Friday, August 26, 2005

Weighing in on Creationism vs. Evolution

I typically don't avoid the topic but rather don't actively bring it up. We all have to live in this world after all.
Watching the histrionics of late and seeing the veil being pulled over educational eyes in Kansas and elsewhere is too important to remain completely silent. As a friend of mine recently said, the rational have to start saying that it's not okay to believe everything. Some opinions are actually worth more than others. Some beliefs are not valid. To paraphrase Stephen Pinker, cargo planes built by science fly; ones built by cargo cults don't.
Most of the attempts to sneak religion back into the classroom are based on the idea of teaching the controversy.
The debate between Intelligent Design Creationism and Evolution is a non-starter. The actual debate between the upstart theory and the then-orthodoxy was over before any living person was born. Orthodoxy ceded its place to the upstart. Since that time, evolution has only become more refined and more supported by endless discoveries in every field.
So the fight is over.
Evolution as a theory is supported by all branches of science and supports them in return. Like a tapestry, if you don't like the evolution pattern in the corner yoiu can pull a few threads to change, but you distort the astrophysics picture in the corner. And that gets noticed.
IDC supporters, don't really want the controversy taught, despite their rhetoric. They want god in the classroom at any cost; their god, not yours. Bending the evidence or presenting well refuted arguments is not an obstacle.
It's hard to imagine that they want to see teachers and students really contrasting the two perspectives. The students will notice that the alternative theory in biology class doesn't have the hallmarks of science that they found about in chemistry class.
Teacher: "Today we'll learn about the controversy surrounding science and Intelligent Design. The controversy is this, how long will people allow special interests to clog up Education Board meetings like so much human cholesterol?"
For those interested in seeing a real controversy taught, add the following words to the curicculum: "Of course, based on the evidence the designer is Allah."
If there is a place for IDC, it's in Social Studies or Comparative Religion classes, not in the science classroom, for the same reason that Sociology isn't taught in Accounting class.
Bible based astronomy and geology don't have value. Neither does biblical biology.