Friday, May 13, 2005

Creationism in Kansas--again

I don't understand Kansas. Having once before given itself a black eye in 1999 by proposing eliminating the teaching of evolution in 1999, why on earth was it up for a second round? And this evolution trial is such a farce that it's hard to understand why even intelligent design (ID) advocates would have thought it was a good idea.

There's a nice summary of the trial and how ID advocates have been trying to use evolution as a "wedge" to get religion taught as science at An example of ID advocate strategy:
A principal aim of the creationists is to scrub the definition of "science" from Kansas classrooms -- now described as "human activity of systematically seeking natural explanations" for phenomena -- and to replace it with a more general definition lacking the words "natural explanations." If that sounds like an innocuous change -- well, that's the aim. By removing the notion of "natural explanations" as part of science, the creationists aim to give religion a foothold in the classroom, in the name of scientific balance.
Indeed. If we're not going to insist on natural explanations in science, then why not apply "intelligence" as an explanation behind every phenomenon in science. But there is one tactic that may work against ID advocates:
"The mainstream religious community, the business world, the scientific community, they haven't always taken this as a serious threat, but they're starting to," says Krebs. "We're seeing a much greater level of concern than we had in 1999." After all, the notion that bad science education can lead to fewer jobs in the future is an argument almost everyone can follow -- even if they don't want to read a bunch of technical stuff about science.
I've thought that all along. Argue it as an economic and competitiveness issue. As the cartoon I linked to pointed out, the Chinese and Indians love it when we teach our childrens probably like it when we teach our children bad science. They want their future jobs.

Oh, wait. Maybe that's the idea.

2 example(s) of insolence returned:

At 5/13/2005 3:42 PM, Anonymous Vanessa said...

I'm still unable to see why religion would support ID.

You can't argue based on the theory of evolution that God doesn't exist. God could have set the stage for all I know and then let nature take its course, knowing it would end with the evolution of species and eventually intelligent human beings. I can't disprove God with evolution.
The only point of 'concern' would be disproving the literal interpretation of Genesis, but 'modern' ID disproves that anyway by abandoning the theory of a "young earth".

With "modern" ID on the other hand, our 'designer' doesn't have to be God necessarily.
Christianity stands or falls on the premise that God himself took some kind of action that directly led to our being here now (we're "children of God"). But by establishing as fact/science that we could be here as a result of some "higher being" that isn't God, the whole deck of card comes crashing down because you can use ID to disprove God.

I'd still put my vote in on fair play. If children need to be taught that evolution is merely a theory, then when teaching ID, teachers should be required to stress the fact that ID in no way says that we were created by God at all.
With that completely fair requirement, they'd all regain their common sense rather quickly and back off.


At 5/13/2005 11:01 PM, Blogger Orac said...

I'm afraid your solution may be too idealistic. ID advocates would probably be perfectly happy with the disclaimer that ID doesn't necessarily endorse the concept that we were created by God. (Don't throw me in that thar briar patch, they'd be saying.) They'd promote it with a wink and a nod, saying that ID doesn't endorse our being created by God when in fact their idea of ID implies exactly that and it is clear that that's what ID means.


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