I’m a big fan of the Telic Thoughts blog, and I would encourage UD readers to visit TT.
IOW [in other words], if it’s unconstitutional for students to be informed that science doesn’t know how life began, or that many of life’s forms and functions apparently don’t arise by chance, or that the appearance of design in nature might not be illusion, then they can’t be informed that science makes deities superfluous, that biologists are mostly metaphysical materialists who do not believe there is creative agency, or (as Dawkins insists) science ‘proves’ there are no deities.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard this put better. The theme of the TT thread was defining “religion” and debating whether or not atheism qualifies as a religion.
Phil Johnson stresses the importance of clearly defining terms, which is why he rarely refers to “evolution” (which can mean many things) in his lectures, but specifies precisely the aspect, claim, or connotation of the term that he is addressing (e.g., the blind-watchmaker thesis).
In this vein of thought, Johnson has made an interesting observation about the term “religion.” In a lecture here, he comments that he really doesn’t like the term “religion,” since it suggests that he has a religion and Richard Dawkins, for example, doesn’t. Johnson prefers (I paraphrase from my creative memory, and Phil calls it a somewhat awkward formulation, but you get the point) “answers to fundamental questions about where we came from, where we are going, and our place in the grand scheme of things” to the term “religion.”
In Johnson’s formulation, which I like, atheism/materialism, and its creation story, Darwinism, serve to answer these questions. My editorial comment is that the answers provided by this “religion” represent inescapable philosophical nihilism:
Where we came from: Chance and necessity.
Where we are going: Eternal oblivion.
Our place in the grand scheme of things: There is no grand scheme of things.