A course in intelligent design?

Call it concern. I have been deeply troubled by rumors of intelligent design being introduced as an alternative course for the quantitative reasoning or lab science requirement of the liberal learning curriculum. I am a proponent of free speech and see nothing wrong with intelligent design, if that adheres to a person’s beliefs. However, substituting the potential science or math course with intelligent design circumvents the very point of a liberal learning curriculum.

The point of taking a lab science or quantitative reasoning is to limber the mind, asking it to investigate beyond a guided belief system. Science and mathematics do this by challenging people to look at the world through a new lens, one that encourages conclusions to be drawn through observation and experimentation. The fundamental problem with religion is that it does not ask us to question, but rather asks us to accept authority based on faith.

Of course, no one puts a gun to our heads when we, as students, pick our schedules, so intelligent design would not be infringing on anyone that rejects it outright. However, it provides an easy excuse for those who believe in intelligent design to skate through a semester, without challenging the belief system that their parents have handed down to them. As F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” That is, learning a new method of inquiry inside the classroom, while holding onto faith for more appropriate situations outside of it.

In this way, one method is not better than the other. They just belong in their appropriate places: science in the classroom and religion in church. This has become a serious issue as faith begins to invade both the classroom and politics, taking control of institutions in which it has no place, especially the public institution of the College, an institution that receives federal funding.

I am neither conservative nor liberal, but I feel the Bush regime’s modern combination of religion and politics are reminiscent of fascism. By incorporating religion into education we subvert the point of developing free thought by equating it with ideology.

This is best reflected in the politics of Adolph Hitler, who also put religion on an equal playing field with education. Addressing Germany in 1933, he said, “The national Government will provide and guarantee to the Christian Confessions the influence due them in the schools and education. It is concerned for genuine harmony between Church and State.” Parallel these statements to President Bush’s endorsement of intelligent design in education, and imagine the course America is undertaking.

Let us not mix politics and religion; let us not surrender to blind faith; let us use education to get a well-rounded view of the world. Maybe then we can build a better one than our parents have left for us.

In this way, my fellow students, let us foster our minds with alternative ways of thinking instead of letting the Bible think for us. If God exists, he did not create us to be slaves to ideology, I am sure. He gave us brains to think, eyes to see and ears to hear. Let us progress forward, not backward.