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Creationism Not Science, Evolution Not Religion, God Not Disproven

E pur se muove—e pur se evolve!

Dr. Bill Harris charges into the public square to run interference for Senator Jeff Monroe's battle to teach insecure superstition in the public schools. Senator Monroe (R-24/Pierre) introduced Senate Bill 112 with the intent of wedging our K-12 school doors open for the teaching of creationism. When he realized his sloppily written bill would allow secular teachers like me to say whatever they wanted about creationism (like that it's bunk!) in any classroom at any time, he withdrew the bill. (For a guy who advocates intelligent design, Senator Monroe has a hard time doing any paperwork intelligently.)

To serve the superstitionists, Dr. Harris plays Orwellian opposites:

  1. Dr. Harris contends that the philosophical supposition that complexity and mind can only spring from mind constitutes real science. The Union of Concerned Scientists disagrees: appealing to an unprovable supernatural being to explain earthly events is the opposite of science.
  2. Dr. Harris contends that atheism (because that's what's really at stake when people spout intelligent design, winning God's favor by whacking us heretics) is just another religion. Atheism is not a religion. Atheism the opposite of religion. Claiming that atheism is a religion is like claiming that health is a disease.

Dr. Harris butters his crap sandwich with ad hominem disguised as intelligent word analysis:

Evolution is another very slippery term. It can range from the completely uncontroversial belief that life has changed over time, to the highly controversial position that the mechanism responsible for this change was completely mindless, natural selection acting on random genetic variation (neo-Darwinism). The latter is what “free thinkers” actually mean when they promote teaching evolution, but the former is how they represent it to the unsuspecting public [Dr. Bill Harris, "Intelligent Design and Evolution—Science or Religion?" that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.02.05].

It's not enough to scientifically refute evolution (because he can't); Harris imputes falsehood and sneakiness to "free thinkers," who must be up to something and thus cannot be trusted. I don't hear scientists cloaking evolution in vague terms in an effort to wedge children's brains open to atheism. I can explain evolution in entirely materialistic terms. I can say that molecules come together following not randomly, dang it, but governed by explicable physical and chemical laws. And when the kid at the front of the class wearing the Michael W. Smith (he's still a thing, right?) says, "But Mr. H., does evolution mean there is no God?" I can respond with complete intellectual integrity, "No, it doesn't."

The factually supported possibility that you and I and all biota arose from natural selection and genetic variation challenges the existence of God no more than did Galileo's discovery of moons orbiting Jupiter.

Teaching real science (Copernican astronomy and evolution) does not, as Harris pretends, promote or denigrate any religious point of view, except maybe the flimsy faith of simpletons who would abandon their fantasy God before a simple demonstration of Brownian motion. Galileo, Darwin, and Pope Francis can all be right.

Terra muove. Vita cambia. E pur Dio esiste.


  1. Cranky Old Dude 2014.02.17

    Actually, both viewpoints are full of holes. I think this debate does serve an important function: it keeps a bunch of people (on both sides) occupied who would otherwise find some other way to be a pain in the ass.

  2. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.02.17

    Whoa Cranky, that's kinda harsh, don't ya think? Darn it Cory, its been 57 years since I had any of those words to translate, and I didn't study as hard as I should have either.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.02.17

    Nick, you and I are on the same page!

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.02.17

    The difference between the viewpoints, Cranky, is that scientists recognize their work is full of holes and eagerly seek and investigate new holes. The creationists think their view has no holes and rage when we point them out.

    As for occupying our time, believe me, Cranky, had I the pleasure of teaching science, I would have a huge list of scientific experiments to do and scientific ideas to discuss on which I would place much greater priority than a lengthy discussion of the mechanics of evolution. But if pressed, I'd have to tell the kids that evolution is science, God is religion, and the two are not mutually exclusive. Now, back to dissecting our frogs....

  5. mike from iowa 2014.02.17

    And I still say if there really is a christian god,he/she/it could never explain today's so called christian wingnuts. They are a direct contradiction to everything my Baptist,short,upbringing claimed jesus stood for.

  6. Douglas Wiken 2014.02.17

    Change is the source of more change.

    Evolution would make the SD legislature more relevant in this century.

  7. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.02.17

    "Dr. Harris butters his crap sandwich. . ."

    LOL! You do turn a colorful phrase. That's one of the reasons I read this Times.

    You are right, and I think it's important to emphasize that evolution and science Are Not the opposite of religion. Coexistence has endured for centuries. One does not negate the other.

    However, emphasizing a fictional opposition is one of the many false teachings that have made a very small group very wealthy. Like the pseudo War on Xmas. Look to the rich and powerful "ministers" to see our present day False Prophets.

  8. Roger Cornelius 2014.02.17

    I believe it was Bill Maher that said religion is neurological disease.

  9. interested party 2014.02.17

    Okay, Doug: that was funny.

  10. grudznick 2014.02.17

    Larry, look in the regular place for a package.

  11. interested party 2014.02.17

    don't touch my junk, grud.

  12. Donald Pay 2014.02.17

    I've found it difficult to respond to this thread. The good Doc hasn't really explained his "mechanism" for intelligent design, while casting aside natural selection without any reasons. This is despite one hundred years of confirming data for natural selection and no confirming evidence for intelligent design. Needless to say, the good Doc demonstrates a startling lack of knowledge about evolution, yet appears to want us to accept his "expertise" based on his M.D. Sorry, you can get an M.D. without knowing much about population genetics. I doubt he's even had a course in that, and his classical genetics training probably occurred as a lower level undergraduate.

  13. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.02.17

    I recall a recent half-assed "debate" involving Bill Nye, the Science Gut and a creationist talker named Ham. I didn't see it, but everything I read said Nye was really bad.

    (Sarcasm on.)
    Well that's certainly definitive then! Question permanently settled.

Comments are closed.