It is becoming clear that the various religious lobbies have petitioned their congressmen and senators to dismiss the first clause of the 1st Amendment to the constitution. Often called the Establishment Clause, it is these ten words which attempt to separate the church from the state. In most cases the second clause called the Free Exercise clause protecting religion from the state is more often considered the most important portion of this amendment. However, protecting the state from religion is becoming more and more necessary as scientific achievement brings forth advances which religious leaders feel are an affront to their God.
Whether it is the ability of stem cells to cure disease, the homosexuals right to enter civil unions and bare cloned offspring, or any other manipulation of the human genome, to something as simple as teaching evolutionary theory in the classroom; religious doctrine in this country is forcing a stunting of scientific progress. If it is determined that these scientific achievements could bring changes which are beneficial to the species as a whole and allow us to better survive, wouldn't this stunting allow the church to harm human progress and indeed human evolution overall? The debate of creation versus evolution is indeed more important then Darwin ever could have imagined. The hundreds of millions of years it took life to evolve the intelligence found in human beings may lead to a dead end if we allow the church to deny ourselves the next step.
Based upon an arbitrary declaration that the the entirety of existence was poofed into being six thousand years ago and all living beings were perfected then with no ability to change over time, the church has posited that mankind (and I use the gender specificity purposefully) is the pinnacle of creation and the people of two, three, and four thousand years ago were no less capable to decide what is right for human beings than those of today. This belief is set against the miles of impartial evidence which tracks fossil remains and planetary objects to millions of years ago; evidence which was unknown to those same archaic societies. There are declarations for instance that dinosaurs in fact lived six thousand years ago in the garden of eden with Adam and Eve. Apparently they all must have done something to piss off God because they were not allowed to survive the flood. Or maybe it was because they were just too big to fit on Noah's arc.
Interestingly the most religiously centered portion of our society, the rural farmer of the so called bible belt has been the most capable of witnessing evolution. Breeding practices of horses, dogs, cattle, and pretty much every other farm animal shows that sexual selection, in this case done by the farmer, allows desirable traits in the animals to be passed down to their offspring. What Johnny doesn't learn in third grade will be comprehended intuitively if he dropped out to tend the family farm.
The question of whether the theory of evolution challenges religious doctrine is obviously biased. The famous chihuahua in television commercials, and the dairy cow are products of this so called "theory" and did not exist at the time when the scripture said they couldn't. What prevents this theory from becoming a law like that of gravity or the conservation of energy, is not its evidence and replicablility as is the case with the latter two, but the sensibilities of dogmatic individuals who have based their ethical and spiritual lives upon a philosophy that is out dated and thousands of years old.
Science can not nor does not wish to disprove the existence of God with its technological progress. Technology is not a spiritual matter nor should it be. If something as simple as a means to heal the sick forces one to challenge their beliefs than perhaps their beliefs were not that firm in the first place. What is at stake is not the existence of God but the existence of one particular church. Those religious leaders are attempting to stifle the destiny of the human intellect to ensure that their coffers remain full. I for one couldn't think of a more heinous sin to this thoroughly magnificent creation however old it is.
Copyright © 2010 Charles Harmison
Keeping Religion out of Technological Achievement
Copyright © 2010 Charles Harmison
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