Saturday, February 11, 2006
Havin' a Baaad Day
First, there was last December's court ruling in Dover, Penn. that teaching intelligent design in public schools violates the Constitution's guarantee of the separation of church and state. Then the El Tejon school board out in California, under threat of a losing a lawsuit brought by a group of parents there, backed away from proselytizing for creationism and intelligent design in a philosophy class.
And now, to top it all off, Pope Benedict, the source of much early hope among ID activists, now says, according to Reuters, that science has made such rapid progress in the 20th century that people may sometimes be confused about how the Christian faith can still be compatible with it.
But science and religion are not opposed to each other and Christians should not be afraid to try to understand how they compliment each other in explaining the mystery of life on Earth, he told the Vatican's doctrinal department.
The Pope made his comments at a time of heated debate, mostly in the United States, about intelligent design arguments challenging evolution. A Pennsylvania court ruled in December that intelligent design could not be taught as science in school.
"The Church joyfully accepts the real conquests of human knowledge and recognizes that spreading the Gospel also means really taking charge of the prospects and the challenges that modern knowledge unlocks," he said.
The Pope's statement is particularly difficult for Discovery because their Wedge Document calls evolutionary theory incompatible with Western Christianity. And, the ID playbook calls for branding all Christians who accept evolution as atheists.
After reading news reports of the Pope's statement that modern science and Christianity are indeed compatible, some young staffers at the Discovery Institute -- RSR has not been able to confirm persistent rumors that it was Casey Luskin -- reportedly drafted a post for Discovery's Evolution News and Views blog denouncing the Pope as an atheist.
Our sources inform us that, in the end, cooler heads prevailed. A threat by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to cut off funding if the post was published may have been a factor in Discovery's decision.
Other sources tell us the issue isn't completely settled and there is still some back-channel discussion with televangelist Pat Robertson about reviving the old fundamentalist charge that the Pope is the Antichrist, perhaps through one of Robertson's now famous statements on the "700 Club."
Fearing that the Pontiff's statement might cause confusion over Discovery's "teach the controversy" slogan, by suggesting that the controversy is not between Christians and atheists, but between Christians themselves, the public relations wizards at Discovery have set down their iced caramel macchiatos long enough to write a memo suggesting that the ID think tank distance itself from the slogan and adopt one that more accurately sums up the current situation.
A plan to quietly drop the "teach the controversy," slogan, according to our sources, is now in the works. According to these insiders, a plan to publish "teach the controversy' one last time on William Dembski's Uncommon Descent blog and then have DaveScot delete the post, has won the support of the majority of staffers.
The only difficulty, according to our sources, has been coming up with a replacement slogan.
Here's RSR's suggestion: "I'm havin' a baaad day."