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Editing the Editorials of the San Diego Union Tribune

by Mario Lopez

On November 21, 2005, The San Diego Union Tribune published an editorial entitled Voodoo Science. As IDEA Center staffer Mario Lopez explains below, there were only 2 problems with the editorial: (1) Kansas clearly is not teaching intelligent design, and (2) intelligent design is not based upon faith or supernatural explanations, but is based upon empirical data.

November 21, 2005

Today’s San Diego Union Tribune (SDUT) offers nothing new in respect to the argument over the teaching of intelligent design (ID). Using the same overused rhetorical tool to dismiss ID as a religiously motivated schema, they caution their readers of ID’s intent to “bully public schools into making the Bible a central focus of the science classroom.” Far from being true, intelligent design is neither a religious concept, nor a religious watchdog. Its premise rests on the empirical markers which designate intelligent causes to natural phenomena. It makes no claims in regard to the supernatural, and it is entirely free from any religious presumptions. Disagreement amongst scientists should encourage debate, not censorship. Kansas made a good decision in implementing their current standard; their rational for adopting it denotes the following:

“We also emphasize that the Science Curriculum Standards do not include Intelligent Design, the scientific disagreement with the claim of many evolutionary biologists that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion. While the testimony presented at the science hearings included many advocates of Intelligent Design, these standards neither mandate nor prohibit teaching about this scientific disagreement.” The statement makes no use of force to implement design theory; it simply does not prohibit the teaching of its scientific merit.

In an attempt to bolster the idea that ID is a sham, even to religious people, SDUT introduces Rev. George Coyne (a “Jesuit who runs the Vatican Observatory”). Of course, nothing could be said about Pope Benedict XVI or Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn; their views do not conform to a strict evolutionary scenario. Instead, only those who embrace traditional Darwinian dogma are invited to make a point, and a bad one at that. I am compelled to say, that the fellows in the SDUT editorial board have probably never read a book on intelligent design. Perhaps doing so will motivate them to start thinking for themselves, and stop parroting what evolutionists alone are saying.

As a final point, I must say that I agree with one thing the SDUT wrote, that is, that “faith does not belong in a science classroom,” at least not for purposes in making scientific discovery. Faith comes in many forms, and to people of various persuasions, including those who embrace evolutionary theory, but it doesn’t mean that their faith should guide their scientific research, if anything; their research could lend support to their faith.