The unerring source

A bit of good news for once – the US Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal by the Association of Christian Schools International against the University of California for refusing to grant college-prep credit for courses with religious viewpoints. UC says the schools use textbooks that replace science with the Bible.

So…there’s a problem with that? But science and religion are supposed to be in harmony, aren’t they? So why is it a problem if schools use textbooks that replace science with the Bible?

Oh don’t be silly, the religion&science people snap; you know perfectly well we don’t mean, when we say religion&science go together like ham&eggs, that the Bible should be used as a biology textbook. We mean the right kind of religion, not the wrong kind.

Yes, we snap back, but our claim is that that distinction is neither so clear nor so easy to maintain as you like to claim. Our claim is that the distinction that matters in this context is the one between science on the one hand and religion on the other, not the one between biblical religion on the one hand and liberal religion ‘n’ science on the other.

The association’s 800 high schools in California teach “standard course content” and “add a religious viewpoint in each subject … as an integral part of their reason for existence,” the group’s lawyers said in their Supreme Court appeal.

But a federal judge said experts testifying for the university refuted those claims in reviewing textbooks.

Biology texts, one professor concluded, teach students to reject any scientific evidence that contradicted the Bible. A history text declared the Bible to be the “unerring source for analysis” of past events, in the view of another expert…

See? That’s where the conflict is, and there is no reliable, consistent way to stipulate a brand of religion that never does that – that never rejects scientific evidence that contradicts a particular religious belief – in such a way that religion and science can be made to seem inherently and entirely not-in-conflict.

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