September 26, 2005

SHUT UP, THEY DEFENDED:

'Intelligent Design' Trial Begins Today: A court case brought by parents in Pennsylvania could have a profound impact on America's debate over religion and its role in public life. (Josh Getlin, September 26, 2005, LA Times)

In the beginning, members of the Dover Area School District board wrangled over what should be required in their high school biology curriculum.

Some were adamant that science teachers should stick with the widely taught theory of evolution and random selection. Others said the teaching of "intelligent design" should also be required, arguing that certain elements of life, like cell structure, are best explained by an intelligent cause.

The debate had strong religious overtones.

"Nearly 2,000 years ago, someone died on a cross for us," said board member William Buckingham, who urged his colleagues to include intelligent design in ninth-grade science classes. "Shouldn't we have the courage to stand up for him?"

Today, a trial begins over the board's decision last year ordering that students be taught about intelligent design and flaws in Charles Darwin's theories.

Several parents, fearing the intrusion of religion into public schooling, filed a lawsuit to block the policy, backed by American Civil Liberties Union attorneys.


Which liberty is it that requires the majority to be silenced?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 26, 2005 2:27 PM
Comments

You've never heard of the "tyranny of the majority"?

Posted by: Anon at September 26, 2005 2:41 PM

The collected works of Richard Dawkins and his like should be submitted into evidence, since they claim pretty explicitly that Darwin's theories lead inexorably to atheism. If that's true (I don't see why it is), then Darwinian Evolution (capitalization is important...) is "the intrusion of religion into public schooling" and should not be taught.

Posted by: b at September 26, 2005 2:43 PM

The majority of scientists? Or even college-educated people?
Or people who respond to skewed polling techniques that are constantly referred to on this website as if they actually hold some kind of truth (go ahead, post the link)?

http://www.brothersjudd.com/blog/archives/2005/09/that_ones_gonna.html

If ID ever holds an objective validity that satisfies even a slim minority of scientist, Ill be there to say it can be taught in schools. However, im thinking the numbers are around the 99 to 1 ratio of adherents to darwinian-influenced evolutionary biology to stubborn, ignoramuses who won't even take the time to scientifically refute that which they blindly dismiss as heretical.
So go and collect some data, do some research, run a couple of chi-squared tests, get a couple thousand articles published, and then we'll see if ID has anything to do with the scientific method (which, I feel safe in saying, it doesn't, as it is in its definition anti-scientific).

Posted by: Dawkinspawn at September 26, 2005 2:47 PM

Anon:

Yes, it's central to liberty.

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2005 2:49 PM

Dawkinspawn:

This is a democratic republic, not a technocracy. The opinion of scientists doesn't count for more than those of the vast majority.

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2005 2:52 PM

It only leads to atheism if you are so narrowminded that you rely on a literal interpretation of sacred text. The knowledge that Noah's flood probably didn't really change people's mind; the idea of the Earth not being the center of the universe used to be heretical.
The idea of the genetic code could be considered heretical. The idea of giving rights to women could be considered heretical.
It only disprove god if you want it to. Maybe instead of changing the evolutionists, you should change the way you view god.

Posted by: Dawkinspawn at September 26, 2005 2:52 PM

Dawkinspawn: "then we'll see if ID has anything to do with the scientific method (which, I feel safe in saying, it doesn't, as it is in its definition anti-scientific)."

No, actually, it's anti-Scientific. Geez, I just said that capitalization matters. The "scientific method" is a nice story that is taught to elementary school students, and sometimes sort of describes how professional scientists collect data. However, the conclusions one draws from the data thereby collected are mostly aesthetic judgments...

Posted by: b at September 26, 2005 2:53 PM

Anon: "It only leads to atheism if you are so narrowminded that you rely on a literal interpretation of sacred text."

You're entirely correct. Richard Dawkins is incredibly narrow-minded, and knows nothing about the sacred texts that he so humorously foams at the mouth about.

Posted by: b at September 26, 2005 2:55 PM

Vast majority? Man, you are really funny.
How do the vast majority of people feel about quantum mechanics? How do they feel about differential calculus? How do they feel about the Kreb's Cycle.
The vast majority of people, in this backwards country, are idiots. I hope this is no big surprise.
I know plenty of religious-minded folks (in my family) who laugh at the types of people who are trying to push this ID hoax.
Maybe the problem isn't everyone else.

Posted by: Dawkinspawn at September 26, 2005 2:56 PM

They support teaching them in school.

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2005 2:57 PM

As long as were talking about majorities here, why is it that you choose to side with "the majority" on this issue, while in others, you seem not to care about what the opinion of the majority of the world's opinion is? Like, how the majority of the world is in disagreement with US foreign policy?

Posted by: Dawkinspawn at September 26, 2005 2:59 PM

I'm American.

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2005 3:02 PM

Seems to me that the question of what is "random" vs. what is "designed" is inevitably a metaphysical question regardless of which side you come down on.

There's plenty of stuff to learn regarding biology that doesn't depend upon answering these metaphysical questions of origin: Mendelian genetics, the Krebs cycle, photosynthesis, indeed archeological small-e evolution can all be taught and understood without calling anyone's religion stupid.

There is no reason to insist upon emphasising capital-D Darwinian evolution other than that some people have a jones for insulting or silencing other people's religious beliefs.

Posted by: Ted Welter at September 26, 2005 3:12 PM

This is tangential, but I'm curious as to how much evolution actually gets taught in schools even where there is no objection to it. At my high school, for example, I can recall a brief overview of the subject, who Darwin was, Lamarckism was rebutted, we did some of those Mendelian diagrams, then it was pretty much forgotten about and we moved on to collecting pond scum and looking at it through microscopes for the rest of the semester.

Posted by: carter at September 26, 2005 3:29 PM

carter:

we ran a story about that awhile ago--it isn't worth the trouble to many teachers/schools.

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2005 3:33 PM

In my case I think the explanation has to do witht the fact that our biology teacher was the football coach.

Posted by: carter at September 26, 2005 3:39 PM

It is the most useful explanation of the diversity of our world lifeforms that there is. ID says "life is too complex for us to figure out, so there must be some hand at work that is unobservable; an intelligence that is beyond inquiry." And then it proceeds with a very clumsy chimpanzees typing Hamlet metaphor, a few high profile spokespersons, and language that makes it sound like a science.

And the previous poster's comment on the art of science is very true; The scientific is a matter of aesthetic judgement. Everything in our life is the matter of aesthetic interpretation; some people pick some boring books on ancient tribesmen in the Middle East to do it for them, and others find answers that are satisfying to the majority of serious inquiries that are eventually agreed upon, and labeled truth. Thats about the point where natural selection stands among the scientific community today.

Natural selection/evolutionary biology says "There are reasons why organisms have this particular morphology, why we can see in the fossil record changes in these morphologies, and how the fluctuation of genetic material interacting with the environment plays into the favoring/disfavoring certain morphologies."
Sorry about the explanation, but i wasnt sure that some of you have ever listened to it before.

Posted by: Dawkinspawn at September 26, 2005 3:44 PM

"[R]andom selection"? Another battle won, I suppose.

Posted by: David Cohen at September 26, 2005 3:44 PM

The point is it isn't useful at all and applied logically would mitigate against diversity--it's just a faith.

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2005 3:48 PM

Natural selection/evolutionary biology says "There are reasons why organisms have this particular morphology, why we can see in the fossil record changes in these morphologies, and how the fluctuation of genetic material interacting with the environment plays into the favoring/disfavoring certain morphologies."

That's the idea, but unfortunately evolutionary biology doesn't tell us what those reasons are. If it did, it might be useful. Instead new reasons have to be invented in every case to explain, e.g., peacock tails. In the meantime, there has not been, so far as I'm aware, a single advance in biology or medicine (I'm most familiar with molecular biology) that depended on evolutionary theory.

Posted by: pj at September 26, 2005 4:04 PM

In fairness, the basic idea of evolution is useful, if for nothing else than to keep us from treating each lifeform as if it arose in complete isolation. It's just the various explanations of evolution--Creationism, Lamarckianism, Darwinism, I.D., etc.--that aren't useful and have led to no advances.

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2005 4:11 PM

The idea of darwinism, what ever that means to you, is an advance in and of itself, and has led to other advances in understanding the natural world, and was further confirmed decades ago when scientists learned about the genetic codes, and has been even more soldified in the past 50 years of genetic based evolutionary biology.
All it is is a very useful, apt, and good explanation. And it happens to be the best explanation that we have so far. ID is not a better explanation.
And if you don't want to believe that Natural Selection is driven completely by chance, you can still believe in a Christian God that directs the process; the two belief systems are not mutually exclusive.

Even though tommorow, we might find out that invisible purple monkeys from space have been guiding the evolution of lifeforms, until then, the idea of genetic variations interacting with the environment should be taught to kids.

Posted by: Dawkinspawn at September 26, 2005 4:24 PM

Genetic based evolutionary biology isn't Darwinist. It has nothing to do with Natural Selection and there's no scientific reason to believe that genetic variations interacting with the environment has ought to do with speciation, which is Darwinism.

Posted by: oj at September 26, 2005 4:27 PM

Dawkinspawn,

There's a link enbedded in your earlier comment:
http://www.brothersjudd.com/blog/archives/2005/09/that_ones_gonna.html

Read the article itself, not just oj's (justifiable) gloating. Darwinism hasn't led to any significant understanding of anything except darwinism. Your assertions to the contrary don't make it otherwise.

Posted by: Timothy at September 26, 2005 5:30 PM

Although I'm a ludite when it comes to biology, I haven't read of, heard of or seen a species "evolve" since recorded history - if something's going to evolve, it should've happened by now (2000+ years)- all I've seen is just a long list of dead and extinct species, killed off by plague, predators, or the weather. If my cat turns into a Sabertooth tomorrow, I'll regret the following - I cast my vote against Darwin! Yea to the Alien Design (of course I haven't seen one either but it's fresh and jazzy, unlike boring biology...)

Posted by: KRS at September 26, 2005 8:23 PM

Dawkinspawn:

Why do you believe that world opinion should matter with regards to U.S. foreign policy ?

How does it affect America ?

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 27, 2005 12:19 AM
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