Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Intelligent Design Just Isn't Science

The ongoing battle to force Not so Intelligent Design into South Carolina's science classrooms is headed back to the Department of Education after the EOC voted 10-2 to add language to the Biology standards that would allow the teaching of Intelligent Design.

Fortunately, the Department of Education is the group that makes the final determination on the issue, the EOC point of view is just advisory (and political). Unfortunately, one of the persons who drafted the language that the EOC endorsed is Bob Staton, who is a Republican running for State Superintendent of Education.

It is clear that this is just another effort to force a fundamentalist Christian religious perspective into the public schools. Rep. Mike Fair (R-Greenville) is the big propionate of Not so Intelligent Design, going so far as to pay to fly in two Discovery Institute approved 'experts' to testify on this issue. He is arguing that "We've worked hard at coming up with some balance". The trouble is.

Science is not about balance.

Science is about proven truth and tested theories, and when you look at the history of the creationism movement (now the Intelligent Design movement) it is clear that creationism was not and Intelligent Design is not science. The Chicago Tribune has a good article that looks at how science that is being done right now, science that is only a few years old, is destroying the Not so Intelligent Design thesis.

ID tends to argue that some aspects of biology are so complex that they could not have evolved. These features had to have been custom designed by a higher being (this could be God, or Space Aliens, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster). Only 10 years ago they pointed to the Eye, the tails of sperm, blood clotting and immune system evolution as proof of ID.

Well in the last decade scientist who have been studying evolution got to the point where they could start to study these varied areas. Guess what, Those systems, once considered so "irreducibly complex" as to defy understanding are now starting to be understood.


This understanding is not coming in an effort to discredit ID, but simply as a matter of course in the ongoing study of the theory of evolution.

This is where it becomes clear the ID is not science. If Intelligent Design was the scientific principal in place, there would be no effort to study this. The question has been resolved, God (or Space Aliens or the Flying Spaghetti Monster) did it. Not so Intelligent Design is actually an anti-science, encouraging students to not ask questions.

And the Republicans in South Carolina think it should be taught to our students.

I guess it is getting close to the time to warm up the lawyers who took on the Dover case. As a concerned parent of two children who could be impacted, this faux science can not be allowed into our schools.



Ted said...

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I think you would be great to participate.

NotVeryBright said...

Sounds like you would be the ideal lead Plaintiff.

Deacon Tim said...

I'm not as upset aboout Mike Fair who, after all has only evolved to the level of Homo Whackjobus), but about Bob Staton's cynical performance. Staton no more believes in ID than you do in spontaneous human combustion, but he has forged this "compromise" so carve votes off Karen Floyd's right-wing slab.

John said...

It is amazing how many people in the Republican party will support stuff they know isn't valid to suck up to the religious right.

The good news is this tactic of trying to create little loopholes for ID to slide through is failing in other parts of the country, so maybe there is a small chance it will fail here.

Ashley said...

Irreducible complexity does not mean "really, really complex" or "too complex to understand".

It refers to biological functions that, when reduced to their component parts offer no competitive advantage and therefore, according to evolutionary theory, have no impetus for their propagation in the gene pool.

Spontaneously organizing complexity exists in nature--crystals and molecules, for example. In those cases we understand and observe the forces that drive self-organization.

We have no such explanation for why the component parts of, say, an eye would self-organize across millions of generations if none of the parts is useful by itself (rendering natural selection irrelevant). That in turn dramatically lessens the probability of evolving an eye; instead of a semi-plausible series of single, random steps it requires an implausible chain of many random events.

Whether you agree or disagree, why bother to write about what you won't take the time to understand?

John said...

I suspect you should consider looking at yourself when you ask about writing about what you don't understand, since it is clear you don't understand this at all.

As a primer for you, I think you may want to consider starting here, and quit using busted DI talking points

Anonymous said...

for a whole new look at the issue, take a look at
Makes sense out of fundamentalism and, oops, Catholicism