Saturday, August 20, 2005

Intelligent what?

With the current Intelligent Design push in our country (mostly in the south/midwest) various politicians have come out in favor of teaching a baseless theory to our youth. The most recent one is Bill Frist, of whom we were so proud for supporting Stem Cell research. Personally, if I didn't find the whole idea laughable, I'd be more offended at the way the Christian right is attacking science. There was a positively excellent piece in The New Republic (if long) detailing why Intelligent Design was just another face for the push for creationism, and a critique of its supposedly "new" ideas.
[retired professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley and one of the most prominent spokespersons for ID] Johnson was even more explicit in 1999 in remarks to a conference on "Reclaiming America for Christ." Rob Boston reported Johnson's remarks in Church & State magazine:

Johnson calls his movement "The Wedge." The objective, he said, is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism v. evolution to the existence of God v. the nonexistence of God. From there people are introduced to "the truth" of the Bible and then "the question of sin" and finally "introduced to Jesus."
While that was excellent, I more appreciated the article for pointing out Intelligent Design's flaws, and why there was controversy at all.
To teach that a scientific theory is equivalent to a "guess" or a "hunch" is deeply misleading, and to assert that "evolution is a theory, not a fact" is simply false. And why should evolution, alone among scientific theories, be singled out with the caveat "This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered"? Why haven't school boards put similar warnings in physics textbooks, noting that gravity and electrons are only theories, not facts, and should be critically considered? After all, nobody has ever seen gravity or an electron. The reason that evolution stands alone is clear: other scientific theories do not offend religious sensibilities.

And now, your moment of Zen, from TheOnion:
Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory"

If it weren't for cynicism and sarcasm, I would be very depressed indeed.


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