Dubya continues to provoke me to the very core of my bitchitude. He’s an easy target – so full of delusional, prevaricating, sleazy and backward bullshit that the biggest problem is choosing which aspect of his evil administration to rant about. Cheney, Condi, Rove, Scooter…the cast of characters calls yet another Pulp Fiction quote to mind: “We should have fuckin’ shotguns for this.”
In any case, I’m gonna leave the Idiot President alone this month in favour of an education-related topic that, for some freakish and moronic reason which totally escapes me, is drawing a lot of press (rather than being dismissed for the complete and utter foolishness it is): Intelligent Design.
Intelligent Design is the idea that the universe, and particularly life on this planet, is such a complex, finely balanced and seemingly perfect arrangement that it must have been created or directed by some external thinking planner (God) as opposed to the random and unguided forces of natural selection and the laws of physics. Proponents of this “theory” are lobbying to have the concept presented as an alternative to the Theory of Evolution in high school science classrooms.
In one American town embroiled in this argument, the citizens were so outraged by this bit of foolishness that they voted out their entire Creationist school board, prompting Pat Robertson to suggest that the town had abandoned God and would suffer some cataclysmic disaster. Good Christian, Pat.
Let’s be clear about one thing: If you want to believe that God created everything – even if you want to insist that the earth is a mere 6000 years old (as some creationists do) and that God scatters dinosaur bones about just to fuck with us – well, be my guest. If you want to believe that the earth was created in it’s entirety last week and all our memories were implanted by super-intelligent space aliens, again be my guest. However, if you want to teach those ideas as part of a SCIENCE curriculum, you’re going to need some better evidence than the bible, or the shoddy, ass-backward, circular reasoning the ID camp relies upon.
ID supporters argue that complex biochemical systems could not possibly have been produced by evolution because they are “irreducibly complex.” Just like mousetraps, these systems cannot function unless each of their parts is in place. Since natural selection can only choose among systems that are already working (say the IDiots), there is no way that Darwinian mechanisms could have fashioned the complex systems found in living cells. And if such systems could not have evolved, they must have been designed. That is the totality of the biochemical “evidence” for intelligent design.
To explain the origin of life by invoking a supernatural Designer is to explain precisely nothing, for it leaves unexplained the origin of the Designer. You have to say something like “God was always there”, and if you allow yourself that kind of lazy way out, you might as well just say “DNA was always there”, or “Life was always there”, and be done with it.
When one is dealt a bridge hand of thirteen cards, the probability of being dealt that particular hand is less than one in 600 billion. Still, it would be absurd for someone to be dealt a hand, examine it carefully, calculate that the probability of getting it is less than one in 600 billion, and then conclude that he must not have been dealt that very hand because it is so very improbable.
This is the lame reasoning that sits at the core of ID.
I have no problem with ID being taught in school…so long as it’s taught in a theology or philosophy class. The argument for God by design is an interesting bit of mental gymnastics and a great jumping off point for the various arguments which purport to demonstrate the existence of Him/Her/It. Of course, I would want the answers to each of those arguments taught in the same segment.
But the science classroom is where we teach science, which might be loosely defined as follows:
Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena; formulation of a hypothesis to explain the phenomena; use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations, and performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.
Not even the IDiots claim to have observed God, or to have developed an experiment which might reveal God. Until they do, they have no business in the science curriculum.
Now, all you blind watchmakers and mutating strands of DNA fuck off. I’m busy.