Saturday, November 19, 2005

Charles Krauthhammer tells it like it is

Even conservative stalwarts are starting to recognize "intelligent design" creationism for what it is, in this case, Charles Krauthammer:
Let's be clear. Intelligent design may be interesting as theology, but as science it is a fraud. It is a self-enclosed, tautological "theory" whose only holding is that when there are gaps in some area of scientific knowledge -- in this case, evolution -- they are to be filled by God. It is a "theory" that admits that evolution and natural selection explain such things as the development of drug resistance in bacteria and other such evolutionary changes within species but also says that every once in a while God steps into this world of constant and accumulating change and says, "I think I'll make me a lemur today." A "theory" that violates the most basic requirement of anything pretending to be science -- that it be empirically disprovable. How does one empirically disprove the proposition that God was behind the lemur, or evolution -- or behind the motion of the tides or the "strong force" that holds the atom together?

In order to justify the farce that intelligent design is science, Kansas had to corrupt the very definition of science, dropping the phrase " natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us," thus unmistakably implying -- by fiat of definition, no less -- that the supernatural is an integral part of science. This is an insult both to religion and science.

The school board thinks it is indicting evolution by branding it an "unguided process" with no "discernible direction or goal." This is as ridiculous as indicting Newtonian mechanics for positing an "unguided process" by which Earth is pulled around the sun every year without discernible purpose. What is chemistry if not an "unguided process" of molecular interactions without "purpose"? Or are we to teach children that God is behind every hydrogen atom in electrolysis?

He may be, of course. But that discussion is the province of religion, not science. The relentless attempt to confuse the two by teaching warmed-over creationism as science can only bring ridicule to religion, gratuitously discrediting a great human endeavor and our deepest source of wisdom precisely about those questions -- arguably, the most important questions in life -- that lie beyond the material.
He's right. I particularly like the part comparing ID "criticisms" of evolution with indicting Newtonian mechanics or chemistry for being "unguided" processes.

5 example(s) of insolence returned:


At 11/19/2005 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It should be noted that Krauthammer, who has an MD from Harvard and practiced psychiatry for several years, is quite a bit more knowledgeable about science than many other righties.

 

At 11/20/2005 12:22 AM, Anonymous Trance said...

Anonymous is right. He was supposed to be a pretty good researcher. I also don't know that I would call Krauthammer a conservative "stalwart", but that's me. He has come out in favor for reparations for slavery, which to me is very liberal, but against affirmative action. He also is in favor of abortion to some degree and civil unions for gays.

I think a lot of the reason he gets lumped in as hard-right by a lot of people is because of the Iraq war, but I don't think that characterization is really accurate outside of Iraq. On the right side of things certainly, but not hard-right. Not to be pedantic :-)

 

At 11/20/2005 12:24 AM, Anonymous Trance said...

"in favor of..."

 

At 11/20/2005 11:18 AM, Blogger Greg P said...

This whole business about "in favor of" merely illustrates the semantic problems these issues creates.
By the nature of being a commentator, one is creating a lot of documented and documentable output where a particular turn of phrase is chopped out, diced and sliced and perhaps turned inside out.
Personally, I'm neither "in favor of" nor "against" abortion. Biologically it's quite a wasteful thing, psychologically it's very stressful as is an unwanted pregnancy. But until I am deified, I do not wish to pass ultimate moral judgment on every single situation.
Many seem to want the wrath of God visited upon those with unwanted children, yet many of these same people also do not belief in sufficiently helping out these families or safeguarding these unwanted children -- safeguarding doesn't by definition include incarcerating abusive parents.

 

At 11/22/2005 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the negative side, the following positions taken by Dr. Krauthamer should be pointed out.

1. He praised the pseudoscientific garbage titled the Bell Curve when that book came out in the early nineties. I heard him support it on the Inside Washington program in a discussion with the late Carl Rowen.

2. He supported the administrations insane restrictions on stem cell lines and continued to support them until Dr. Frist weighed in.

In sum he has been nothing but a toady of the Bush administration; the issue of ID is the first time he has publicly critized it.

 

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