There was an interesting piece of news that popped up last week that the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology informed Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal that they would not be holding their 2011 meeting in New Orleans as they had planned because of the passage of the Louisiana Science Education Act in 2008, which provides the go-ahead for teaching creationism and “Intelligent Design” in the state’s K-12 science classrooms. To me, that’s like calling a bill that allows you to cheat on your wife the Husband Fidelity Act.
Many scientific groups had lobbied both the Louisiana legislature and the governor against the bill in 2008. It passed overwhelmingly and Jindal signed it into law. In their letter, the Society president Richard Satterlie said: The SICB leadership could not support New Orleans as our meeting venue because of the official position of the state in weakening science education and specifically attacking evolution in science curricula.
He went on to remind the governor that 2000+ people visiting for a week is a good thing for a city’s and state’s economy. He also went onto say that they would be lobbying other scientific organizations to do the same. And it might be working. Last week, Greg Petsko, the president of the much larger and influential American Association for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (whose meetings can have 15000+ attendees) stated, "No future meeting of our society will take place in Louisiana as long as that law stands." Good.
Now, I think God should be in a lot of classrooms. Private school religion classrooms, for sure. History classes – absolutely – a lot of history has transpired over the interpretation of God’s Will – and I find the purging of historical references to God in the name of “correctness” appalling. Comparative religions? Ethics and morality? Yep yep yep.
Science class? No.
Science is about trying to understand the workings of the natural universe by testable, reliable methods, which is contradictory to including God (who is almost by definition beyond the scope of space and time) as a cause. So even if you believe God is The First Cause, you must exclude that (literally the “super-natural”) from any truly scientific discussion or inquiry. Or classroom.
The truly infuriating thing is that ID proponents will challenge with “Teach the debate!” – and I’d be all for that – except there is no scientific debate. Not on the level these folks are talking about. Not when it comes to the age of the Earth, or the age and expansion of the universe, or the nature of genetic inheritance. Of course, there are obvious (and sometimes profound) gaps in our knowledge, and that's okay. But, there's no more reason to write "There Be God" in those gaps any more than there was reason to write "There Be Monsters" at the edges of maps in the Middle Ages.
And the damn thing is that if you believe that God has bestowed us with intelligence and reason, then why would He create a universe in which the vast preponderance of evidence (astronomical, geological, archeological, biological, genetic) argues for modern scientific interpretations? If ALL that disparate science is wrong, then God has led us on a wild-goose chase, given us a giant red-herring. In short, that God is deceptive. That’s not my God. And I doubt He’s yours, either.