Saturday, October 08, 2005

Religion vs. Science: Unintelligent Debate

I read several more letters to the editor today regarding the debate over Intelligent Design being taught along side evolution in schools. As a Baha'i I view religion and science as harmonious and complementary approaches to knowledge both of which are necessary for the advancement of civilization. We actually just had international conference in Cambridge dedicated to religion, science and society that you can read about here.Like so many of the challenging issues facing humanity in this age, people have created a false dichotomy that we then spend countless hours fighting over. Framing the debate between evolution and creationism as being a clash between religion and science is misleading. I know many seriously scientific people who are also serious about their religion and see no conflict between the two. This whole struggle right now is really more about politics than religion or science. Let's be clear, on the religious side you have a group of fundamentalist Christians who are seeking to impose their interpretation of the Bible on society, to create an America in their image. The Intelligent Design issue is part of that broader strategy. On the scientific side you have many people who are dogmatic materialists who deny any spiritual dimension to reality or who view faith as a purely personal matter with no relevance to the public sphere. I believe that this debate is driven largely by extremists on both sides who share a common goal, to impose their version of reality on other people. This is a struggle for the power to promote one's view of the world while marginalizing any alternative perspective.