In Kentucky, some Republican lawmakers are upset that the ACT, one of those tests high school students must take to prepare for college, requires kids to understand the theory of evolution.
The lawmakers question why creationism isn’t also taught in science classrooms as an alternative, rather than the “one theory only” approach that accompanies science education these days.
You can see their point, as evolution theory, which is taught as fact, has holes in it you could drive a semi-truck through. Also, by not even acknowledging that there are other theories out there, schools aren’t doing students any favors in terms of developing critical thinking skills.
The overarching issue is one of indoctrinating children into a mechanistic and ultimately nihilistic view of the universe via evolution theory vs. opening their minds to the possibility that life has a deeper moral meaning than simply being the illusion generated by random conglomerations of electrochemical reactions.
If you really wanted to fix science education, however, I’m of the opinion that instead of reading about Darwin, students should be required to read Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus.”
In the novel, Shelley tells the tale of a scientist who through an unorthodox experiment creates a living creature, only to realize that he is horrified by his own handiwork. The creature is cast out by the scientist, but returns to plague him and the local community.
The story is well-known, but the point — that playing God results in disaster — seems never to have sunk in with many people in the scientific community.
Scientific history is full of great triumphs like human flight, heart transplants, cures for horrific diseases, the Internet, hydroelectric power and space-exploring robots. But it also has a legacy of phenomenally bad ideas, like food additives that harm human health, fertilizers that find use in gas bombs, dyes that turn out to be powerful explosives, refrigerants that damage the atmosphere, and byproducts of medically useful substances that become highly addictive street drugs.
Things really get ugly when science mixes with politics, as it does in the case of global warming, a flimsy theory that is used to inspire numerous schemes to tax, control and ultimately enslave entire populations. Evolution theory mixed with politics gave us eugenics and Nazi gas chambers in the 20th century.
Currently, growth of the field of genetics is just multiplying the opportunities for modern Frankensteins to muck around and turn the rest of us into guinea pigs.
Take stem cell research, for example. Anyone who’s familiar with the issue of stem cells at all can tell you the differences between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. In a nutshell, adult stem cells work and can ethically result in phenomenal medical breakthroughs. Embryonic stem cells mostly create tumors, tissue rejection and are harvested by cloning human embryos and essentially throwing them in a blender. Guess which one the government funds.
Just a thought, but if your job involves creating an entire slave race of humans — even just in the form of days-old clumps of cells — whose sole reason for existing is to serve as fodder for your medical experiments, your ethical train has jumped the tracks somewhere.
Another unbelievably bad idea in the works is the concept of the designer child.
It’s already possible to selectively abort a child for traits like gender or genetic disability. Genetic studies have even opened the way for detecting and surgically correcting some developmental problems while a baby is still in the mother’s womb.
But the idea of a true designer child goes even beyond that level of medical miracles.
Professor Julian Savulescu, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, recently wrote in Readers Digest that genetic screening, which is still illegal for all but a few traits, should be widely adopted so that parents can select desirable personality traits.
You read that right. Savulescu says that genes have a strong influence on personality, and he is proposing that “rational design” in the lab (not to be confused with “intelligent design” in nature, which is just silly) could create healthier, smarter and less violent offspring.
Further, Savulescu suggests that ethics demands that we should do this for the health, welfare and safety of our future children. Such people would be less likely, according to Savulescu, to harm themselves or others.
Have you ever noticed how often bad ideas are framed in terms of safety?
It doesn’t take much imagination to foresee the many horrible roads this sort of tinkering could take us down, but the likely outcomes are apparently lost on the likes of materialistic scientists and professors.
The creature in “Frankenstein” is never really given a name, but only described variously as “fiend,” “wretch,” “daemon,” “it” or in other such unflattering terms. The twisted creature refers to himself as “the Adam of your labors” or “your fallen angel.”
As for the doctor, who is the real monster of the piece, he is the source of his own problems.
So do we really need to go there again?
Instead of trying to wedge creationism into science classes, maybe we should just send all our scientists to church. They might learn something.