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Evo-Zax and Intelli-Zax: Lessons of Dr. Seuss

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The debate over evolution really makes me laugh. I know, there is nothing funny about the fight, but they remind me of the story of the Zax.

For those who may not know it, it tells the story of a North-bound Zax and a South-bound Zax. By some freak of luck, they both happen to be walking on the same imaginary line and eventually meet up with each other.

The North-bound Zax, being a North-bound Zax, cannot go any other way and waits for the other Zax to move. The other Zax is a South-bound Zax and cannot move out of the way. He only moves south. Each Zax demands the other move, and the other refuses. They begin to brag about how stubborn they are and how they will never move.

The story ends with the two Zax still standing in the same place, with a highway built over them. The moral of the story to me was that the world will pass you by if you stubbornly stick to following only your way.

Sadly, the Zax are still alive and well in the world today. The North-bound Zax is named “Evolution” and the South-bound Zax is called “Intelligent Design.” Evolution denies any chance of something being behind life. They refuse to move in any other direction. The Intelligent Design is equally as stubborn in their beliefs. The chance they could have come from monkeys millions of years ago is an insult to them and thier beliefs.

Well, the two Zax have met recently and the path they were on, progress, has stalled. Instead of being together on teaching our kids, we are suing each other back and forth over what to teach them. The highways are being built around us.

I am not going to get into which is right or which I believe. I am neither a scientist nor a theologian. I am going to say that both rely heavily on theory and belief to justify themselves. The absolute inability of each side to admit there is the possibility that the other side could be right has stopped all progress. We are so busy fighting over it now that we have only succeeded in dividing ourselves into yet two more camps.

While not getting into my beliefs on the subject, I do have a solution that, if both Zax are willing to take a step aside, we can all move forward again. The solution is so simple, so easy, that it will be unpopular simply out of the shame those in power will feel over not thinking of it themselves.

Before I tell my solution, ask yourself this very important question: do you really think “they” will accept a solution that ends their ability to divide us?

Okay, the solution is to add a new class in school. Have this class taught every year starting in, say, sixth grade. This class will be something to the effect of “Applied Philosophy” (AP class). We have so many classes that teach the kids what to think, we don’t offer them any on how to apply what they have learned. This would be the class for that. Science class teaches that things evolve. When the question of what started it all comes up, the teacher answers with three very simple honest words: We don’t know. The AP class would be where the children get to discuss and debate the merits of evolution versus what they have learned elsewhere. The teacher in the class would act more as a moderator than an instructor.
Pope and Darwin
The Zax stood there, face to face for all time. Each one had seen what the other wanted to see, but they never shared their information. They never learned from each other's experience. Instead, they just stood there and let time move on, not gaining, not growing. Society grew around them and passed them, but they were stuck.

If the North-bound Zax is Evolution and the South-bound Zax is Intelligent Design, then the path they are on is America and the highway built around them is the rest of the world passing us by. Time we reread our Dr. Seuss, I think.

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About Brad Schader

  • Rick

    Your idea is not a new one, but it is a good one. In fact, most scientists are not against teaching ID – they are against teaching it in a SCIENCE class. ID is NOT science.

    Evolution is more than theory. It has faced nearly 150 years of experimentation, criticism and study, and its core principals have stood up to every legitimate test.

    By the way – the two pictures above? Not really Northbound and Southbound Zaxes. The Catholic Church, on several occasions, has described the theory of evolution as “one of the very great works of intellectual history.” Maybe you need a picture of Dobson up there next to Darwin.

  • I did not mean to offend any faith. I was trying hard to find a picture that had Darwin and something that represented G-d to display the war between science and faith. I did not mean to seem like I was attacking Catholics. That was not my intent. I should have found a better picture. For that, I am sorry.
    I can see the implication now.

  • charles fisenne

    Close but no bullseye. Class “Search for Wisdom” would be much better and cover a great number of topics as: moderation, self control, gambling sex, virtues idealism, patriotism, God. Intelligent Design, etc

  • That is a great name as well. Much like gay marriage, I don’t care what it is called. Let’s get it done first, worry about its name second.

  • Ted Herrlich

    I have to disagree on one comment as evidenced by the Dover court case. Judge Jones said, and I am paraphrasing to avoid going through all 139 pages of the decision to find his quote, Intelligent Design may be correct, but as of yet has not proved itself to be science.

    The North-bound Zax isn’t trying to impeed the South-bound Zax as much as the South-bound Zax deliberatly jumps in the North-bound Zax’es face. Science ignored ID for years and would still prefer to ignore it, in the same way they ignored what was being taught in non-secular organizations. I remember my first science teacher (Father Hart) who said “If you want to believe man and dinosaurs co-existed, then you need to watch less Flintstones.” Science ignored it because it wasn’t science. The stubborness Science is showing now is a direct result of the South-bound Zax insisting that it be taught as a scientific theory, chops Judge Jones agreed it hasn’t earned!

    Science belongs in science class and ID isn’t scinece (Yet!). Prove it and present those proofs in scientific publications for peer review. Face the music of proving your theory and then it will be welcome in science class. But fail to do this and ID will always be a footnote in a philosophy class or a joke in biology class.