Hermits Rock

Go to content Go to navigation


R— P—, the minister at the small church in Virginia my dad attends, also watched Nova’s recreation of Kitzmiller v. Dover, the case that put intelligent design both on and off the map. “Watched” is a relative term, however, because he didn’t really pay attention. Here is his November 27, 2007, column in the church bulletin:

A CASE OF BIASED REPORTING: Recently Public Television Channel aired a report on the controversy in Dover, Pennsylvania over the teaching of “intelligent design” in the public schools. The school board there has ruled that such is to be taught along with the theory of evolution. To say th eleast the evolutionists are up in arms, and are pressing the issue in the courts. Never have I witnessed a more biased reporting.

For one thing the program referred to intelligent design as “creationism”, whereas they constantly referred to evolution as “the science of evolution.” We all know that “ism” now-a-days has a negative connotation. The truth is the concept of evolution is as much a theory as creation. It would be just as right to speak of “the science of creation”, and “the theory of evolution.” This they never do.

Furthermore, throughout the program the members of the school board and the people of the community supporting intelligent design were protrayed as a bunch of country bumpkins, ignorant and uneducated; whereas the opposition was portrayed as highly intellectual, and well educated.

Too, they portrayed the teaching of evolutions as according to the Constitution, and the separation of church and state; whereas they portrayed intelligent design as a religious concept, and therefore a violation of the Constitution. The truth is evolution is atheistic, and atheism is a religion. I checked two accepted dictionaries, and both defines religion as “a system of religious beliefs.” Ask an atheist, “What is your religion?” and he’ll probably say, “I am an atheist,” that is, his religious beliefs are that there is no God. Therefore the teaching of evolution is as much a religious teaching as is the teach- of intelligent design. The program did not mention this.

The question is, “Why are the evolutionists so opposed to intelligent design?” It’s because they’re running scared. No-one can deny that life in every form reflects intelligent design. Even a child recognizes this. And, if one believes in intelligent design then he will believe in an intelligent designer. And, who could that be? None other than God, Himself. In Psalm 14:1 it is writtent, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.”

Some of the points he makes completely ignore what Nova actually argued; others are just wild speculations made either out of ignorance or a willful denial of the Discovery Institute’s actual claims about intelligent design. What I am interested most in is how one can respectfully approach such arguments. I must admit that my own first inclination is to clam up, because I recognize in R—’s column a dogma that will refuse to hear any argument that is not in its favor. Nova’s argument was against intelligent design, but then it’s a program dedicated to science, and in the process of making its case—which was really the prosecutors’ case in Kitzmiller v. Dover—it methodically established solid foundations for the debate. For example, it did away with the canard that evolution is “just a theory,” by explaining—at great length—the very real difference between colloquial and scientific definitions of theory. But R— didn’t listen to that segment, apparently. In such a situation, what, if anything, is one to say? Is silence, which does preserve civility but also suggests tacit agreement, better, or is it worse than voicing one’s concern at the risk of alienation?



My answer would be to clam up and leave it be. We’ll see how well I actually hold up to that ideal after two weeks in Alabama, in a month or so.

Do you say that because of your relationship to your Alabama interlocutors, or is it because of your general temperament?

With me, it’s temperament, especially IRL.

Temperament. It’s just useless to engage with people like that, whether you know them or not.

G neglects to mention that this preacher is also his dad’s father-in-law…In my mind, that’s what necessitates the clamming up.

i would tend to not say anything as well. more because i don’t think that speaking up would do anything. then again, you may be surprised. but, that would also depend on your relationship with the preach, beyond his being your putative grand-father(-in-law)… that is, can you sit on his stoop and sip a brew? or is it all thus saith the lord?

It’s primarily thus saith the lord, but he’s surprised me in the past in conversation. It seems as though a switch flips when he takes the pulpit. However, because I don’t see him but once every three or four years, I don’t have much of a relationship with him at all.