Thursday, March 11, 2010

I agree with Jerry Coyne

In the big picture. This time.

If you home school your children, use a science curriculum developed by scientists, not the ultra-liberal yahoos from Bob Jones University.

Even if you do not believe in evolution—teach your age-appropriate children evolutionary theory. That is the state of the art in biology when it comes to explaining the diversity of life. They (and you) should know what it is—even (especially) if your ultimate goal is to argue against it. In fact if you plan to argue against it, you are under an even greater ethical obligation to acquire an accurate understanding. You simply have to know that which you intend to oppose as well or better than those with whom you will argue. "God wouldn’t make us from monkeys" and "it violates the second law of thermodynamics!" don't cut it. Once again, the words of St. Augustine:
Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these [scientific] topics
John Calvin had (at least at times) a similar view. (Luther …not so much.)

I never want to listen to your whining about Richard Dawkins criticizing religion when he didn't even bother to take the time to study some rudimentary theology, if you are going to criticize evolution without studying it at least a high-school level. That deserves the old pot-kettle-black response.

And if you think that studying evolution, even if it is wrong, will test the faith of your children then you need to study the bible some more. He who is within us is mightier than he who is in the world. My sheep hear my voice. Paul quoting pagan philosophers when speaking with pagans. Etc., etc., etc.

New readers may object to my labeling the Bob Jones crowd as ultra-liberal—but in one sense they are. Traditional liberals “take liberties” with scripture by arguing: I beg your pardon! My God would never tell Joshua to kill all those innocents!—I’m excising that part from scripture! Bob Jones liberals (the legalists) are more insidious. They “take liberties” with scripture this way: Yes, God didn’t really inspire a biblical author to write instructions teaching "this, that or the other" is required/commanded of Christians to "do, not do, or believe"—but we are supremely confident that he would have, if he weren’t distracted, so we’ll supplement his word on his behalf.

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