Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Why Dover Interests Me

I generally refrain from getting into the evolution-creation thing, because so many people do it and a lot of the commentators have a more thorough and current eduction on the subject than I do.  It occurs to me, though, that there is one aspect of this that I haven't seen anyone else comment upon.

The Editor & Publisher, ("America's Oldest Journal Covering the Newspaper Industry"), has a short article on the role of the local newspapers in the Dover creationism/ID case.  They quote Margaret Talbot of the New Yorker:
One consistent division I noticed, and that I wrote about, was between people who read and trusted the very good local newspapers [nearby York has two, which is pretty unusual for a small American city these days] and those who just didn't trust them. The plaintiffs were the newspaper readers; the pro-intelligent-design school-board people were the newspaper rejecters.
The two local papers she refers to can be found here: The York Dispatch, The York Daily Record.

Reading the local articles on the subject, it is clear that the issue stirred up a lot of emotional intensity in the community, as well as in the editorial offices of the papers, and the courtroom itself.  I would like to know why the subject is so provocative for such a large proportion of people.  

I know why is is provocative for me, but I doubt many people share my view on it.  I think it is worrisome because I think that the adoption of ID teaching in the schools would move us more vulnerable to a highly repressive form of government.  In fact, I am more worried about ID than I am about creationism.  But I doubt that that is what makes this subject provocative on a near-universal level.

Ms. Talbot's assertion of an association between newspaper readership and a person's pro/anti evolution stance may be a clue to this, but if so, it is not entirely clear why it is important.  

In case  you are wondering, I am not going to end this post with some kind of conclusion.  I wrote it because I have this nagging intuitive sense that it is important somehow, and the most effective way I know of, to let that intuition work the way I want it to, is to write about it.