Tonight (1/18), ABC's World News Tonight covered the virtual civil war in Dover, Pennsylvania over introducing "Intelligent Design" into the school curriculum.
Like everything else in America now, this debate is way too polarized. Religious people think their opponents are immoral (science teacher Brian Ream, a school board candidate who favors evolution -- and "a leader in his own church" -- was gratuitiously asked in his interview if he'd ever been accused of child abuse). Scientific-minded people think their opponents are ignorant. Intelligent Design is regarded by both sides (with horror by liberals, and with approbation by conservatives) as a stalking horse for Biblical creationism, which about half of Dover (like about one-third of America) seems to believe in.
To me, the revelation here is not the rigid dogmatism of literal Bible-believers -- so what's new? -- but the equally rigid dogmatism of allegedly "enlightened" Darwin-believers. Attune your ears to the words "believe in evolution", as in, "He doesn't believe in evolution." "Of course I believe in evolution." Notice how often you hear those words. What is the word "believe" doing in a supposedly scientific context? It betrays the reality that Darwinism is not just a scientific theory (and one for which the actual evidence is much spottier than you're told), but also a modern faith and ethos -- a faith in the ultimacy of matter and chance, and an ethos that too often uses the concept of what's "natural" to proclaim the inevitability of all sorts of bad behavior, whether it's male promiscuity or capitalist rapacity.
It's almost always the third way that attracts me -- neither the steep and thorny road to heaven nor the primrose path to hell, but "the green road to faerie land," as in the old ballad "Thomas Rhymer."