Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Stupidity from… the Right

In the following article, syndicated columnist David Limbaugh examines the debate over teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution and intelligent design in public schools. Limbaugh’s arguments, however, distort the true nature of the debate.

Our secular popular culture is throwing a fit over President Bush's endorsement of teaching in public schools the controversies surrounding Darwinian theory. Note that the president did not recommend that the teaching of Darwinism be banned in public schools, merely that the theory of intelligent design (ID) ought to be taught as well. Mr. Bush said, "I think part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought."

Darwin’s theory of evolution, however, does not preclude the possibility of ID. “The narrow or specific interpretation of Darwinism sees evolution as the result of selection by the environment acting on a population of organisms competing for resources.”

Even in this narrow interpretation of Darwinism, there is nothing that counters the idea of an intelligent designer that might have created the rules and laws that govern the development of life on earth. When pondering the seeming contradictions of quantum mechanics, Albert Einstein declared: “God does not play dice.” Einstein believed in God. When Einstein looked at the universe, he saw a place that operated according to very specific laws; laws that he believed were created by a higher power/intelligence. Quantum mechanics seemed to contradict the superb logic of physics, hence the “God does not play dice” declaration.

Intelligent DESIGN.

“Design” is the operative word. The theory of evolution explains how and why organisms are designed in certain ways without making any value judgments about who or what—if anything—started the whole evolution ball rolling. For some reason, Limbaugh distorts this key distinction.

The main players in the ID movement are not even insisting on that much. Discovery Institute, for example, opposes the mandatory teaching of ID in public schools but favors requiring students to be exposed to criticisms of Darwin's theory. But whether you believe ID theory ought to get equal billing with Darwinian theory, some lesser treatment, or that students should at least be apprised of alleged chinks in the Darwinian armor, what's all the fuss about? Don't academics purport to champion free and open inquiry? What, then, are they so afraid of regarding the innocuous introduction into the classroom of legitimate questions concerning Darwinism?

What “academics” are worried about is not that the theory of evolution will be critically examined, but that public school teachers will put the belief in creationism on equal par with the theory of evolution. Remember: We are not talking about the hypothesis of evolution, but the theory—meaning that there is A LOT of scientific evidence that backs-up the theory. Creationism, on the other hand, is not a theory or a hypothesis—it’s a religious belief. And in light of all the empirical scientific evidence available to us today, it’s a pretty silly one at that.

Their defensiveness toward challenges to their dogma is inexplicable unless you understand their attitude as springing from a worldview steeped in strong, secular predispositions that must be guarded with a blind religious fervor.

No, it’s more an issue of rational people who want to guard against actual blind religious fervor creeping into our public schools under the guise of science. Who are the proponents of creationism? They tend to be tongue-speaking, venomous snake charming religious folks who take the bible literally. Consider: Even the Catholic church accepts the theory of evolution. This is not an anti-Christian crusade on behalf of the secular; it’s a battle to keep religious fundamentalism out of public schools.

Limbaugh’s article is simply dishonest. Like I said, he distorts the issue because even he knows he can’t rationally argue in favor of creationism, lest he look like an idiot. So, instead he distorts the issue in order to make his opponents—whoever we are—look like dogmatists.

The bottom line is this: For one, religious beliefs of ANY kind should not be taught in public schools (unless it's a comparative religion class or the like). Two, while the theory of evolution is just that—a theory—there is no way that creationism can be correct. We know for a fact that the earth is billions of years old, not thousands of years old. We know for a fact that humankind is much older than the Bible suggests. So why on earth do we want to teach our children “scientific theories” that we are know are wrong?

If you want to read the rest of Limbaugh’s stupid article, click


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zak, I'm afraid that evolutionary theory has become little more than a religious belief, complete with zealots who refuse to accept the irrationality of their position. There's no proof that humankind is older than the Bible suggests, since recorded human history does not go back further than the Bible, and the oldest human settlements are Biblical, like Jericho and Jaffa. Human footprints have been found in coal and limestone deposits supposedly hundreds of millions of years old, and there is no adequate theory to explain, say, the evolution of flying insects, birds, glow-worms and the like.
Plus there are the profound amoral implications of evolutionism - implications realised by Marx, Nietzsche, Hitler and so on - which leads me to conclude that belief in a just Creator is infinitely preferable.

7:22 AM  
Blogger semite1973 said...

I don't understand why A or THE creator couldn't have created the universe for the expressed purpose of later evolving life inside of it according to specific laws of nature. That seems to make more sense than the taking the Biblical account literally.

Ryan, perhaps belief in a "just Creator is infinitely preferable," but is it infinitely more likely, especially in light of the scientific evidence?

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The kind of "scientific evidence" that allows VIOXX and other shite onto the market?

I think that as lowly humans we are on a "need to know" basis.

"Classified, Sir, Yes Sir!"

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The theory of evolution/origin of species etc. came from the ancient Greeks - Anaximander - not Darwin, and it remains unproven theory.

Like much of established science, which continually moves the goalposts as new "evidence" comes to light, in any field.

12:02 PM  
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7:53 PM  

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