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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

The Jesus elephant in the room

The theory of intelligent design and its supporters are getting some help in the Texas Legislature. Last week, Republican Texas state Rep. Bill Zedler introduced a bill that would protect Texas college students and professors who believe in the theory of intelligent design. The bill would ban Texas universities from punishing professors or students who are either conducting research into intelligent design or other theories that disagree with evolution.  

Zedler has aligned himself as a defender of intelligent design followers, who he believes are afraid to speak their minds for fear of retribution. On the flip side, Kathy Miller, the President of the Texas Freedom Network, a group that opposes religious influence in public education, has come forth in staunch opposition to the bill. Miller claims that it takes a hack at science when science ought to be championed.

I am all for religious freedom, tolerance, understanding and differences. Punishing someone because they disagree with you on evolution is plain wrong. Let me be clear, I also fully advocate the theory of evolution. While I recognize there are holes where science has yet to explore, I still put my trust in that theory instead of completely relying on the faith required to believe in intelligent design. Nonetheless, if people wish to put their faith in a theory that cannot be tested or proven, they ought to have the freedom to do so without fear of persecution.  

School systems are where we ought to teach tolerance for people who have different ideas than our own. Understanding is achieved only through confrontation. If we don’t allow people with different opinions and beliefs into our systems, then we create a single-minded atmosphere where students are never confronted with the reality of differing faiths and perspectives.

Yes, there ought to be separation of church and state, but ostracizing people of faith is simply incorrect. Even if these people wish to pursue their faith in academic pursuits they should be able to do so. However, it must be made clear that intelligent design is simply not science. It is faith, and faith rests in cultural studies. One cannot study if the theory of intelligent design is or is not accurate. The theory cannot be tested. Nevertheless, one can study the answers provided by the theory and search for ways that intelligent design might be linked to the theory of evolution.

Zedler’s bill has a legitimate point. Of course there is the possibility that he has alternative motives behind his bill, but the basis of the bill is just. Although some may argue that we are a nation founded on religious principles, we are ultimately a nation of tolerance. Our country was founded on the principles of equal opportunities and equal treatment. Those who support intelligent design are causing no harm to their fellow students or faculty and thus have the right to speak freely about their ideas. Just because we disagree with them, and just because intelligent design is not science, doesn’t mean they should be punished or outcast.  

 

— Storm Byrd is a political science sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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