So if we’ve collectively decided to abandon rationality and teach mythology as science in the public school system, why is the default based on the biblical Judeo-Christian origin myth? After all, there are hundreds of other mythologies to choose from – and several that are just as compelling!
Why is it we wouldn’t even consider teaching the Cherokee origin myth in the science classroom?
What about Pangu? After all, a billion Chinese can’t be wrong? Surely the Chinese origin story would make for compelling scientific observation!
Pangu gradually weakened after he separated the heaven and the earth. After he died, his body turned into all the things in the universe. His left eye became the sun and his right eye, the moon. The protruded parts in his body turn out to be high mountains and his blood became rivers. His muscle became the soil field, and his hair and beard became the stars on the sky and grasses on the ground. His teeth and bones turned out to be iron and huge stone while the essence in his body became pearls and precious jade. His breath became the wind and cloud, his shout became the thunderbolt, and the sweat turned out to be the rain. A lot of insects on his body were blown by wind into living human beings.
The fact is, there are countless origin myths throughout the world. And why would we wish to discount earlier mythologies such as the Aztec, Inca, or Mayan myths just because these ancient civilizations no longer exist?
It was out of this concern, when the debate was centered around “intelligent design,” where the master strategy of the proponents of ID was: “To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies” and “to replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God,” that a new theory of creation was proffered.
In 2005, in reaction to the Kansas Board of Education’s consideration of teaching ID as science in public schools, an Oregon State University physics graduate – Bobby Henderson – offered an alternative creation theory: The Flying Spaghetti Monster as the creator of heaven and earth. In his letter to the Kansas BOE, Henderson simply requested “equal time” be spent to explore alternative creation theories:
In conclusion, thank you for taking the time to hear our views and beliefs. I hope I was able to convey the importance of teaching this theory to your students. We will of course be able to train the teachers in this alternate theory. I am eagerly awaiting your response, and hope dearly that no legal action will need to be taken. I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism (Pastafarianism), and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence.”
In the end, this entire “debate” is a sham – but an important sham with potentially dire consequences – designed by fundamentalists to ensure their brand of religious views will dominate the public sphere.
This isn’t even an atheist debate. Millions of Christians in this country believe that our species evolved, that the earth is not 6,000 years old, that the Big Bang theory is a plausible explanation to the origin of the universe — after all, what caused the Big Bang if not God?
This is however, a constitutional issue – this is about the government and public-funded institutions providing preference to a single world-view at the expense of the minority view. It discounts and disrespects all minority religious beliefs (or non-beliefs).
This is not to imply that people do not have the right to believe in their religious-based creation mythologies. Sunday schools, churches, bible studies abound – these are the appropriate spheres for exploring these theological questions – not in the public school science laboratories — and that includes the study of FSM DNA, blessed be his noodly appendage. R’amen