Religious Academic Sympathy

Updated: May 28

Because Google Adsense deemed this website to have too little content for ads, I'll be posting my top 25 undergraduate papers. This was a paper from philosophy of biology. I got to make a critique of anybody who thinks we should "teach the controversy" when it comes to evolution versus religious theories. This is one of those examples of a short but sweet paper.



Dalhousie University

PHIL 3420

January 29th, 2020



In his 2003 paper “Creationism and Intelligent Design” Robert T. Pennock provides an enlightening overview of the controversy surrounding creationism and intelligent design being presented in biology classes in public schools. Advocates for the position that the ideas should be presented have a “teach the controversy” mentality with respect to the clash between darwinian evolution and religious accounts of life on earth. The clash is inevitable as a result of the two ideas not being compatible. The paper explains that in the early 2000’s, legislatures across the United-States were being lobbied to include “the controversy” to be taught in public schools and Pennock outlines all the arguments made by the Discovery Institutes “Wedge strategy.”(1)

The section that appears to be the most philosophically egregious is when the idea of “viewpoint discrimination” is explained. The legal case is that evolution may make religious beliefs seem “unimportant” and even a critic of the wedge strategy suggested teaching religion and its origins in social studies class to repudiate that feeling. So the question becomes - does every belief that feels belittled by science education need to be brought up elsewhere let alone in the science classroom? Do social studies classes need to explain why some people spend money to hear people “communicate with ghosts” even though the thermodynamics lessons of chemistry class dismantle the idea of ghosts existing as energy?(2) Does astrology need to be taught in social studies class because many people buy into it even though a basic astronomy class could dismantle the entire field?(3)

It appears as though religion has special exceptions with regards to the academic legitimacy that is considered upon it in comparison with other forms of beliefs that have equivalent levels of scientific evidence and philosophical rigour behind it. One could suspect this special exception status of religion has to do with its inherent tribalism. As well as humans being uncomfortable with the idea of death. Regardless, none of these ideas require any academic sympathy.



Bibliography



Andrei, Mihai. “Astrology Doesn't Work and Never Worked. Here's Why.” ZME Science, September 1, 2018. https://www.zmescience.com/other/feature-post/astrology-doesnt-work-and-never-worked-heres-why/.


Andrew Griffin. “The Large Hadron Collider Has Proved the Truth about Ghosts, Claims Brian Cox.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, February 24, 2017. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/ghosts-brian-cox-large-hadron-collider-cern-real-truth-standard-model-physics-a7598026.html.


Pennock, Robert T. “Creationism And Intelligent Design.” Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics 4, no. 1 (2003): 143–63. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.genom.4.070802.110400.



1 - Pennock, Robert T. “Creationism And Intelligent Design.” Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics 4, no. 1 (2003).

2 - Andrew Griffin. “The Large Hadron Collider Has Proved the Truth about Ghosts, Claims Brian Cox.” The Independent. Independent Digital News and Media, February 24, 2017.

3 - Andrei, Mihai. “Astrology Doesn't Work and Never Worked. Here's Why.” ZME Science, September 1, 2018.