The 'Monkey See, Monkey Do' Approach to Science

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of The Christian Post or its editors.

Last week, a federal judge ordered a Georgia school board in Atlanta to remove stickers from its high school biology textbooks that say evolution is "theory, not a fact." The judge claimed the stickers are a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The stickers, which were put inside the books' front covers, simply read: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered." But U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper said the stickers denigrated evolution, thereby "endorsing the well-known prevailing alternative theory, creationism or variations thereof ...."

In Dover, Pennsylvania, 11 parents have joined the American Civil Liberties Union by filing suit in federal court to prevent the teaching of "intelligent design" in the high school's biology classes. Intelligent design is essentially a theory that contends intelligent causes may have played a significant role in the origins of life.

According to a story in the Washington Post, Michael J. Behe, a biology professor at Lehigh University and a leading advocate of intelligent design, says the theory "might lead one to postulate the existence of a supernatural force such as God," but it finds its starting point in science, not Scripture. Thus, Richard Thompson, of the Thomas More Law Center, which is providing legal representation for the school board says: "The school board has taken the measured step of making students aware that there are other viewpoints on the evolution of species."

Few people understand that "Methodological Naturalism," "scientific materialism," or "Evolution Only" is the prevailing view of scientists that make up the National Academy of Sciences, which writes the National Science Education Standards. John Calvert, who has a degree in geology and currently focuses on constitutional issues relating to the teaching of origins in public schools, says a highly regarded poll published by Edward Larson and Larry Witham in the Journal Nature, reveals 93 percent of members of the National Academy doubt the existence of a "personal god," versus 7 percent who professed a belief in God. In his remarks, made during Darwin, Design & Democracy v Science Converges on Design at the University of New Mexico, Calvert further explained:

"Methodological Naturalism [MN] holds that when scientists investigate and seek to explain the natural world they must irrefutably assume that Naturalism is true. We must assume that only natural causes have operated throughout the relevant history of life without the aid of any intelligent cause. Those who break this rule are not scientists and therefore are not qualified to speak or be heard. MN is sort of a rule that would require arson investigators to provide only natural explanations for all fires. If an investigator disagrees with the rule, he is not deemed a qualified investigator, so his reports cannot be considered. The result would be massive increases in insurance premiums and profound misunderstanding about the true causes of fire."

Although what Calvert describes is essentially what science has become, it should be noted that modern science could never have arisen in our modern culture on such a premise. In other words, today's science essentially claims all of life is random, irrational and illogical. To borrow from Calvert, the core claim of evolution is that "apparent design is just an illusion." Such rejects the notion of absolutes, therefore, rejecting the very foundation of science. Consider carefully: if everything is irrational and illogical, if there are no absolutes, if there is no design, then results in experimentation are relative. Scientific claims cannot possibly be subject to refutation or falsification. A foundation of that order for science destroys its credibility.

No doubt this is why nearly all the great founding fathers of science (Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, Newton, Boyle, Brewster, Faraday, Linaeus, Ray, Maxwell, Pasteur, Kelvin, etc.) ascribed the origins of life and the laws of nature to a Creator. They believed working toward their discoveries was merely, as Kepler said, "Thinking God's thoughts after Him." Yet such great men of science would be rejected today -- ridiculed as nonacademic stooges -- because of their belief in the primeval special creation of God.

Moreover, it should be mentioned that most of America's great founding fathers were theists and creationists. Creation is clearly implied in the Declaration of Independence with phrases such as "endowed by our Creator," "created equal," and "Nature's God." In The Evolutionary Outlook, historian Gilman Ostrander said: "The American nation had been founded by intellectuals who had accepted a worldview that was based upon biblical authority as well as Newtonian science. They had assumed God had created the earth and all life upon it at the time of creation and had continued without change thereafter." Nevertheless, the Bible, Christianity, creationism, and "intelligent design" are not allowed today in the schools of the states, which were founded upon these very truths.

It is a travesty of justice -- actually a violation of the public's First Amendment rights -- that any consideration of God or supernatural explanations of science are summarily banned from the public classroom. Calvert explains:

"The problem is that an 'Evolution Only' policy is not really scientific or constitutional. It is not scientific because it is officially biased rather than scientifically objective. Because it is biased, it is not religiously neutral. Evolution Only effectively requires our children to 'know' that we come from a natural rather than an intelligent cause, that we are occurrences and not designs, and that we naturally arise without purpose from a purposeless process. It effectively teaches that no rational evidentiary basis exists for theistic beliefs. Evolution Only converts these scientific claims into dogmas that are the fundamental tenants of non-theistic religions and that directly contradict the fundamental tenants of theistic religions. Accordingly, in my opinion, Evolution Only is not 'secular' or neutral. Rather it is an ideology that directly conflicts with the First Amendment rights of parents and students."

Simply put, the scientific community and the public educational system have essentially embraced a -- forgive the pun -- "monkey see, monkey do" approach to science, which is justified by the court's distortion of the First Amendment that establishes evolutionary humanism as the quasi-official religion of the public schools.

People in America today are deeply concerned about what they see to be a moral meltdown in our country. Many understand that the ethical implications of a purely naturalistic approach to science can be far-reaching. If life is simply an accident, what's wrong with aborting children? Why not euthanize the aged and the handicapped? Why not end the institution of marriage? Why tell the truth? Why not steal or kill? As Fyodor Dostoevsy said: "If there is no God, all things are permissible."

Perhaps the words of Francis Bacon are relevant: "A little science estranges a man from God; a little more brings him back."