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The Airing of Grievances
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
 
A Little Afternoon Deep Thinking


For my first lengthy post-turkey and post-flu entry on AofG, I would like to thank Electablog for linking to this frightening San Francisco Chronicle piece. It concerns a Dover, PA high school that is ordering its biology teachers to include the teaching of the "intelligent design" argument into its curriculum. While it's not an explicit statement as such, it becomes pretty apparent that this is a not-to-subtle way to put creationism on the same platform as widely accepted scientific theory.

Now, AofG doesn't pretend to know where we came from and doesn't look with disdain on any of the many viewpoints out there. Except for the Raelians. Those guys are fucking nuts. Fact of the matter is, the various theories of evolution have holes in them, owing mostly to the fact that the entirety of fossil and bone evidence of pre-homo sapiens man can fit neatly in to the bed of a pick-up truck (I'd like to thank Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything for that little tidbit - check it out, fastest I've ever read a 500-page book). But at least they're science. Personally, I have no problem with creationism-type theories being taught in schools. So long as they're not taught in science classes. Or in public schools.

Interestingly, the folks in Dover have chosen the argument from design as the basis for the inclusion of anti-evolutionary thought as scientific theory. You know the argument from design, right? In a world with so many complex interactions on a micro-biological level, surely there must be someone manning the controls and all that? I leave you with Bertrand Russell on that note:
When you come to look into this argument from design, it is a most astonishing thing that people can believe that this world, with all the things that are in it, with all its defects, should be the best that omnipotence and omniscience have been able to produce in millions of years. I really cannot believe it. Do you think that, if you were granted omnipotence and omniscience and millions of years in which to perfect your world, you could produce nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan or the Fascists? Moreover, if you accept the ordinary laws of science, you have to suppose that human life and life in general on this planet will die out in due course: it is a stage in the decay of the solar system; at a certain stage of decay you get the sort of conditions of temperature and so forth which are suitable to protoplasm, and there is life for a short time in the life of the whole solar system. You see in the moon the sort of thing to which the earth is tending -- something dead, cold, and lifeless.
Talk amongst yourselves.

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