movie was not to support ID itself but to reveal the lack of freedom on this issue in the scientific culture – particularly academia. I actually see the film as having three main messages with which I agree wholeheartedly:

1. There is a lack of freedom in discussing ID or the problems with evolution. There may be a shouting match in the popular literature, but there is no shouting match in academia because one side is muzzled.

2. Belief in naturalistic evolution leads to atheism. It obviously does not make everyone an atheist, but the connection is there. Stein gave several examples of this. I can also give several examples of folks I know, plus I can attest to my own struggle in this area.

3. The theory of evolution has social implications. That’s the main reason I care about this issue and think others should as well. Our society is reaping the benefits of a population that has been educated to think that there is not a God or that He is irrelevant. The de-valuing of human life is a natural outcome of an unquestioned belief in evolution. It may not always present itself in as extreme of a fashion as what the Nazis did, but I think we can all see the connection. Stein himself said several times that not all evolutionists were Nazis. He was simply trying to show that this subject does make a difference in human behavior!

I don’t know what the outcome of the film will be. Perhaps it will just make evolutionists mad. At least it will be better-received from an actor like Ben Stein than it would be from an evangelical. It’s hard to see how this movie could result in less freedom than we have now because right now we have next to none.

And I just don’t buy that we can’t discuss ID because it’s not science. Lots of things are discussed in school science classes like birth control (a social issue) or the latest current events. Some times classes are even let out for a pep rally (gasp!). Why can’t ID be discussed even one day of the school year? If not actually discussing ID, why can’t problems in the evolutionary theory be pointed out without someone fearing they will lose their job? Why do Christians in scientific fields feel like they have to keep their mouth shut on this? Isn’t it just a bit ridiculous?

If this theory didn’t make any difference as to how people lived their lives (like most of the scientific theories we take for granted), then we could just let it go. But this one matters! Christians who don’t speak out (especially those who are respected scientists) share some culpability in the descent of our culture into atheism.

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