August 3, 2005


Furor erupts over Bush's remarks on intelligent design (Elisabeth Bumiller, August 3, 2005 , New York Times)

Intelligent design, advanced by a group of academics and intellectuals and some biblical creationists, disputes the idea that natural selection -- the force Charles Darwin suggested drove evolution -- fully explains the complexity of life. Instead, intelligent design proponents say that life is so intricate that only a powerful guiding force, or intelligent designer, could have created it.

Intelligent design does not identify the designer, but critics say the theory is a thinly disguised argument for God and the divine creation of the universe. Invigorated by a recent push by conservatives, the theory has been gaining support in school districts in 20 states, with Kansas in the lead.

Marburger said that it would be "overinterpreting" Bush's remarks to say that the president believes that intelligent design and evolution should be given equal treatment in schools.

But Bush's conservative supporters said that the president had indicated exactly that in his remarks.

"It's what I've been pushing -- it's what a lot of us have been pushing, " said Richard Land, the president of the ethics and religious liberties commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. Land, who has close ties to the White House, said that evolution "is too often taught as fact" and that "if you're going to teach the Darwinian theory as evolution, teach it as theory. And then teach another theory that has the most support among scientists."

But critics saw Bush's comment that "both sides" should be taught as the most troubling aspect of his remarks. "It sounds like you're being fair, but creationism is a sectarian religious viewpoint, and intelligent design is a sectarian religious viewpoint," said Susan Spath, a spokeswoman for the National Center for Science Education, a group that defends the teaching of evolution in public schools. "It's not fair to privilege one religious viewpoint by calling it the other side of evolution."

As Ms Bumiller's own set-up shows, Darwinism is likewise a sectarian religion, it just happens to be based on the worship of Nature and natural selection: "the force Charles Darwin suggested drove evolution." In the U.S. it is also the narrowest sect, enjoying only 12-13% support. When schools get to Evolution they ought merely to mention that -- in the absence of physical evidence, observation and experimentation -- there are competing philosophical theories about what drives the process: Darwinism, Creationism, and Design. Any deeper discussion of the theories can take place in a comparative religion class.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 3, 2005 6:28 PM

A more modest proposal: the curriculum should overtly describe Darwinism as atheistic.

Posted by: ghostcat at August 3, 2005 11:53 PM

It isn't.

Posted by: oj at August 3, 2005 11:55 PM

I think you're contradicting yourself from earlier comments, but I get the point.

Just don't tell us Freud was not an atheist.

Posted by: ghostcat at August 4, 2005 1:08 AM

An even more modest proposal: the curriculum should point out that Neo-Darwanism is not experimental (and therefore not scientific) and does not meet statistical tests for validity, i.e., the probabilities are too small for the assumed lifetime of the universe to account for the observed phenomena.

My favorite question for Evolutionists is: since extinction is the overwhelming occurrance in biological history (by empirical paleotological evidence), and evolution claims to explain it, then why did the trilobites become extinct?

Posted by: jd watson at August 4, 2005 5:47 AM


He wasn't.

Posted by: oj at August 4, 2005 8:10 AM


He wasn't? Then what was he? He certainly didn't appear to believe in God at all.

Perhaps I'm missing one of your fine distinctions?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 4, 2005 8:43 AM


Posted by: oj at August 4, 2005 8:48 AM

What the Darwinists are afraid of most is that eventually they will be lumped in with those who believed in phlogiston and epicycles

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 4, 2005 11:22 AM

Siggie was an atheist. That's why Jung split.

Posted by: ghostcat at August 4, 2005 11:50 AM

jd, extinction has not been the 'overwhelming occurence.'

That would be speciation.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at August 4, 2005 2:52 PM

Harry, I think jd meant overwhelming in frequency, not overwhelming you personally when you daydream in your garden.

Posted by: Peter B at August 4, 2005 3:05 PM

The main difference being that extinction is observed while speciation has never been.

Posted by: oj at August 4, 2005 3:11 PM


Ethnically Jewish, but not religious. I'm sure you're aware of his (crackpot) theories regarding certain Old Testament narratives?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 5, 2005 5:11 AM


Freud, of course, considered himself to be Moses, so the existence of a genuine rival had to be dealt with.

Posted by: oj at August 5, 2005 8:10 AM

Peter, I understood him to mean 'in frequency.'

That's antifactual, however.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at August 5, 2005 4:00 PM
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