The Talking Lion

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Science > Bush

The greatest pseudo-scientific theory since eugenics -- intelligent design -- is receiving support from our president. Remarks to a group of reporters from texas at the White House yesterday:

"Both sides ought to be properly taught . . . so people can understand what the debate is about," he said, according to an official transcript of the session. Bush added: "Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought. . . . You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."

I don't think I need to explain to all of you how intelligent design has no scientific merit, and is based on little more than faith in God. It may very well be true that some sort of all-powerful entity had a hand in creating the universe, or our world. The problem is that there is minimal scientific basis on which to base that claim, so there is no reason to teach it alongside evolution in the classroom.

Unfortunately for the scientific community, the educational system, and the future of our nation's children, these words will help give these anti-evolution advocates more credibility.

"With the president endorsing it, at the very least it makes Americans who have that position more respectable, for lack of a better phrase," said Gary L. Bauer, a Christian conservative leader who ran for president against Bush in the 2000 Republican primaries. "It's not some backwater view. It's a view held by the majority of Americans."

Sorry Gary, but just because a majority of Americans hold this view (which I contend is an exaggeration) doesn't make it science.That's not how we decide what is taught in school, we don't take a poll and ask people what they believe. There are experts in the different fields that do research and experiments and come to conclusions and make theories and those theorires come under scrutiny within the scientific community. Only then are these theories taught in schools and universities. That sounds like a better system than teaching what the majority of Americans believe.

Nonetheless, Intelligent Design proponents are winning the battle against science thanks to a handful of professors teaching in this country's universities. This article from The Chronicle of Higher Education goes into their stories and the reaction of the greater scientific community as a whole:

For the vast majority of scientists, evolution through natural means is as much a fact as the earth's revolution around the sun. Yet a small but vocal number of biologists, chemists, philosophers, and mathematicians are determined to change that view. They believe that an intelligent agent -- most rigorously avoid the word "God" -- has guided the earth's history, and that scientific research can prove its existence. While most scientists are quick to dismiss the idea as religion cloaked in academic jargon, advocates of the concept, known as intelligent design, are making inroads into academe, thanks to their unconventional approach, sophisticated arguments, and scholarly credentials.

Intelligent-design theory has been greeted most warmly at evangelical Christian colleges, where it is sometimes taught as a viable alternative to Darwinian evolution. Other institutions have been far less sympathetic. Although intelligent design has advocates in some science departments, no secular or mainstream college teaches it as a legitimate theory. Scientists who do support intelligent design have been relegated to teaching it as a nonscience course, as at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Advocates have also organized conferences at such universities as Baylor and Yale, and have assembled a group of more than 100 scientists to criticize Darwinian theory in full-page advertisements in national publications. The New York Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have sponsored debates on intelligent design, and three academic presses are publishing books on the subject.

Of course they're publishing books, because these kinds of books will sell. There are plenty of people out there who are desperately trying to justify their beliefs and will take anything they can get.

People have every right to believe what they want, that's part of what makes this country great. But trying to pass of a belief in God creating the world as science is dangerous. The fact that our president would be advocating such a practive is just scary.


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