This morning’s edition of The Post and Courier features clashing “conservative” columns by Senator Mike Fair and assistant editor Frank Wooten on natural selection’s being taught in public schools. David Brooks versus Paul Krugman this ain’t. Think, rather, The Emperor of Lilliput debating Bottom the Weaver.
Since Mr. Wooten’s column is a response to Senator Fair’s, I’ll begin with his, which poses some syntactical challenges for the reader .
He begins by announcing his world view is Christian and he has “that perspective on issues when it applies.” He complains that some who perpetrate subtle attacks “on some issues promoted by Christians” like evolution ignore the Christian bias in other issues, for example, legislation Fair has promoted to help “inmates, women, children, etc” — as if Christianity held a patent on human kindness, as if compassion could not manifest from other religions or mere humanism. By the way, in my travels I have run across ragged beggar children, but I’ve never thought to myself, “Hey, I’m not a Christian, so I’m not going to give that grimy by-product of a random series of accidents and mutations any of my tourist dollars.”
Fair then goes on to claim that “the courts have placed a stranglehold on the search for truth in science.” What in the hell does this mean? Are anti-evolutionary scientists being arrested, convicted, and imprisoned Galileo-like so they can’t continue their quest to prove evolution fallacious? He then goes on to write, “The ‘truth’ must conform to Darwinism, or it is not allowed. I don’t suppose it matters what your eyes see or your mind tells you.”
What he means by that last sentence I can only guess. Do his eyes see a cloud floating above, and does his mind tell him there’s a white bearded, golden robed masculine God sitting on a throne up on that cloud who created our solar system in 6 days 6,000 years ago?
Then Fair careens off on a tangent and argues that “Noah, Webster, a Founding Father (Webster, by the way, spent the Revolution as an undergraduate at Yale), was considered the Father of Education” (ah, the obscuring cloak of the passive voice), and Founding Father Webster declared, “The Christian New Testament is the Moral Law for the United States,” which certainly should be news to the Navaho, Cherokee, and Sioux tribes.
This rhetorical path leads Fair to the Supreme Court, which in essence has embraced “atheism, a religious belief,” to be “allowed to be a factor in driving Darwinism in public schools.” So, a religion, after all, is driving public policy, and that religion is atheism.
He then writes
The Big Bang Theory confirming the truth of a beginner, judged to be a conclusion or debate that is not allowed; many facts are excluded from science and astronomy because of their non-atheistic implications that point directly to intelligence.
I have no idea what he means by the string of phrases masquerading as a sentence that begins the quote, but I wish he’d offered an example or two of scientific facts that have been banned from textbooks because those facts “point directly to intelligence.”
He asks rhetorically, “Why should a young person care about character if he is just a random conglomeration of particles” and ends with “we are all here for a purpose, and random causes do not fit with the facts.”
Mr. Wooten begs to disagree with Senator Fair. He wonders if these “South Carolina folks who still see perceive evolution as a threat to Christianity” have seen Inherit the Wind.”
My guess is probably not, but if they had, they no doubt would identify with William Jennings Bryan, not Clarence Darrow.
Although Wooten blithely ignores some of the problems evolution poses for Christianity, he makes a credible case for the separation of religious belief and scientific education.
He fears that op-ed pieces like Fair’s that reject “basic science” undermine “true conservatives who fairly object to anti-American slants in textbooks,” slanted stuff that mentions the massacre at Wounded Knee and questions the detonation of atomic bombs on civilian populations, acts that suggest that maybe the Christian New Testament is not the Moral Law for the United States after all.