I am sure many of you saw the ‘debate’ between Bill Nye and Ken Ham. Frankly, it was rather enjoyable as both men were courteous and considerate of the other’s positions even though they have opposing viewpoints. I wish all forms of sociopolitical and religious discourse could be done in such a manner. I felt compelled to write my thoughts on the debate because the compromise and convergence of science and religion is something I personally struggle with and debate internally and writing is how writers figure difficult and uncomfortable shit out. I wish I could link to the debate, but it is no longer available on the original site and will soon be behind a pay wall, so maybe someone will have it available somewhere in the future.
I believe that there is a middle ground that compromises both the religious and scientific views (I walk it everyday of my life), but the problem is that Christian fundamentalism wants to be equal to or at science’s side which it simply cannot be.
Religion, faith, etc. are a personal view and explanation of the world. Science attempts for universal answers devoid of the biases, prejudices, and preferences of religion and spirituality. Does it always succeed? I would say no but at least it tries to.
Which is the fundamental difference between science and religion. Religion, many not all, operates from a position of authority (whether earned or not) where it already has all the answers regardless of evidence, context, or position. It will hardly ever alter or change from its set course or view. It functions on a circular logic that begins and ends with its god and holy texts as the answer to every possible question. Science, on the other hand, operates from a few established and tested ideas to look at and interact with the universe. More significantly, it is willing to change and modify those existing preconceptions based on new evidence and data. It welcomes interrogation of its methods and results to further explore and understand the answers found.
The responsibility of schools is to create informed individuals with the capacity to learn. Granted, this is the ideal of an education system. The actual results vary for a myriad of reasons (ooh, another post idea?). Science is the better system for that goal and religion, the way it is taught and dispersed in most cases, is, unfortunately, in opposition to that endeavor. They don’t have to be, but in their current state they are.
The best compromise that I can, at this moment, give is that science tells you how the universe functions and religion gives you a glimpse of why.
TL;DR Science should be taught in schools. Religion should be left for homes and religious sanctuaries. Religion and Science do not have to be in opposition.
Quick note: I disagree with the Creationism taught at school position, for several reasons, but mostly because it places a specific view of Christianity above other religious views. If creationism is allowed to be taught in schools, then so should the creation narratives, if any, found in the Koran, the writings of Buddha, the narratives of the Pueblo, Cherokee, Aztec, etc. since they have, technically, as much provable validity as the Bible.