Monday, December 26, 2005

Are We Alone?

Hope you all had a good Christmas, and Happy early New Year to you.

I've been pondering as I watch the blogosphere's parsing of the Dover, PA Intelligent Design ruling. I'm very glad that the judge found ID to be emphatically not science, and further to be stealthy creationism. I don't want creationism or Intelligent Design in science classes for the same reason I don't want Immanuel Velikovsky's "worlds in collision" nonsense in astronomy classes, or Erich von Daniken's ancient astronauts in history classes: It's counterfeit. It is not what it represents itself to the public as being. It's a lie.

As a lifelong consumer of popularized science, this is no shocker for me. What is a shocker is how few there seem to be of my precise persuasion: a politically conservative Christian who admires science and loathes its counterfeits. Making the rounds of the blogs after the decision, I found exultant atheists or agnostics, fuming creationists, and supporters of sound education of all professional backgrounds but of no discernable religious persuasions or lack thereof. Not too many from my pigeonhole, though.

What was even more unsettling was listening to talk radio on the subject. People I respect a lot were repeating all the oft-exploded claims of ID, with no shortage of callers to agree with them. Even the former Secretary of Education, William Bennett, had a substitute host on, Steve Malzberg, loudly deploring the ruling. I remember earlier this year the otherwise quite thoughtful and wise Dennis Prager was taking a "teach the controversy" line, in imitation of President Bush's fence-straddling statement on the matter. It's as if ID were a vital part of the conservative platform, and as if to reject it would be to break ranks. That, or ID answers some kind of yearning inside a lot of people. That still doesn't make it science, though.

5 comments:

  1. So do you oppose creationism completely as having so scientific credibility or would you rather not have "religion" or implied Christianity being taught inadvertantly by science teachers in public school?

    I suppose essentially what I am asking is:
    do you applaud this ruling because it would undermine Christianity, science, or both?

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  2. and if "both," in what order?

    My astronomy professor sort of diffused the entire argument by saying creationism ~ special revelation and science were "different, but valid" ways of knowing. Where do you draw the line upon where one can influence the other in this case? I'm not trying to be prick, just curious.

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  3. Welcome back to one of The Green Suitcase bloggers. Tell Obinna I said hi, please.

    In the twenty-plus years that I have been aware of creationism and creationists, I have seen them be caught out in misrepresentation after misrepresentation, distortion after distortion, lie after lie. It's like going to the carnival and standing next to the magician's stage: the tricks are only meant to be seen once.

    I hope your astronomy teacher was talking about religion, not specifically creationism. If he was talking about creationism, he was humoring you more than he should have. Not only is creationism not science, it is not religion, either. It is rather a thing of shreds and patches, stitched together by religious people who are unable to make peace with the idea that science and not their particular religion best explains the natural world. Deception and willful ignorance are not characteristics of any faith worth the name.

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  4. "Not only is creationism not science, it is not religion, either. It is rather a thing of shreds and patches, stitched together by religious people who are unable to make peace with the idea that science and not their particular religion best explains the natural world. "

    Well I understand the subjectivity that this subject can impose and I do agree with the rationale that creationism cannot substitute evolution in public schools, however, I do not see the *harm* in utilizing it as way of assesing any shortcommings or inconsitancies of the theory of evolution. However I doubt that it could made cleanly in the high school setting without any controversy.
    AsI am one myself, of sorts, I dont think there is a need to pity creationists. Don't you think that the intelligent design movement has most of its backers in people that believe the universe has some authorship in God?
    (This was written under the assumption you are catholic).

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  5. Creationism cannot critique biology, geology, cosmology, and etc., anymore than astrology can critique astronomy. It doesn't have the standing. Science's assertions of facts can only be critiqued and possibly overturned by better science.

    Yes, the ID people are at bottom people who wish for science to reflect the authorship of God in the universe--which science by definition cannot do.

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