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May 05, 2005

Comments

Ryan

Excellent post. Others may disagree, but I see your position as the moderate one. Some fail to realize that the ideas that led to the modern scientific body of work that is referred to as "Evolutionary Theory" was spurred by work done by Naturalists when Jefferson and Adams were running the federal govt.

If "descent by modification" didn't impede the rapid, international blossoming of Christianity over the last couple centuries, why do these activists in Kansas give a hoot? I feel that they're searching out symbolic battles. Others like this would be the Schiavo case, forced prayer in schools, and displaying of the Ten Commandments on state property.

I take issue with those claiming that this is the run-up to a theocracy. I think these religious activists are doing God's work. Even atheists (like myself) need to realize and respect that these people see God in everything. We cannot attack them for their religious beliefs, but we can't hesitate to call them on their shit and push back if need be. One thing that is lost on them is that the laws and their implementations are there for everyone's protection.

Also, really...why do they care so much about "under God" being in the Pledge of Allegiance? It didn't "help" me any.

Ed Drone

What gets me is that "intelligent design" does nothing to forward either religion or science. If you want to say that evolution is the clock's gears working, so there must be a clock-maker, fine! If you want to create theories about that clock-maker, based on your assumpton that there must be a clock-maker, fine! Or if you want to assume that, based on religious books, you know about the clock-maker and can assume what He/She/It intends for the clock's purpose, that's fine, too.

The problem is, so what? If I were a high-school science teacher, I'd devote the first day's lesson to "Intelligent Design." It'd take about two minutes, maybe more if students wanted to discuss it, and it'd consist of a statement that

"Many believe the intricate nature of nature (no pun intended) shows that there must be a design involved, and where there's a design, there must be a designer. Some call this designer 'God,' some 'Allah,' some 'JHWH,' some 'Krishna.' This theory is called 'intelligent design,' and accounts for the 'why' in life.

This course will now discuss the 'how,' and only the 'how,' since that's all we can either prove or disprove, and proof -- or lack of it -- is the hallmark of true science.

Open your books to Chapter One."

That would do it, I'd think.

Something else I don't get is how the fundamentalists who claim the inerrent accuracy of the Bible means that evolution can't be taught have somehow signed onto this 'intelligent design' thing. 'Intelligent design' allows for evolution, and assumes, as most folks assume, the Bible creation stories (and there are two, intertwined, in Genesis, so the Bible is itself self-contradictory) are metaphors. How can the 'Bible is the whole truth' crowd align themselves with the 'evolution is only part of the story' crowd called 'intelligent designists'?


Ed


HWL

good comments, y'all. ed, i think you're exactly right, and this is one of the really mystifying things about this debate -- a real debate would not really threaten religion at. which is precisely why i think this debate is solely for the sake of political gain for the republican party.

Cameron

Good article. I would take issue with your comment about evolution not having a practical application. Evolution is critical in disease research and in helping develop new antibiotics. It just doesn't get mentioned enough.

the exile

I'm with Cameron. Although people may not see the direct link between evolution and practical useful curing-diseases-and-stuff sort of science, virtually all medical research depends fundamentally on ideas of mutation and adaptive natural selection. And if enough of the US starts teaching religiously correct science in junior high and high school, research on practical things WILL atrophy and other countries will become the vanguard. Or will the US become like the Romans, a militaristic society who relied on foreigners (Greek slaves) to be their teachers, intellectuals and artists? maybe Chinese immigrants will play the role of the Greeks?

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