Monday, January 10, 2005

80 years later, nothing has changed

This year will be the 80th anniversary of the Scopes Monkey Trial. As this anniversary approaches this summer, Salon.com has a detailed report on how the Dover Board of Education in Pennsylvania has mandated the teaching of intelligent design in its schools (you'll need to watch a brief commercial to read the article--just hit the "Free Day Pass" button). I had heard about it before but had not until now read about it in such detail. I find it utterly depressing that apparently nothing has changed in this country in the 80 years or so since the Scopes Trial that religious fundamentalists are foisting their religion on. If a religion as conservative as the Catholic Church can find a way to accept evolution (Pope John Paul II has explicitly said-albeit grudgingly-that evolution is not incompatible with Church doctrine, although he did piss off Catholic fundamentalists by doing so), why is it that in the U.S. so many people can't differentiate religion from science?

Intelligent design is just another means of disguising creationism to make it sound a little less religious, but it still relies upon the assumption that there is a higher being guiding evolution. One does not have to be an atheist or agnostic to see how intelligent design is religion, rather than science. (Although I might be approaching borderline agnosticism, I am definitely not an atheist. However, even when my level of belief was higher, I could still see the difference between religion disguised as science and actual science.) Science requires testable, falsifiable hypotheses. Intelligent design contains none, as there is no way of ever proving or (more importantly) of disproving the existence of this "higher" force that is supposedly guiding evolution. (Just as an intelligent design advocate what piece of evidence it would take to prove intelligent design false, and you'll see what I mean.) Intelligent design starts with a hypothesis and then seeks to line up evidence to support it, rather than being a hypothesis that derives from scientific observation and experimentation and then can be tested. Belief in such a higher being or force is a matter of faith, not science, and should not be passed off as science. Teaching intelligent design is just another way for fundamentalists to force public schools to teach children their specific religious beliefs, which are not even shared by all (or probably even most) Christians.

4 example(s) of insolence returned:


At 1/10/2005 3:59 PM, Blogger Robin said...

Just as an intelligent design advocate what piece of evidence it would take to prove intelligent design false, and you'll see what I mean.So, Orac - what piece of evidence would it take to prove modern Darwinism false?

;-)

 

At 1/10/2005 5:19 PM, Blogger Orac said...

Cute.

Try:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

in which Dr. Theobald lists not one, but many, pieces of evidence that, if found, could potentially falsify Darwinian evolution. But be warned. It's long and detailed.

One example (of many): If the sediments of the earth contained a composition of species very similar to modern life as far back as we can see in the sequential layers, that would be powerful evidence against evolution.

 

At 4/19/2005 3:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Orac you are so misguided - the devil put all those fossils at the different sediment levels in order to create the confusion that now reigns. As more and more people succumb to the blasphemy, the anti-Christ grows stronger. Shame on you

Have you seen this - pretty damn funny if you ask me
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?
articleID=000E555C-4387-1237-
81CB83414B7FFE9F&sc=I100322

and if the link doesn't work - April 1 issue of Scientific American Editorial

 

At 4/19/2005 3:24 AM, Blogger Orac said...

Yeah, I saw the article. It was hilarious. I was going to mention it in the blog, but so many other bloggers had beaten me to the punch that I decided not to.

 

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