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8.19.2005    |    "it argues for zealotry"
A different title might be, "The Mighty Priests in the Temple of Skience Have Spoken." No, that "skience" isn't a typo. It looks to be almost the same word, yet its sound is quite different. And it has no meaning. Which somewhat describes how some latter-day priests in the temple are behaving when one of their brethren commits the sin of exploring a thesis that veers from the current orthodoxy.

The unorthodox thesis is intelligent design, and the pariah is evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg, who, as a scientific editor, allowed the publication of a paper that attempted to promote intelligent design as a viable alternate to Darwinian theory.

Sternberg is paid by the National Institutes of Health, and was working within the Smithsonian Institution, when, pardon the phrase, all hell broke loose. The hell in question was brought down on Richard Sternberg because of his editorial decision to allow the exposure of an idea, intelligent design, that differed from the orthodox position of the academy. From the Washington Post's story, some details:
As editor of the hitherto obscure Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, Sternberg decided to publish a paper making the case for "intelligent design," a controversial theory that holds that the machinery of life is so complex as to require the hand -- subtle or not -- of an intelligent creator.

Within hours of publication, senior scientists at the Smithsonian Institution -- which has helped fund and run the journal -- lashed out at Sternberg as a shoddy scientist and a closet Bible thumper.

Sternberg harbored his own doubts about Darwinian theory. He also acknowledged that this journal had not published such papers in the past and that he wanted to stir the scientific pot.

"I am not convinced by intelligent design but they have brought a lot of difficult questions to the fore," Sternberg said. "Science only moves forward on controversy."
Well, he's right about that. The problem is not with the merits of intelligent design. It is with the total unwillingness of members of the so-called scientific community to even admit that there might be a different theory of how we came to be human. This is nothing more than intellectual hubris, to which some of these "scientists" add social elitism. From the Post:
A senior Smithsonian scientist wrote in an e-mail: "We are evolutionary biologists and I am sorry to see us made into the laughing stock of the world, even if this kind of rubbish sells well in backwoods USA."
Here in "backwoods USA", a/k/a Jesusland, some of us believe things that may not be shared by our intellectual betters at the Smithsonian. One of those things is that any theory must rise, or fall, strictly on its objective merits.

It is for this reason that I am not a young earth creationist, if by this we mean someone who believes that the earth was created about 6,000 years ago -- complete with fossil records and geologic strata which our proven science can date to many millions of years ago. Yes, yes, God may be testing our faith. But this projects onto He Who Is our own petty ways; a kind of cosmic "gotcha". I am here to tell you that it is not important whether the earth was created 6,000 or 12 billion years ago. It changes not one iota of what faith should be about -- belief in God as our creator, and knowledge that He sent Himself, in the person of His Son, to live, suffer, and die among us and for our sins. And to be raised again after death.

Getting back to those who prefer to not expose themselves to different ideas, consider this (also from the Post):
Scott, of the NCSE, insisted that Smithsonian scientists had no choice but to explore Sternberg's religious beliefs. "They don't care if you are religious, but they do care a lot if you are a creationist," Scott said. "Sternberg denies it, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it argues for zealotry."
I think we all now know who the real zealots are at the Smithsonian. They are those who deny that God exists and might, just might, have had a small part in creating us.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.