Open Letter To Heather Ashley
I read with interest, the position of the new Irving School District Trustee, Heather Ashley on the subject of Intelligent Design. She stated that she was open to allowing other views to be taught in the Irving School District, in conjunction with Intelligent Design.
I understand this is likely a generous gesture on her part, in publically stating tolerance for other religious and scientific ideas that run counter to her personal religious beliefs. I recognize that there is considerable political and grassroots pressure to teach religion in public schools. We must remember though, that our US Constitution makes it clear that our government shall not promote one religion over an other. And as a corollary no religious denomination or sect over another.
Though Intelligent Design is often touted as a Christian Belief, and the argument is made that we are a Christian Nation, founded on Christian Principles, this ignores the fact various Christian denominations do not agree on Intelligent Design. Further, the Christian Denominations prevalent in North America when this great nation was founded, are not the same denominations that are now pushing to preach Intelligent Design in our classrooms.
Our current proponents of Intelligent Design are primarily Southern Baptists and Jehovah's Witnesses, with some mix of Methodists. The official Catholic position is is that, faith and scientific findings regarding human evolution are not in conflict. This is in stark contrast to the views of other denominations.
It is my view that if we are to teach a religious position such is this, that isn't even shared by the majority of Christians, much less the other world's religions, then we must make this clear when these religious ideas are being taught.
Further, in deference to other Christian denominations, we must teach the views both in agree and dissension as espoused by the Catholic Church and it's splinter denominations. To be fair, the position of every significant Christian denomination should be covered. This should include Presbyterians, Quakers and the major Amish denominations.
So far I've only covered the dissension and debate of Christians over the religious view idea of Intelligent Design. As Irving also has Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, their religious views of creation should also be covered. It's probably unfair to leave out Unitarians, even though they have a mixed bag of theists in their congregations.
Perhaps a volunteer from each of these Religions or sects could give presentations on their religious view of creation in equal time with the creationists that wish to teach Intelligent Design?
I hope that as the Irving Independent School district increases it's focus on religious studies that it does not, short change it's students scientific studies. Science and Technology gave the USA the powerful edge it world affairs that made it until recently a world leader in science and economics. Our lost ground as an economic power has steadily kept pace with our losses as a leader in science and technology to those nations that place a higher importance on these studies than America does. Many other nations are now leaving the USA behind in the study of biology and medicine largely because their religious views are not in direct conflict with observable phenomena. They are not taught to disbelieve in provable scientific ideas, simply because it clashes with a personal or religious ideology. On this basis they are taking the best jobs and leaving the USA behind.
It is a fact that the Intelligent Design Debate is largely a USA phenomenon. Much of the world's Christians do not subscribe to this view, making it a minority belief.
If it becomes the Irving Independent School district's policy to teach a religion's minority view on creation, I hope that the School District in it's wisdom will broaden it's scope to teach a wider breath of religious views on this topic, and make it clear that these are religious, not scientific viewpoints.
Thank you for your time and your consideration of my arguments and views.