I consider honesty a core value of the Christian faith: honesty with God, honesty with myself and certainly honesty with other people. It has been my experience that the “intelligent design” supporters are not being honest with me, the state legislature or their fellow Oklahomans.
Those who strongly advocate for ID also loudly profess their faith in the Christ, in the Bible and in science. Yet, they refuse to be honest and admit that their “intelligent” designer is the God of their religious faith. If they were to be truthful with the state and their communities, they would at least phrase their efforts as “divine design.”<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />
My Christian journey, of over 40 years, is not something that could be analyzed under a microscope or in a laboratory. Even in my early days as a brand new “babe in Christ,” it was never an issue that biblical truth could be studied as an earth science. Spiritual truths are not within the purview of scientific analysis. What is the value of calling my faith conclusion that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” a scientific fact?
For the past five years, I taught one section of Sociology and one section of Religions of the World in a public high school.
Early in 2005, I attended a session for high school teachers on ID on the campus of the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Okla. It was hosted by the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute of Seattle, Wash.
The session covered four areas for teachers: 1) techniques to challenge biological evolution in their classrooms, 2) information about a proposed “ID science” textbook to be included in the choices for use in Oklahoma public high schools, 3) assurance that teaching ID was “constitutional and legal” and 4) assurance that attorney fees were available for any teacher who found themselves involved with legal challenges to the ID “science” introduced in their classes.
At the conference, during a telephone conference call with a college instructor, I asked the professor on the speaker, “Doesn’t intelligent design imply a supernatural source for the origins of human life and the universe?”
The answer was: “No. It doesn’t have to be supernatural. We are not concerned with naming the intelligence. It could be some alien force.”
Then and now, I do not believe the voice on the phone was being honest with me. The advocates for ID understand that any reference to God in their “scientific” texts would demonstrate that they are seeking to present a creation model as science. That cannot be done, based on previous Supreme Court decisions. Thus, they resort to word games and a dishonest representation of their motives.
In a December article in an Oklahoma newspaper, the state GOP unveiled their 2006 legislative agenda: various tax reforms, increased funding for prisons and highways, reforms in the use of eminent domain and “incorporating the theory of intelligent design into science classes.” ID has risen to a very high political level in Oklahoma, if not a high scientific level.
The legislator who will introduce the ID bill argues that his objective is to “encourage freedom of thought.” That’s a noble rationale for a social science subject, but not a physical science class. ID offers no scientific experiments to identify the “intelligence.” They do not plan to gather data and physical evidence to point to their “intelligence.”
Be honest. If you can’t or won’t “i.d.” the ID, do not call it “science.”
Jim Huff is a member of First Baptist Church in Oklahoma City and executive secretary of the Oklahoma chapter of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.