Friday, July 23, 2010

So what does the American Academy of Religion think?

Just a few words from the American Academy of Religion (AAR) on Guidelines for Teaching About Religion in K‐12 Public Schools in the United States. Here are just two paragraphs I found very interesting. The bold-face is my emphasis.

Are religion and science incompatible?

No, not categorically. Most religious traditions and worldviews can function in concert with scientific worldviews and are, indeed, complementary with them. Furthermore, there are many scientists who are people of faith and many people of faith who are devoted scientists. Within traditions, however, there are some theological beliefs that are in tension with certain scientific assertions. The most publicized example of these tensions in the US is between some Christian communities and the biological theory of evolution. Though these tensions are real for the communities involved, it is wrong to assume, for example, that all Christians experience a contradiction between their theological beliefs and evolutionary theory or, by extension, that religious and scientific worldviews are fundamentally incompatible.

Can creation science or intelligent design be taught in schools?

Yes, but not in science classes. Creation science and intelligent design represent worldviews that fall outside of the realm of science that is defined as (and limited to) a method of inquiry based on gathering observable and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. Creation science, intelligent design, and other worldviews that focus on speculation regarding the origins of life represent another important and relevant form of human inquiry that is appropriately studied in literature or social sciences courses. Such study, however, must include a diversity of worldviews representing a variety of religious and philosophical perspectives and must avoid privileging one view as more legitimate than others.
Any of this sound familiar? Well I do disagree with referring to religions a "another important and relevant form of human inquiry", mainly because I don't think religion spends much time in inquiry and more time fund-raising and tell you how to behave -- but the bottom-line here is that even the AAR agrees that it should not be taught in science class -- 'nuff said!

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