Is Science a Religion? No, it is Science

From “The Maddow Blog:”

A Kansas-based group (COPE) that “promotes the religious rights of parents, children, and taxpayers” is challenging the state’s science standards because they include the teaching of evolution, which the group claims is a religion and therefore should be excluded from science class.

This is a new tactic by the religious-right to throw the United States in to our own little dark ages by confusing terminology and definitions; secular versus sectarian, religion versus science. Kansas seems to be a hotbed of religious weirdoes from the Westboro Baptist Church (the people who brought you “God Hats Fags”) to secularism is a religion.

To brighten up the discussion is the law suit filed by COPE. Here is the summary of the September 26, 2013 filing.

The Plaintiffs, consisting of students, parents and Kansas resident taxpayers, and a representative organization, complain that the adoption by the Defendant State Board of Education on June 11, 2013 of Next Generation Science Standards, dated April 2013 (the Standards; ) and the related Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas, (2012; (, incorporated therein by reference (the “Framework” with the Framework and Standards referred to herein as the “F&S”) will have the effect of causing Kansas public schools to establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview (the “Worldview”) in violation of the Establishment, Free Exercise, and Speech Clauses of the First Amendment, and the Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment.

Here is where I am having a problem. The suit claims that the state Board of Education will be promoting a “non-theistic religious worldview.” And that, my friends, is a true oxymoron.

By definition, science does not seek answers through a supernatural being or entity. Science does seek answers through research, nature and other means that are verifiable and repeatable. Science also admits that we do not have all the answers – yet. We do not know the singular event that caused the first signs of life on this planet, but we have a good idea what may have happened and it was not a god’s breath or the suckling from a wolf or other mythological means. It was a chemical reaction most likely started with a bolt of energy.

To justify its position, COPE uses a 1961 definition of “religion” from the Supreme Court, that, “By its nature, religion – in the comprehensive sense in which the Constitution uses that word – is an aspect of human thought and action which profoundly relates the life of man to the world in which he lives.” However, McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420, 461 (1961) dealt with Maryland Blue Laws and Justice Frankfurter’s opinion was the secondary opinion by the court.

Religions, by definition, also must have a dogma and a belief in a mythology or supernatural entity to explain the unexplainable. COPE seems to agree with this statement in their suit.

“The orthodoxy, called methodological naturalism or scientific materialism, holds that explanations of the cause and nature of natural phenomena may only use natural, material or mechanistic causes, and must assume that, supernatural and teleological or design conceptions of nature are invalid (the “Orthodoxy”).”

There is nothing wrong with this statement. Nor is the asking “students … to… identify mysteries that have not been answered by science…” It is fortunate that religions, the belief in a supernatural being or entity to explain the unexplainable, fails the scientific method of proof.

One term I find most fascinating is “materialism” as in “scientific materialism.” The term is not defined in the filing, so a little research was needed.

Scientific materialism is “scientific materialism is the belief that physical reality, as made available to the natural sciences… [Haught 2010, pg. 48].” Science is not a religion based on this definition since religion involves faith in unseen and supernatural entities.

COPE is continuing the efforts to wage war against science, to invoke God and religion into our school systems, and to bring us back to the dark ages. If that happens, any advantage the United States has in the sciences, whatever foothold we have as a leader in education, will be lost forever.


About David Rosman

David is the winner of the Missouri Press Foundation's "Best Columnist" in 2013 (First Place) and 2014 (Second Place), the 2016 Harold Riback Award for excellence in writing, and the winner of the 2007 Interactive Media Award for excellence in editing.
This entry was posted in Christian Right, Church and State, Church/State Separation, Evolution, First Amendment, Politics, politics, Religious, Religious-Right, War on Religion and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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