Charles Krauthammer

WASHINGTON -- Because every few years this country, in its infinite tolerance, insists on hearing yet another appeal of the Scopes monkey trial, I feel obliged to point out what would otherwise be superfluous -- that the two greatest scientists in the history of our species were Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, and they were both religious.

     Newton's religiosity was traditional. He was a staunch believer in Christianity and member of the Church of England. Einstein's was a more diffuse belief in a deity who set the rules for everything that occurs in the universe.

     Neither saw science as an enemy of religion. On the contrary. ``He believed he was doing God's work,'' wrote James Gleick in his recent biography of Newton. Einstein saw his entire vocation -- understanding the workings of the universe -- as an attempt to understand the mind of God.

     Not a crude and willful God who pushes and pulls and does things according to whim. Newton was trying to supplant the view that first believed the sun's motion around the earth was the work of Apollo and his chariot, and later believed it was a complicated system of cycles and epicycles, one tacked on upon the other every time some wobble in the orbit of a planet was found. Newton's God was not at all so crude. The laws of his universe were so simple, so elegant, so economical, and therefore so beautiful that they could only be divine.

     Which brings us to Dover (Pa.), Pat Robertson, the Kansas State Board of Education and a fight over evolution that is so anachronistic and retrograde as to be a national embarrassment.

     Dover distinguished itself this Election Day by throwing out all eight members of its school board who tried to impose ``intelligent design'' -- today's tarted-up version of creationism -- on the biology curriculum. Pat Robertson then called down the wrath of God upon the good people of Dover for voting ``God out of your city.'' Meanwhile in Kansas, the school board did a reverse Dover, mandating the teaching of skepticism about evolution and forcing intelligent design into the statewide biology curriculum.

Charles Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.

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