Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Are Science and Religion Really in Conflict?
Writing in Science and Theology News Larry Witham and Julia C. Keller say the Dover trial shows how schools are pulled by competing concerns to reflect community values and to teach rigorous science:
Dover’s legal battle may have perpetuated a stereotype that science and religion are always in conflict. But among Dover citizens, the science-and-religion story is far more far complicated.
Dover citizens, though divided over the trial, come from a variety of religious backgrounds. Two Dover science teachers who opposed the ID statement, for example, are children of clergy. Two former pro-ID school board members were active in fundamentalist churches. Most of the suing parents wanted their children to learn religion at home, not in biology class. Meanwhile, some nonbelievers wrote in national newspapers that children should be exposed to the rich debate over evolution and design.
Dover is a predominantly Republican township in the Bible Belt of south central Pennsylvania. Yet the trial prompted a crossing of party lines. For the school board race on Nov. 8, some Republicans joined the Democratic “DoverCARES” slate as opponents of the ID policy. In an upset, the slate swept the Republican incumbents who had approved the contentious statement.