American Culture

Proponents of intelligent design try a new approach

In the beginning, God created heaven and earth and all the creatures and Man in his creation, and He saw His creation was going to be trouble in the 1800s. Then Man developed the scientific method, and eventually was born a man named Charles Darwin, and God said “uh oh….” for, in His omniscience, He knew what was coming. And Charles Darwin developed his hypothesis of natural selection, which was then tested and retested and corrected and verified uncountable times and elevated to the level of scientific theory, with proof nearly as strong as for the Laws of Motion and gravitation and quantum mechanics and Murphy’s Law.

And God’s followers said “uh oh,” for while they lacked God’s omniscience, they could see the writing on the wall. And so many of God’s followers attacked the theory of evolution as godless untruths and against the literal truth of the Creation, although which version of Creation was something God’s followers couldn’t agree on and killed each other over. And scientists fought back with logic, the scientific method, and peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals, and eventually beat back the “creationism” assault.

So God’s more virulent followers tried a flanking maneuver called “intelligent design” that very nearly worked until scientists and pointed out that ID was religion, not science, and didn’t belong in the science classroom. But using their God-given creativity, His same followers who had been beaten a second time changed their approach yet again….

There are a few new laws working their way through the state legislatures around the country that are designed to insert intelligent design into the science classroom yet again. These new laws don’t mention intelligent design in any way, focusing instead on the “academic freedom” to teach alternate and competing ideas. The laws represent yet another change in tactics of the creationist/intelligent design in an attempt to get their non-scientific ideas back into science classrooms. Two of the states where these laws have made inroads are Michigan and Louisiana.

Michigan’s state House and Senate have introduced identical bills (House Bill #6072 and Senate Bill #1361, aka the “Academic Freedom Law”) that are designed to encourage academic discourse.

[Educational authorities] shall endeavor to create an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that encourages pupils to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues. These educational authorities also shall endeavor to assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum in instances where that curriculum addresses scientific controversies. Toward this end, these educational authorities shall allow teachers to help pupils understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught. (emphasis added)

The state of Louisiana has a similar law known as the “Louisiana Science Education Act” (Senate bill #733) that has nearly identical language:

The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, upon request of a city, parish, or other local public school board, shall allow and assist teachers, principals, and other school administrators to create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning. Such assistance shall include support and guidance for teachers regarding effective ways to help students understand, analyze, critique, and objectively review scientific theories being studied, including those enumerated in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection. A teacher shall teach the material presented in the standard textbook supplied by the school system and thereafter may use supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review scientific theories in an objective manner, as permitted by the city, parish, or other local public school board. (emphasis added)

On the face of it, the language quoted above for these two laws isn’t really a problem. Of course, as it stands, most science teachers in the country already work hard to have an “open and objective discussion” of any scientific theories they teach, and to help their students “understand, analyze, critique, and review” those theories. So, on the face of it, both of these laws are entirely unnecessary.

But a little research reveals the state legislators who introduced the Michigan bill once introduced intelligent design-teaching legislation in Michigan. And that the religious Louisiana Family Forum was responsible for convincing the Louisiana bill’s sponsor to introduce it in the first place. Of course, the fact that the two bills have nearly identical language means that there’s a good chance they come from the same source, possibly the Discovery Institute, which has the text of the Louisiana bill on its website.

But what’s particularly damning in both bills is not the utterly pointless “academic freedom” provisions mentioned above, but rather the religious discrimination policies that follow that text. From Michigan’s bill:

This section only protects the teaching of scientific information, and this section shall not be construed to promote any religious or nonreligious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or nonbeliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion. (emphasis added)

Similarly, from Louisiana’s bill:

This Section shall not be construed to promote any religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs, or promote discrimination for or against religion or nonreligion.

Science, as a matter of course, concerns itself with that which can be quantified, measured, modeled, and predicted. It adheres to the scientific method of observation, hypothesis, testing, understanding, new hypothesis, more testing, ad infinitum. Religion, by its very nature, relies on faith in that which cannot be tested, observed, and, in some cases, understood. Therefore, the very nature of teaching science definitionally precludes the teaching of anything resembling religion. If it can’t be tested, it’s not science and it’s not taught in science classes. Or, rather, it shouldn’t be.

So why do the legislatures of Louisiana and Michigan include this text? Because they believe that it will force science teachers, in the name of not discriminating against religion, to teach intelligent design. There’s only one problem, and if you’ve tracked all the times I’ve emphasized “scientific” or “scientific theories” in the quoted passages above, you already know what that problem is.

Intelligent design is not a scientific theory. It’s pseudo-science put forth by creationists in an attempt to teach some form of untestable religion in the science classroom.

Intelligent design says that there are things that are too complex to have arisen in nature without some intelligent cosmic engineer. This statement is fundamentally non-scientific for two reasons – it’s not testable according to the scientific method and it relies on the cessation of scientific inquiry. Saying that some cosmic engineer designed our natural cellular machinery or guided evolution cannot be tested. Evolution of species via natural selection has been verified using genetics and observation of natural selection in thousands of species, and natural selection itself isn’t even a scientific hypothesis anymore – it’s acknowledged fact. Just ask anyone fighting off an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection.

And intelligent design begins when scientific inquiry ends. Intelligent design essentially says “we’re not smart enough or we lack the ability or desire to understand how something came about, so it had to be (insert your preferred cosmic engineer here) that did it.”

These laws will almost certainly be challenged in court, and rightly so. The language is crafted carefully enough, however, that unlike overt intelligent design legislation, these bill may pass state or federal Constitutional muster. But even if they do stay on the books, both laws, and any others like them around the country, can be effectively ignored for one vitally important reason – they only apply to the teaching of scientific theories.

And anyone teaching intelligent design in their classroom is not teaching science – he or she is teaching religion, and that’s not allowed.

39 replies »

  1. Pingback: www.buzzflash.net
  2. It’s interesting how quickly a group of anti-evolutionists changes in order to adapt to its environment.

  3. I do wish that the people who point out the problems with creationism, intelligent design, etc., would learn to be a bit more accurate in the arguments they use to counter those of the ID folks. In this essay, the author talks about antibiotic-resistant bacteria as a “proof” of evolution. The problem is that many, if not all, creationists and ID proponents accept the idea of limited evolution WITHIN a species. Their argument is that the kinds of adaptive changes that lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria or moths becoming darker in a sooty environment are in no way a demonstration of evolution in the larger sense, that is, evolution as a process that leads to a NEW species evolving from another one.

  4. Tara, please re-read what I wrote:

    …natural selection itself isn’t even a scientific hypothesis anymore – it’s acknowledged fact. Just ask anyone fighting off an antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection.

    In other words, I’m not claiming that evolution is proven by antibiotic resistance, but that natural selection is proven by antibiotic resistance. I suppose I could have made it a little clearer by adding “if they believe natural selection isn’t fact.” after the words “bacterial infection,” but I felt that would have been overkill.

  5. It would seem that they leave themselves open to be hoisted on their own petard.

    By making Science classes a recitation of who discovered what, science itself becomes just another belief system as no time is spent in the student actually discovering why it is different. If it is insisted that the students learn real critical thinking and apply it to the psuedo reality around them, then religion, politics, news, history and so much else takes on a very different aspect.

    I would love to teach a class in critical thinking, using ID , Evolution, and Geology as examples. However I don’t think these frauds would like the results. As long as ant assertion is given the same weight as another assertion like it was a horse race only, then there will always be partisans on each side no matter how strident one side is, But give the gift of actually analyzing fact from fraud, the fraud will not have a chance.

  6. Feedem,

    I would love it if you would teach that class, too, but I think we both know that most teachers could not possibly pull off the class you describe.

    Would that it were so.

  7. JS O’Brien,
    That is the real challenge. By both providing the materials and the political/legal push to make it happen. By doing that, there is no room for the right wing to maneuver, and the outrage will shock everyone. Already this has begun to happen as the Internet has provided an alternative voice that great power has not yet managed to control.

    I have tried to help that with my Basic web for literacy web page that everyone who wants to save civilization can use to help.

  8. I wish natural selection, evolution, genetic drift, whatever had been better at propagating this %#@ computer.

  9. It seems to me, the problem with this whole debate is, how neither side seems terribly concerned about using the children themselves as pawns in the “adult’s” ideological battles.

  10. Sure. I’ll be happy to add more detail, particularly in response to the snarky “Science is ideology” comment.

    My comment was more a response to the “battle over our children’s mind” statement. I’m not a proponent of ID. I think the term itself is an oxymoron. But I feel sometimes the overeducated ones amongst us (me included) are just as likely to forget that what we consider established science is always in a state of flux and subject to revision and reinterpretation. This is what distinguishes it from dogma.

    Now one must maintain eternal vigilance against those who would subvert science in order to advance their dogma. But in the act of appointing ourselves arbiters of what constitutes the grounds of scientific debate sometimes we risk becoming as dogmatic as our opponents. If we choose to demonize all those who hold views counter to ours then we do science no service. In the ID debate this is what I frequently see happening. It was exactly such a strong-arm approach which played a big part in alienating the American public and driving the electorate into the arms of those who reject science, logic and reason outright as “elitist” constructs.

    So while I agree with the overall intent of your post Brian, its the tone that I cannot support. Does every critique of ID have to begin with clever metaphors and prose which while it might give some readers glee to read, would leave someone who treasures both their faith and their devotion to science feeling a little cheapened?

    Now there are clear and strong arguments in favor of evolution as opposed to ID. The point I’m making is that, in not giving due respect to those who holds views counter to one’s own we risk making enemies of those who at first merely disagree with us.

    As for “battling for children’s minds”, I find that statement offensive on many levels. Children, just like grown-ups, cannot be convinced of the truth of any assertion by brute force. The best one can do is present one’s side of the story in the simplest, and yes, respectful terms accompanied by concrete examples (drug resistant bacteria etc) and then leave it up to the judgment of each individual, young or old.

    If we try to eliminate bacteria with brute force we only end up with more dangerous variants. Likewise if we try to talk-down our ideological opponents with contempt and derision, we risk giving rise to true fanaticism in those we wish to win over.

    I hope that clarifies my initial statement somewhat. Cheers.

  11. Thank you for responding, TTG. I’m glad I asked, because you’re probably right, my initial spoof of Genesis probably did turn some readers off.

    It’s entirely possible that my dismissal of ID as non-science and thus totally irrelevant to a science classroom might come off as elitist. That doesn’t change the fundamental fact that anyone who believes the ID is a scientific theory is factually wrong. Just because everyone is entitled to their own opinion doesn’t mean that everyone is entitled to their own facts. And the proponents of ID are attempting to use the English language to intentionally distort the facts for the vast majority of citizens who are woefully undereducated about science and how it works.

    That said, I believe that there is a grain of truth in what you say – making someone frustrated or angry doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to lead them to water, as it were.

    Finally, I believe that your statement about children is correct about older children, but not necessarily about younger ones. My children (and most of the children that my wife used to teach in her 7th grade science classroom) take a great deal about what you tell them on blind faith, and it’s easier to tell them the right things first than it is to convince them to relearn their lessons later. For that reason, “battling” for their minds is an unfortunate, if necessary (IMO, of course) part of this debate. There are certainly better and worse ways to do that, but the fact remains that you don’t teach history in an English composition class, you don’t teach analysis of literature in a civics class, you don’t teach zoology in a history class, and so you shouldn’t teach a non-scientific idea like intelligent design in a science class.

    The most mention ID should ever get in a science classroom is this: “We concern ourselves with the scientifically testable and verifiable in this classroom. ID is neither, therefore it’s not science and will not be taught in this science class. If you’d like to discuss whether your preferred deity is responsible for guiding your evolution or not, please take that up with your pastor or your comparative religion instructor instead.”

  12. I’ll be happy to add more detail, particularly in response to the snarky “Science is ideology” comment.

    ‘Scuse me? I was responding to this comment of yours:

    It seems to me, the problem with this whole debate is, how neither side seems terribly concerned about using the children themselves as pawns in the “adult’s” ideological battles.

    Since the issue is science vs. non-science, the only reasonable interpretation I can see is that science and non-science are both”ideology” (your word, not mine).

    It’s not snarky to point out that you lumped science into ideology.

    As for your explanation, I find it less than convincing. Do you have children? I do. Have you ever tried to get a seven-year-old to comprehend the complexities of global finance so that she can make up her own mind about whether certain derivative structures are good or bad for the US economy?

    Like it or not, WE have to choose for young children. They cannot choose wisely for themselves.

  13. Oh JS. I feel sorry for your kid. No really. I wonder what his schedule looks like. Derivative trading at 7 am. Machiavelli at 10. Yoga with cereal for lunch. Kurasawa retrospective 3 – 6 pm. Bedtime at 8 but not before reciting three times: “science is not ideology, science is not ideology, science is not ideology”.

    Lighten up bro. Nobody gave you veto power on what the definition of “science”, “ideology” and “reasonable intrepretation” is. Cheers.

  14. tic: You seem to think that the word “science” doesn’t have a definition. That there’s not an established process and code surrounding its practice. That there isn’t a powerful and unrelenting community enforcing these codes. That the phrase “peer reviewed” has all the validity of the most recent marketing buzzword.

    I understand the point you’re trying to make, but the path you’re taking is leading you across some pretty iffy terrain.

  15. tictacgo:

    Incomprehensible. This is a board about discussion. We discuss things and the words used in discussing those things. If you don’t want to do that, then why post at all?

  16. How apropos for me to read this, this week, as I type, my 10yr old son just went to an intensive, scholarly camp that will discuss the different creation myths (maori, ancient Babylonian, Plato, the first book of the Hebrew bible and the quiche Mayan creation story) and will talk about mythology, science and philosophy. I will have to tell him though when he comes back, to never volunteer talk about religion as even smart people feel threatened by rational and critical thinking and the critique it can offer christianity.. people live in a dream and they do not want the dream taken away from them, even though they’re slowly waking to the fact that it’s mythology, not literalism..
    why oh why tell me, are the creationists/intelligent design people so powerful (AND scared!) here in this country?? It’s so backwards. Even in Europe, people who go to church recognize a lot to that to be not scienc based and not real..shee..
    Ingrid

  17. Ingrid:

    Why oh why? I don’t know for sure, but I have a guess.

    As best I can tell, going back as far as there are written records, people first counted on their gods to control those things humans can’t control: fertility, disease, weather, famine, etc. (None of this looking to the gods for moral rules.) Having gods gave you an opportunity to control, or at least heaviliy influence, those things. If you just said the words right, did the right rituals, kept the temple and the likeness in good repair, brought food every morning, and what have you, things would be all right. The gods would protect you and nurture you unless overpowered in war by the other guy’s bigger and stronger gods.

    The secular side of US society is not nearly as protective as in most European nations (well, Western Europe, anyway). If you are injured or fall ill in the US for an extended period, there is a fair chance that you will lose everything. Your employment is “at will,” so you can be fired for the way you part your hair if someone has a mind to. Medical insurance is extremely expensive ($12,000 + per year for me and my family), so many can’t afford it. And so forth.

    So, I wonder if Americans cling to God because they are afraid of what life may bring and, lacking secular means of feeling secure, God is their buffer. If a hurricane smacks New Orleans, then God must be punishing that city for its iniquity. The way to avoid hurricanes is to be righteous. Having a God that rewards and punishes things gives people a sense that they are infuencing things they cannot possibly influence, and gives them a sense that they are more secure than they really are.

    BTW, I know a woman who, when told by a local school board in Eastern Washington State that she had to teach creationism, decided to teach as many creation myths as she could find. She was fired, then she won a lawsuit. But the whole incident must have dragged out at least seven years. I doubt she’d do it again.

    So hurrah for you in sending your child to a camp where he learns that there are many myths and no evidence available to prefer one over the other. But that won’t work in many parts of the US.

  18. JS.. thanks for the explanation, it makes a lot of sense. If not on a conscious level, then very much subconscious. People engage in so many superstitious behaviour (english sp..old habits die hard [g]) and call themselves ‘christians’.. it is all very immature. Part of me can understand the fear of having nothing to hold onto. Now, I’m 44 and in my teens I converted from ‘nothing’ (secularism) to pentecostalism in Holland. Of course, being a teenager AND being into pentecostalism made me very narrowminded in some ways, although I could not dismiss everything ‘secular’ I was taught (being still rationally minded), as much as the church tried. I evolved spiritually, and after I emigrated to Canada (first, came to the US late 90s) I started seeing more conservatism if you will and shied away from that. I had an unnerving experience when I lived in Saudi Arabia for a few years (early 90s) and the announcer on BBC Worldservice made a comment that some ‘scrolls’ had been found eluding to the fact that Jesus Christ actually never died on the Cross etc. For a very long moment, the thought that ‘what IF that were to be true’ made me feel literally and psychologically ‘wobbly’. In one split moment I thought, wow.. all those centuries of missionaries going off to the East and converting (=killing) people telling them to repent and convert to Christianity, the Crusades, all the negatives that have come from people’s interpretation or USE of the Christian religion.. it weighed heavy on me. I thought it was the stuff of wars; finally the ‘rest’ of the world could take revenge on those Westerners for forcing religion on them and making them feel inferior because of their ‘barbaric’ beliefs. Well whoopdee.. nothing happened, only in my lighbulb moment of what Christianity had done detrimentally in the whole world. That moment I started to evolve thinking, what if.. now I have evolved past the point of ‘what if’.. but unfortunately do not have any company or anyone to discuss/philosophize with. Even my husband I don’t think has the psychological ‘nerve’ to consider ‘what if’ even..
    At any rate, my son is a thinker and even though his current most consistent train of thought involves legos and star wars etc.. the two teachers who are leading the camp are extremely smart men and were his teachers this past year. What better role models. Both my kids have/are attending a Montessori school where they’ve been taught to think independently and question things. Unfortunately, critical thinking is not exactly encouraged in most schools.
    At any rate, I live in Austin TX so speaking of creationists.. we need to keep an eye on them here as well! At least in Austin people are progressive enough that they would never allow such nonsense in public schools..
    actually, Barry Lynn talks about that as well in his book Piety and Politics.. it takes a very good look at fundamentalism in the US..

    this was an interesting article… we need to keep vigil on anything that might pass as something scientific when it is most definitely anything but..

    Ingrid

  19. Austin TX? The town every other Texan loves to hate because of all those pinko commies there?

    Careful about the barbarians at the gate, now, you here? 😉

  20. LOL…well, I do recall this ‘diddy’ ’bout, ‘you’re not from Texas but Texas loves you anyway’.. I’ll be going with that.. it makes driving out of Austin less scary!

    Ingrid

  21. Dr Slammy,

    I was referring to the fact that in science, as in society, revolutions are not uncommon. What constitutes “established scientific fact” today may well be overturned by new insights and new observations. That is not to say that the “scientific method” itself is broken or subject to distortion via talking-points.

    JS,

    You took my words and extracted a meaning that was not intended. Is the battle between ID and Evolution (as far as teaching either one is concerned) an ideological conflict? Absolutely:

    Wikipedia: “ideology is an organized collection of ideas … a comprehensive vision, a way of looking at things, as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society. The main purpose behind an ideology is to offer change in society through a normative thought process. Ideologies are systems of abstract thought applied to public matters and thus make this concept central to politics. Implicitly every political tendency entails an ideology whether or not it is propounded as an explicit system of thought.”

    Do evolution and ID fit that definition? Absolutely. The difference is that one (ID) is an inconsistent set of ideas, a house of cards built upon a single unjustified prior belief – complex systems cannot emerge from the laws of nature, because of the 2nd law, etc etc. Evolution is a paradigm which rests on a vast body of independent observations in fields ranging from geology to genetics.

    If there is anything else you’d like me to clarify I’ll be happy to take a gander at it. Barring that, I rest my case. Cheers.

    ps: incidentally, recent advances in our understanding of said complex systems promise to upend that solitary axiom of ID well and truly. But the battle will of course go on for a bit longer.

  22. tic:

    I was referring to the fact that in science, as in society, revolutions are not uncommon. What constitutes “established scientific fact” today may well be overturned by new insights and new observations. That is not to say that the “scientific method” itself is broken or subject to distortion via talking-points.

    Right – there are revelations. Advances. Etc. All of which are produced by the scientific method. I’m hard-pressed to think of a case where legit scientific advance has resulted from the political maneuverings of uninformed theological dogma.

    It seems to me that you’re trying to make a point that nobody is necessarily arguing with by using an example that’s simply indefensible.

  23. tictacgo:

    Thanks for coming back with a more complete post. It’s really quite difficult to do much with quick rhetorical hits without backup.

    I will agree with you that, if one expands the definition broadly enough, “ideology” can apply to anything. I could say, for instance, that in my ideology, jumping from an airplane at 10,000 feet without a parachute is quite likely to kill me, because that’s a part of a belief system that includes the effects of gravity. I could also assert that, in my ideology, overspending my income over a period of time is likely to lead to my bankruptcy, which is part of an ideological system of microeconomics. The Wikipedia definition you gave is so broad that the term basically loses any useful meaning. Wikepedia also errs in saying that ideoology’s main purpose is to offer change in society. Many ideologies, especially dominant ones, have sought to prevent change in society (see, “Priesthood, The, Ancient Egypt, 19th Dynasty and after”).

    What’s telling though, is the context in which you used the word “ideology.” The exact quote is:

    It seems to me, the problem with this whole debate is, how neither side seems terribly concerned about using the children themselves as pawns in the “adult’s” ideological battles.

    One “side,” in this context, is those who believe in science, and because the Theory of Evolution (writ large, notice, because the ToE is a complex structure constantly being reinforced by new discoveries) is about as rigorous as science gets, your implication is that, somehow, those who support science are somehow using children as “pawns.”

    That’s a heckuva statement. The idea of using children as pawns is extraodinarily distasteful to most people, and accusing them of such falls just short of accusing them of being pedophiles. There is also the implied question of, “When should one try to do what’s best for children? Does the attempt to do so always mean one is using children as “pawns”? If my “ideology” is that young girls cannot consent to sexual intercourse and, therefore, should be protected by law, and someone else’s ideology is that young girls are chattel to be taken at will, is my attempt to stop those people an example of my “ideology” making the children pawns?

    Your statement, by the way it was worded, gives equal moral/ethical weight to “ideologies.” Those who want real science in science classrooms are the same as those who don’t, because both sides are ideologues, right? That’s how the wording reads.

    BTW, I have yet to meet a real scientist who believes there is such thing as scientific facts. That’s a term rarely if ever used in college, or even upper-level high school, classes that are taught well. There is never “fact.” There are only those things that seem so highly probable that to treat them as anything else but fact, in a practical sense, would be perverse.

    But new data can turn reverse probability really, really quickly.

  24. Love this statement by JSO’Brien: “There is never “fact.” There are only those things that seem so highly probable that to treat them as anything else but fact, in a practical sense, would be perverse.

    But new data can turn reverse probability really, really quickly.”

    New data from the mind-bending and reality-shattering study of quantum physics is radically transforming our notion of “reality” from something solid that exists outside ourselves into buzzing waves of energy, or light, that become particles apparently caused by the act of our attention. This new view is causing a paradigm shift in our concept of who and what we are in relation who and what we are not. The idea that reality isn’t solid can be regarded as threatening and terrifying or welcomed as enlightening and empowering. If we dream what we call reality into existence, we have the power to be nowhere and everywhere at the same time, except that what we call the dimension of space-time isn’t real either. There is only light, possibilities are infinite, and reality, or what we like to call “fact” is but a probability.

    When you next enter your sleep cycle, give yourself permission to imagine . .

    Science is not a thing; science is a method. Intelligent design is not a method; it is a description of reality or belief and it is no more “real” or “right” than any other belief that doesn’t exist.

    Are we not collectively dreaming an end to the nightmare of Bush/Cheney and spreading the dream through the vehicle that is the internet?

    Okay, kiddies, the pool is open.

    Create the universe of infinite possibilities with your imagination and transform light into form with the infinite power of your attention.

  25. Remember Poe’s “Once upon a midnight dreary while I pondered weak and weary?” Ponder this, fellow grasshoppers: If all is light and nothing is real, then I’m not real and neither are you. What am I and what are you?

    Is the unrelenting onslaught of horribles in our lives the inevitable result of too many people focusing on amassing personal power and wealth without guilt at the expense of others because those others are different, unwashed, and unworthy? Perhaps we had to suffer through this experience to unite and focus on creating a new vision. I believe that people will look back at this time in history and regard it with the same awe that we regard the enlightenment.

    Savor the moment because we are destroying the old bankrupt structure of ideas and values. We have the power and, like it or, we are creating a new paradigm made possible by the methodology we call science.

  26. See this is the problem. Y’all want to focus on that one single word “ideology”, define it in whatever way YOU think is most appropriate (Wikipedia is too general, etc etc) and then exocriate my comments while totally missing, or ignoring the point I tried to make initially.

    Dr. Slammy, in your words, I am “using ID, which is anti-science, in attempting to make an argument about the fallibility of science”. I’m sorry. That makes no sense. You’re putting words in my mouth. More like shoving them down my throat. My statement about the nature of scientific change was merely in response to your comment (#16) which began … “you seem to think …” Now I’m not sure what you seem to think about what I think but let me be clear about what I think:

    ID Bad, Evolution Good. ID not science, Evolution Science.

    Before you conclude anything else about what I may or may not think, please read my posts again.

    JS,

    You say: ” …your implication is that, somehow, those who support science are somehow using children as “pawns.” ” Where did I say anything close to that? What are you going to say next:

    “Tictacgo’s implication is that those who don’t have pets, hate animals” ???

    Look instead of claiming that I hold certain points of view such as “Science is ideology”, please next time, ask me to clarify what it is I meant (as Brian did) instead of making an assumption about my beliefs, casting that assumption as fact and then bludgeoning me with it. And on my part, I will be sure to avoid making rhetorical “hit and runs”. Cool?

    And your analogies are going from bad to weird … from teaching your kid derivative trading to taking teenage girls as “chattels”. WTF?

    This thread seems to be degenerating rather fast. If you wish to lob any further criticism in my direction please go back and read my initial comments and also Brian’s response to what I said, and please do refrain from imputing assertions that I have not made such as “Science is ideology” to me. Thank you.

  27. tictacgo:

    Most of the people who comment here earn a great deal of respect for admitting inaccuracies and/or rephrasing, reworking, and rethinking their comments so that they come closer to what they really mean. There are those, of course, who will defend even the most lack-witted comments to the bitter end rather than admit being less-than-perfect in their original statements.

  28. Tictacgo, I think the “pawns” thing came from this:

    “neither side seems terribly concerned about using the children themselves as pawns in the adults’ ideological battles.”

    As I read it, you feel that both evolutionists (“supporters of science”) and ID advocates have no qualms about using children’s education as a battleground for their own ideological purposes. I don’t know if that’s what you meant, but that’s what I got.

    I liked this very much:

    “Likewise if we try to talk down (to) our ideological opponents with contempt and derision, we risk giving rise to true fanaticism in those we wish to win over.”

    I agree in general; I particularly believe that when our opponents become insulting the best counter is to become even more punctiliously respectful. However, I also know that sometimes you just get fed up. ID is the HIV of the educational body: it’s infectious, it’s invidious, it shifts to resist opposition, and every time we think it’s on the decline, it pops up again. Frustrating.

    Finally, the strange thing about this thread to me is that I can’t find anything substantive on which you and JS and Sam actually disagree.

  29. Euphrosyne,

    I very much appreciate your input. To answer your question:

    “As I read it, you feel that both evolutionists (”supporters of science”) and ID advocates have no qualms about using children’s education as a battleground for their own ideological purposes. I don’t know if that’s what you meant, but that’s what I got.”

    That is essentially what I was trying to say. At least that is the feeling I sometimes get from what I’ve read and seen.

    Again, thanks for your take. When the boys start squabbling, sometimes it takes a woman’s perspective to clear things up 🙂 cheers.

  30. tic: First you’re criticizing me for shoving words down your throat, but now you’re thanking Euph for clearing things up – and in the end you’re saying exactly what I said you were. I’m lost.

    You’re equating two groups: pro-science advocates and those who would replace science teaching with a Sunday School lesson. Look at your frame – both groups are using their children as pawns in an “ideological” battle.

    Well, I guess that in its rawest, basest sense science is an ideological pursuit. So there’s probably a sense in which your position is technically accurate. But it’s a frame – as stated here – that places the two ideologies on a level footing and presents parents who want their children educated as more or less the same as parents who want their children (and every other parent’s children) miseducated.

    You say elsewhere that science is good and ID bad and I believe that’s what you think. But you can’t expect to SAY what you admit you’re saying in comment #33 and not be challenged on it.

  31. I’m with you, Sam. Tic just confirmed to Euphrosyne that he’s been saying he said he didn’t say.

    Well, there are certain people I debate, like you, who make me smarter, help me clarify my thoughts, sometimes convince me to change my mind, and the like. That’s why I participate in these conversations and debates. Then, there are people who are not in the least helpful that way. I just ignore them once I’ve found out they’re not useful.

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