Rebuttal to the Columbus Dispatch Article Titled,
 "Religion Must Remain Separate from Science".

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  In a feeble attempt to manufacture reasons why Intelligent Design should not be taught in public schools, the Columbus Dispatch has achieved a new low by printing the article by Steve Rissing titled, "Religion must remain separate from Science" (Dispatch Insight column 1/20/02). Since the teaching of Intelligent Design has nothing to do with religion, Rissing’s principle argument is irrelevant. However, the falsehoods perpetrated in his writing warrants further discussion.

The sole purpose of Rissing’s article is to chronicle the demise of scientific achievements in Islamic countries and then place all the blame on religion. He attempts to justify this bankrupt position by misquoting an article published in the Atlantic Monthly by Bernard Lewis. Contrary to statements made by Rissing, Lewis never blames the collapse of Islamic Science on the "retention of old ways… the inflexibility of the Islamic clergy". Nor does Lewis ever state he believes "a principal cause for Western progress is the separation of church and state and the creation of a civil society governed by secular laws." While Lewis invokes both of these statements as a favored position embraced by certain modernists and reformers when debating the issue of Middle East decline, he never asserts this view as correct.

Actually, Lewis affirms, "if they abandon grievance and victimhood, settle differences, and join their talents, energies, and resources in a common creative endeavor, they can once again make the Middle East, in modern times as it was in antiquity and in the Middle ages…." He further poses in a separate article, "If Islam is an obstacle to freedom, to science, to economic development, how is it that Muslim society in the past was a pioneer in all three?". It would seem that Lewis believes the answer to the Middle Eastern problem does not lie with separating science from religion as Rissing asserts, but to work together and quit creating a society of people who blame their failures on someone else.

After evaluating the Atlantic Monthly article in a more intelligent manner, one concludes it is not Bernard Lewis who believes that religion is the principal source for decline of Islamic science, but only a Dispatch columnist demonstrating a familiar bias and attempting to coerce his radical views on others. Maybe if Western universities would return to the primary focus of teaching students instead of promoting their own liberal agenda, the educational system as a whole would be better off.

Patrick Young, Ph.D.
Canal Winchester, Ohio 

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