Wednesday, September 12, 2007

In Texas, a surprising victory for science

Transcript of today's show:

Despite their pro-creation personal views, members of the Texas State Board of Education have voted to keep intelligent design out of public school science classes. Chairman Don McLeroy and three other socially conservative board members chose to set aside personal beliefs in favor of students' interests. Says McLeroy: "anything taught in science has to have consensus in the scientific community and intelligent design does not."
[source: Dallas News]

Listen to the 1-minute broadcast of this story [mp3]

Sound Off: Science & Faith. Our point/counterpoint regulars Shelley (the voice of science) and Peter (the voice of faith), comment on the story.

The Voice of Science: Shelley Greene, Ph.D., comments:
Hearing this update on the shenanigans over at the Texas Board of Education gives me hope that democracy is still practiced in America, even in the hard core Bush Country of Texas. Board Chairman McLeroy realized he simply didn’t have the support from other state-wide elected officials to even begin the infamous 'Wedge' strategy (which authors Barbara Forrest and Paul Gross so eloquently outline in their book “Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design”). Hopefully, the majority of clear-headed Texas School Board members won’t sway back and forth on this issue as Kansas has done. Whatever positive bearing this may have, the fact that Texas hosts the NASA Space Program helps to allay my worried mind. I also perceive that Chairman McLeroy is one who, in a consensus-driven process, can set his personal views aside, acknowledge the group perspectives, and take rational action. This is, indeed, a victory for science in Texas.

The Voice of Faith: Peter Williamson, M.Div., comments:
In my view, Texas School Board Chairman McLeroy has compromised his faith under the pressure of political gamesmanship. I am deeply disappointed that he reversed his standing on the matter of introducing Intelligent Design in Texas schools. I shake my head in sorrow at this missed opportunity.

This being said, I do want to point out to all secularists who describe creationists as irrational religious fanatics, that even in Texas, that “hotbed of Bush religious fervor”, Creationists are sane, reasonable people capable of respecting a majority opinion. While I am not supportive with the outcome of this decision, I do respect McLeroy's respect for democracy and his willingness to lead with deference to his board members.

It deserves clarification to point out that that McLeroy’s support of Intelligent Design in public school curriculum was based on the fact of there being inadequate evidence to support evolution as the sole possible model for the origin of life. His belief is not that Intelligent Design is nor necessarily should be the scientifically accepted theory. He, like many who believe creation theory, is merely seeking an opportunity to find an opening through the secularist citadel of exclusivity and shine the light of God through it.