Last week’s guest column in the Rockwall County Herald-Banner troubled me deeply because the author is an attorney and holds a seat on the City Council.

Although it would be inappropriate, the author could leverage his legal training and elected position to impose his personal views in our community. The final sentence of his column, stated about intelligent design: “And that theory (intelligent design) is, at this stage of our existence, every bit as provable as Darwin’s (theory of evolution).”

Readers should carefully consider the content of that column as one person’s opinion. We are all entitled to our opinions; however, facts are facts. The author is neither a trained scientist, nor is he a space professional.

In any discussion of science versus faith, we must be able to distinguish one from the other and not confuse the two. Below are the two primary errors in the author’s logic in last weeks’ guest column.

Error #1: The most misleading idea promoted in the column is found in its final sentence, that intelligent design is a theory. Intelligent design is not an accepted, tested theory, sufficient to explain the existence of the current universe.

In Webster’s dictionary, there are several definitions of “theory.” Although the range of definitions varies, they all equate a theory with a body of knowledge based on scientifically discernable truths. If one logically traces intelligent design to its origins, there is a fundamental breakdown where we “give up” trying to explain our origins, proclaiming things are just too complex to be understood.

Error #2: By implication, the author states that teaching intelligent design as an alternative theory to evolution does not favor one religion over another, or favor religion over non-religion.

The fact is that teachers in the Rockwall Independent School District are some of the finest I have seen in the world. However, they have not been prepared to effectively present intelligent design, as they are not prepared to address the complexities of the inflationary model of the universe. If we put teachers in the position of trying to teach intelligent design while avoiding a theistic answer and invoking religion, they will be put in an extremely compromising position as they are being asked to teach about religion in a public school.

My basis for making this assertion is that I have spent many hours teaching space in Rockwall’s science classes as a trained NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador. The teachers welcome me with open arms and frequently ask as many questions as their students. Perhaps the guest columnist should consider spending some volunteer time in the classroom learning about what it takes to teach our students before implying that intelligent design can be taught rationally.

The bottom line: In addition to thinking about my family, space, science, defending America and practicing astronomy, I pray every day to the Lord. I believe in Jesus Christ and the resurrection. These are my faith beliefs, matters of my heart and spirit. I read the Bible cover to cover during that lonely year away from my wife and kids while in Korea flying surveillance missions for America’s Army. I believe my parents are in heaven to the depths of my heart. I believe I have seen Satan at work in war-torn regions of Eastern Europe, Kuwait, and Iraq.

None of my faith beliefs exclude my understanding of science. I know that the essential elements of life (carbon, hydrogen, etc.) have been found in the tail of comets left over from the formation of our sun in our solar system. I know that we live on an incredibly typical star that resembles 200 billion others in our Milky Way galaxy and that there are billions of other galaxies, each with billions of stars in our universe. I know where life takes hold, life will thrive, grow, and evolve.

Beware the people who unintentionally confuse or intentionally mislead others about faith and science about knowledge versus faith. Intelligent design is faith-based. As such, it has no business being taught in our schools.

Twenty-plus years ago, when I was being trained how to be a good Army officer, I was taught to stand up for what is right even at the risk of being unpopular. The facts I have just pointed out may be unpopular here in Rockwall based on our demographic, but the facts are the facts and they stand on their own merit. Please consider the difference between faith and science and what it means in relation to the separation of church and state.

I counseled with a close friend, ordained minister and astronomy colleague who used to pastor a big church in Dallas. Here’s what he had to say about the guest column:

“I don’t know where this guy got his information that ‘intelligent design’ is just as provable as evolution, but it was most certainly not from a reputable paleontologist or other earth scientist. You know how I feel about intelligent design. I embrace it as a matter of faith but I would no more try to prove it than I would try to prove the existence of God. For thousands of years, philosophers have tried to ‘prove’ God.

“In the end, all of their trains of logic arrive at the same chasm that can only be bridged by an act of faith. The same is true of intelligent design. At some point in the argument, the proponents will come to a place where facts fail, and they will ask that we just go ahead and accept their data. Worst kind of science and the poorest kind of philosophy if they do not admit that all their manipulations of premises have brought them to a dead end.”

Max Corneau is a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador, was the first fully qualified Army Reserve Space Operations Officer and currently Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve. He is an avid amateur astronomer and member of the Texas Astronomical Society and the Astronomical League.

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