Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Science vs. Intelligent Design

The Scopes case has been dragged back from the dead, as the proponents of Intelligent Design are brought to court by the ACLU to prevent the "crappification" of American high school science.

Crappification is a word of my own invention, but seeing as I described ID as bullshit a few weeks back, I think it fits with my general view of the argument.

Know this case isn't being heard in Shitsville or Lynchburg in the South, it's centering on the little Pennsylvanian town of Dover...so even the blue states are not immune to the creeping hand of southern fundamentalism. Which worries me, quite frankly.

The Irish Times includes a good description of ID in its article on the subject (which is open on the table beside me).

"...certain elements of life such as cell structure are best explained by an intelligent cause."

And many ID supporters will point out that at not stage does the theory mention any god, much less the Christian one.

But in fairness, you are clearly meant to infer from their "science" that there is an otherworldly force (not aliens..) responsible for creation. And I wonder who the average American kid is going to attribute that to.

Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Nooo....I think they might lay responsibility (blame) at the feet of the Christian God.

Which is effectively teaching religion in school. So we can all start ignoring the US Constitution, starting from now.

And of course the debate is hardly going as secularly as some ID proponents would like. It's easier to sell this crap when you insist that it's not creationism-by-another-name.

"Nearly 2,000 years ago, someone died on a cross for us... Shouldn't we have the courage to stand up for Him?"-Dover Area School Board member William Buckingham

Yeah, that's religion.

The trial began yesterday over the board's decision last month that schoolkids should be taught about the flaws in Darwinian theory and the beliefs inherent to Intelligent Design.

Em...will they be givne a chance to explore the holes in ID too?

Such as...the lack of evidence? A lack of science? A lack of any credible support from the scientific community?

I am all for pupils being taught that there are flaws in Evolution Theory, it is only a theory.
But it must be the position of the science teacher and school that Darwinianism is the only nearly universal belief on the creation and advancement of life in the universe-so far.

It must be presented to students as fact, or as close to it as possible.

Otherwise the poor bastards will be turning in term papers on God flitting about the world, designing cell walls and mitochondriae. And it's just not true.

There is a difference between over a century and a half of evidence built up through observation and extrapolation of facts based on experiments carried out in laboratories and the field, and a cobbled together psuedo-science based more on the pages of Genesis than any scientific journal or school of thought.

On a similar note, the Irish Times mentions that there is a Creationist Science Park opening in Kentucky.

Among its many attractions are animatronic dinosaurs that tie in the with the current biblical belief that baby dinos rode in Noah's ark, and that before the Original Sin of Adam and Eve, all creatures-T Rex included-were vegetarian.

There are few days on which I am more glad than I am right now that I am not an American, and that the school curriculum here is not controlled or challenged by religious orthodoxy. Any school in Ireland that attempted to teach alternatives to Evolution would find itself in boiling hot water with the Department of Education, the public and the pupils' parents.
I am genuinely worried about the real phenomenon of the "dumbing down of America". Most US high school students are woefully ignorant of the outside world.
If ID wins in Pennsylvania, they may become equally ignorant of the natural world.


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