Friday, May 20, 2005


I have come across several excellant analysis of Intelligent Design.

The first, by Stan Cox (on AlterNet), entitled Monkey Trial or Kangaroo Court describes the proceeding from the viewpoint of one who was there.

A snipet:
For three long days, many in the audience had been wondering which witnesses were correct -- those who said the new standards would not inject religion into the curriculum or those who said or implied that they would.

In his testimony, Calvert cleared up that confusion. To meet the legal requirement of neutrality as he defined it, schools either must allow religious teaching in biology classes or else allow nothing at all to be taught about how biological species come to be.

The ID forces' reliance on federal law is significant. After the hearings, Irigonegaray told reporters, "What we saw in there was religious extremism, and what we are seeing in Kansas is happening all across this country."

The second, by Andrew Gumbel (in the LA City Beat), entitled Not in Kansas Anymore is an excellent analysis of what creationists are trying to accomplish.
A snipet:

Another manifestation of the misdirection of the ID movement is the ludicrous notion that high schools are the appropriate venue for intricate debate about the finer points of evolutionary science. Any public school science teacher will tell you it’s already a minor miracle if a 16-year-old can accurately summarize The Origin of Species, or pinpoint the Galapagos Islands on an atlas. Raising questions about the cellular structure of the flagellum is unlikely to exercise most students until grad school.

The only reason for raising such questions before state education authorities is not to deepen the scientific understanding of teenagers but rather to sow deliberate confusion. It is about denigrating mainstream science as biased against religion – which it is not; it merely regards questions of the supernatural to be outside the realm of scientific inquiry – and by extension bringing God and open avowals of faith into the public school system.

The hearings in Kansas made that abundantly clear. The state school board members who sat in on the witness testimony – Christian fundamentalists all – were so ignorant of the subject matter it was laughable. Board member Connie Morris talked about the Darwinian notion of a prebiotic soup like a patron in a restaurant who decides to launch an irrational boycott campaign against mulligatawny. “There was a speck that landed in the soup?” she asked one witness. “What was that? Was it a cell?” Her colleague Kathy Martin admitted on day two she hadn’t even read through the competing science standards documents before her.

His comment about the press two paragraphs earlier is definately worth reading.

Finally, Burt Humburg (at the Panda's Thumb) has a fascinating post called Creationist Fears, Creationst Behaviors. The piece is an interesting analysis of the what motivates creationists and also of the strategy used by scientists to respond to the creationist challenge.

A snipet:

One thing that was interesting about the creationist’s arguments was the certainty with which he held his YEC positions. As anyone who has read Robert Pennock’s book Tower of Babel knows, there is a great diversity of creationist thought in the US. So, I asked the obvious question:

“Sir, there are forms of creationism other than YEC, such as OEC and ID creationism. How can you be so certain about the age of the earth when it appears to be a legitimate controversy within the creationist community?”

His answer was, “All those other forms of creationism allow for the possibility of an old earth. If death entered the world before the fall, then there is no need for Christian salvation. That is why YEC is true.”