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ABDUL-HAKIM SHABAZZ: Why not consider 'intelligent designers'?

November 7, 2005

I should fully disclose my religious beliefs before going any further. I was raised Islamic, but have become more agnostic in my older age. So I guess that means I still pray five times a day, but I'm not quite sure when to do it or what direction to face. I find it necessary to bring this up because I am about to tread into the waters of religion and politics, in other words, into "intelligent design."

Intelligent design is a theory that says the universe is so complex there had to be a guiding force behind it. Those who support creationism say it is a viable alternative to evolution. Those who back the evolution theory say intelligent design is just a sneaky way to get God into the classroom and teach religion in a place it doesn't belong. Kansas, as well as several other places, has adopted it into its curriculum. Even Hamilton Southeastern Schools have been threatened with litigation if they don't teach it. Granted, the people making the threats don't live in the school district or pay property taxes that support it, but they want input in the way the schools are run. But that's another issue for another day.

Proponents of intelligent design say it deserves a chance to be taught in the class, alongside evolution. They argue those who want to keep it out are as closed-minded as those who wanted to keep evolution out of the schools in the early part of the 20th century.

While I am skeptical of the intelligent design crowd and tend to think someone is trying to pull a religious fast one on the public, I do think they are correct when they say the theory should be taught alongside evolution. However, just to prove they aren't trying to shove the Son of Man down everyone's throats, I think they should look at all the different theories of intelligent design.

While intelligent design supporters say the universe is so complex it had to be guided by some intelligent force, I go one step further. I say the universe is so complicated it would take more than one individual to keep it running smoothly. Heresy, you say. I have history to back me up on this one.

For example, ancient civilizations-the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Mayans-all had pantheons of gods who were responsible for running creation, whether it was Zeus or Osiris in heaven or Pluto or Seth in the underworld. Sikhs believe the universe was formed by one creator, while Buddhists say everything sort of recycles itself, so there is no one creator per se, just a number of attempts to get it right. A number of Native American cultures have believed in spirits guiding the forces of nature. And let us not forget pagans, druids and Wiccans, who all look to nature as the supreme power in the universe.

And who's to say the monotheistic faiths (Islam, Judaism, Christianity) got it right in the first place? The universe is pretty big, at least 100 billion galaxies, with 100 billion stars apiece, with several million probably capable of supporting life as we know and don't know it. That's a lot of stuff to keep track of. And don't even get me started on alternate realities, parallel worlds of existence and other planes of reality. Hey, how do you know they don't exist? Even in the big three faiths, God has angels to help him or her run things.

The point of all this is not to denigrate the intelligent design crowd. However, if there is a lawsuit and Hamilton County Southeastern schools are forced to teach intelligent design, all I can say is I hope they include my concept on intelligent designers in the curriculum. Why not? As they used to say in ancient Mesopotamia, the gods are on my side, or at least I hope one of them is.



Shabazz is the morning show host on WXNT-AM 1430 and an attorney. His column appears monthly. He can be reached by e-mail at ashabazz@ibj.com.
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