On NPR this morning (liberal media alert!) I was listening to yet another story about some school district trying to put intelligent design on the same footing as evolution.
Here's what I don't get: I understand the need for debate and discussion, but do we really need to do this over and over again, to the ridiculous extreme of getting the courts involved?
Steven Jay Gould (dead thinker extraordinaire) had a great idea, which he used many of his wonderfully-readable essays and books to promote: let religion have its domain, and science its domain.
In all matters of faith and morals, where the details can not be assessed in a critical, scientific fashion, let religion have control; this includes the existence of God, how to be a good person, and how many times you have to count those beads or blow those horns to get your specific deity to forgive you.
Anything that can be checked, verified, and confirmed or refuted by the scientific method should be left to science; this includes the size and flatness of the earth, the ordering of the solar system, and -- oh yeah! -- biology.
Evolution is a verifiable fact -- so that's science. Intelligent design is a great idea in many ways, but you can't prove whether God exists, so if you want to say that some cosmic clockmaker set the works in motion that's fine, but it's religion.
What happens when religion tries to butt into scientific affairs? They could claim that the Earth is at the center of the universe, and then be proven wrong. For example.
What happens when science butts into religion's territory? They could claim that there's no scientific basis for moral behavior other than when it's advantageous to your survival, so if it won't affect your survival there's no need to be moral. Yuck.
The state-run schools can not promote one religion's views over any other, and should not teach religious ideas in place or even next to scientific fact. So let's just stop the arguing and do the right thing: keep science in our schools, keep religion in our houses of worship, and stop wasting everyone's time talking about it over and over again.