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Faith-Based Science

Steve Olson, a science writer, does an excellent job of explaining, in layman’s terms, what a scientific theory is and why the people pushing the mysticism known as "intelligent" design don’t even come close to the same concept.

When scientists speak of the theory of gravitation, cell theory or evolutionary theory, they are talking about scientific concepts that have been so thoroughly tested that they are very unlikely to change. Theories are the results of decades or centuries of scientific effort. They draw on many interconnected observations and ideas. They are the end products of science, not stages on the way to the truth.

It would be nice if the school board members and politicians who are pushing for creationist crap to be given equal footing with evolutionary concepts in high school classrooms would read this article. It would be nice, but I doubt it would help.

There is no science – indeed no intelligence – behind "intelligent" design. As Olson points out "creationist organizations such as the Discovery Institute in Seattle are spending most of their money on public relations rather than research". Marketing the hypothesis is the whole point.


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  1. Tony Bologna

    After I stifled my knee-jerk reaction to pooh-pooh “intelligent design”, and did a little reading on the matter. I didn’t change my mind at all, but I learned a few things:
    1) “Intelligent design” isn’t the same as creationism, and to equate the two is, IMHO, unfair. It’s convenient for opponents of “intelligent design” to lump the two together, but one is definitely not as stupid as the other.
    2) What separates believers in a God-guided evolution (intelligent designers) from believers in a non-God-guided evolution (Darwinists)is, simply put, Faith (which, incidentally, I don’t have). My parents have it, one of my sisters has it, but somehow I don’t.
    3) If one has Faith in God, then it’s not a stretch to believe that God has a hand somewhere in the evolutionary process. A person of Faith may even be obligated to believe it. Maybe I’m talking out of my… ya know…

    As far as discussing “intellignet design” in public schools, I can see the appeal of mentioning (not “teaching”) “intelligent design” only to debunk it, in the same way that one would debunk creationism or the flat earth theory. But that would involve a level of confidence that I do not have that all or most teachers would discuss it in that way, versus simply saying
    “some people believe…” and never get around to the debunking part.

    My two (non-educator) cents…


  2. ptt

    “some people believe the earth is flat, but…”
    “some people believe money grows on trees, but…”
    “some people believe my palms will grow hairy if I… , but…”
    “some people believe that an infinite number of fairies can dance on a pinhead, but…”
    “some people believe Jim Jones/David Koresh/Haile Selassie is the {insert number}th coming of {insert fabled ‘savior’}, but…”

    where should educators stop when announcing disclaimers for all of this “some people believe la-di-da” stuff? Teachers won’t be done until well after summer vacation, and then parents will complain about lack time given to teaching the three R’s.

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