I've been asked on several occasions where I stand on teaching "intelligent design vs. evolution" in our public classrooms. Until now, I've put it off for a number of reasons.

First, I've had more important things to do like trying to keep gas in my car.. And for some reason, I'm more concerned that our kids learn to read, write, do math, speak intelligently and hopefully through some process of basic observation with overtones of self respect to learn to wear their pants above their butts.

Second, I just don't have what I believe is a strong answer for either side. Life is full of mystery. I still marvel at how a bird can make an intricate nest with no hands, and I have yet to master a bait caster reel with both hands, but ironically I can make a nice bird nest with the fishing line on one of them.

But, I have pondered some things relative to this issue.

Let me start with this analogy. Two fisherman were sitting in their boat down on the Ochlocknee River. A raccoon came strolling out on a log that extended by the boat

Instinctively, one of the fishermen grabbed up his dip net and snared the creature. The raccoon went wild knocking stuff out of the boat, including one of the fishermen, and generally disrupting their immediate portion of the cosmos.

One fisherman looked at the other and said, "Okay, you've caught him. Now whatcha gonna do with him?"

If the courts say that schools can teach "intelligent ," I think you will have a raccoon in a dip net in a boat. And neither religion nor science will be served.

Intelligent design can mean so many things. It can mean that a civilization in another galaxy -- a far advanced civilization -- planted our seeds here and from afar have been watching us play baseball, make milkshakes and roast wieners and kill each other on a regular basis.

Now that kind of "intelligent design" naturally is going to cause an uproar from those folks whose ultimate goal is to have the Judaeo-Christian faith taught. And besides, who would teach this perspective -- a scientist, a comic book editor, or a combatant from the Jerry Springer Show?

Then, let's take the position that God, in His infinite wisdom, did literally what Genesis describes And we set out to teach this in schools which, of course, would be a violation of the Constitution.

But should it happen, who's going to teach this? A Baptist, a Methodist, a Presbyterian, the Church of God, the Church of Christ, a Jew, the Mormons? Heck, we Baptists can't even agree on whether we should dance or not. And what if one of those snake handlers demands equal time on this?

And then we come to the very perception of God. What will a Muslim or a Buddhist say to this?

Every civilization, no matter how primitive, has learned to make babies, to make booze and they've all experienced some anxiety in their perceptions of how we got here and where we are going when we leave. They have marveled at fire and the stars and much in-between.

There are scientists who are devout believers in God. There are scientists who are agnostics and atheists. Some scientists like a good football game and some see it as man's inherit need for combat -- a legal way to express aggressiveness.

Likewise some devout believers are fascinated by modern science, especially when they need an organ transplant or when a satellite feed brings them a football game played in Japan.

The bottom line for me is, let the churches teach about faith and let the schools teach about fossils, with an understanding that in this life much mystery will always be with us. Even our Holy Bible is filled with mystery.

And remember this: If you catch a raccoon in a dip net, you could find yourself up the creek without a paddle. Literally.

(Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545: E-mail: dwain.walden@gaflnews.com)

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