Sunday, February 05, 2006

More on faith as a source of knowledge

Two posts down, I discussed Lorenzo Albacete's op-ed piece in the NY Times in which he discussed the problem with taking faith to be a source of knowledge about the world. The intelligent design debate is a good illustration. And now some intelligent design advocates seem to be seeing the problem as well. There is a bill in the Utah legislature that would require a disclaimer at the start of lessons about evolution. Surprisingly in a state as religious and conservative as Utah, the bill is running into problems. It has passed the state senate, but leaders of both parties in the house have come out against it.
Stephen H. Urquhart, a Republican from southern Utah whose job as majority whip is to line up votes in his party … announced last week that he would vote against the bill.

"I don't think God has an argument with science," said Mr. Urquhart, who was a biology major in college and now practices law. …

Opponents of the bill, including State Senator Peter C. Knudson, the Republican majority leader, openly laugh at talk [that claims that the bill is not about religion].

"Of course it's about religion," Mr. Knudson said.
Of course, not everyone agrees that we should keep religion out of science. According to the article,
Missouri's legislature is considering a bill requiring "critical analysis" in teaching evolution. An Indiana lawmaker has called evolution a type of religion and proposed a bill banning textbooks that contain "fraudulent information."
But Utah is a state of Mormans, which is not the majority religion in this country. That makes them a bit more cautious.
Enthusiasm for [school prayer] has been muted or ambivalent, said Kirk Jowers, a professor of political science and director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah. Professor Jowers pointed to the awareness among Mormons of their religion's minority status in the nation and world.

"It was kind of a realization that if you push to have prayer in school, then outside of Utah, the prayer would not typically be a Mormon's prayer, so is that road you want go down?" Professor Jowers said.
Amazing how one becomes more aware of the dangers of majority totalitarianism when one isn't in the majority.

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