12.20.2005

intelligent design and science

thank you, kevin, for bringing this article to my attention.

we are all well aware of the debate, so here's the rub: intelligent design, in my lay opinion, is probably not
science, and it seems to me the argument could be largely diffused by means of some semantic finagling. let's agree, as i think we all can, that true scientific inquiry is aimed at explaining what is in the world. intelligent design seems aimed a little closer to explaining what's in someone's head, or further, what's in the Bible. hence, not science.

now, i realize i've already offended my conservative base, but let's be honest. i'm a card-carrying Christian. empiricism aside, i believe the world was created the way the Bible describes. but, if i start looking at the world around me to find evidence to support that belief, i am not practicing science. i can use all the facts i want, but that kind of inquiry is simply not scientific.


i, for one, am all for children being taught Biblical creationism, but let's not pretend the subject belongs in science class. instead, let's teach it along side the Enûma Elish in social studies, or the Silmarillion in english. to call for intelligent design in the science classroom only makes the religious (especially the Christian right, as Christian creationism is clearly the player in question) look ridiculous, and that's not good for anybody, no matter how big a victory for the left one things the judge's ruling is.

(i know, i know: i hate throwing around quasi-political terms like "right" and "left," but at times they are unavoidable. as a matter of principle, i not only avoid them, i intentionally distance myself from such labels and do not approve their application to me. they are not only useless, they are dangerous, and should be avoided whenever possible. ideally, of course, this would result in the elimination of such terms, though in practice, such is too-often impossible)

1 Comments:

Blogger Josh said...

you probably remember our discussion regarding intelligent design while i was in buffalo on the 10th. good conversation. i'm not sure if you're aware of it or not, but probably what started our dialogue was that i had recently read "darwin at the dock" by margaret talbot in the dec. 5 new yorker (a good article to hyperlink to this article if you can find it). the article also covered the same harrisburg, pa trial, judge john e. jones III presiding.

it's not fair to only give this subject three paragraphs, and i'm actually somewhat surprised that your explanation was so succinct. i respect your conclusion, that intelligent design is not science, and that it should be taught under the auspices of literature and religion--not biology. i feel like you softened the blow to your right-wing base, who should read the ny-er article, by excluding the evidence, or at least thought process, upon which your conclusion is built.

so what is science? what is faith? is the truth at the point where they intersect? i would say yes, and that's my explanation--as vividly foggy as it may be. there is so much that can't be explained biblically, and there is so much that can't be explained scientifically, which leaves me perplexed and somewhere in the middle.

my conclusion might go one step further in its application to education. start before the beginning, the big bang, supported by science, and not necessarily contradictory to scripture, asking the questions: 'what existed before the big bang? from where did the matter in the universe come? what happened next is debatable: evolution, creation, some intricate combination of the two... no need to bicker over eye balls, bacterial flagellum, statistics, the age of the earth, dinosaurs, etc...

isn't the main argument between those who believe we were made intentionally, in god's image, and those who would contend that our existence was caused by a series of adaptation and mutations. neither version of our history can be reproduced in a lab, so start with the question: what, and/or who, existed prior to the big bang?

my apologies for rambling. i hope everyone will ramble on.

5:50 PM  

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