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for people who care about the West

Belief versus science

  HCN’s recent cover story on the fate of the Anasazi was both mystical and informative — mystical because it was peppered with references to the imagination (HCN, 10/3/05: Out of the Four Corners). The article attributed archaeologist Susan Ryan with gaining a knowledge that "was too intimate and instinctual" to fit within the confines of her profession.

Just a few pages further, biologist Pepper Trail’s essay talked about how the evolution versus intelligent design debate threatens to convert our society from a reality-based one into a belief-based one. Trail’s thesis seems to be that our society cannot afford to have our understanding of reality governed by what we choose to believe; it must be informed by factual evidence and testable hypotheses — in short, by science.

Why is it permissible for Susan Ryan to hold and propagate her beliefs, but not permissible for intelligent design advocates to do the same?

Ken Frederick
Boise, Idaho