Thursday, January 20, 2005

Georgia on my mind

I don't get this. Here's what the text of the sticker should have read, if the Intelligent Design folks were honest.
This textbook contains material on "sci-ence." "Sci-ence" is a collection of theory, not fact, regarding the nature of the universe. "Sci-ence" is never proven true, but only fails to be proven false. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.

Creationist explanations such as Intelligent Design for natural phenomena, on the other hand, cannot be proven true or false because they depend on an omnipotent Creator Who made the world including human memories of a previous world last week, last year, or six thousand years ago, and filled it with logically consistent clues that are designed to lead scientifically inclined humans who are too smart for their own britches down a wide highway of reason to their everlasting home in eternal hellfire.
Now isn't that better?

Evolution vs. Creation: A False Dichotomy

Evolution doesn't explain the beginning of life; it isn't supposed to; it doesn't claim to. There are various primordial soup experiments going on that are an attempt to test a wild hypothesis about amino acids forming out of organic chemicals, and cells forming from amino acids. For instance, one of the tests recently performed on Titan was an analysis of the chemical soup of Titan's atmosphere. But these experiements are chemistry, not biology. Evolution is biology, specifically a structural analysis of taxonomy, which is a human imposed structure to the varieties of life in our world.

Evolution is a theory (as are all the mechanisms of science) to explain why there are some dark brown people, some light brown people, and some pale pinkish people in the world yet we are all human beings, homo sapiens sapiens. Evolution is a theory that explains why until 200 or so years ago there was no such thing as a bulldog and now we have lineages of bulldogs that breed true. It explains why there are different varieties of cats and cockroaches, lizards and ladybugs, monkeys and mosquitos. The theory of evolution is useful. By utilizing it, people are able to breed improved farm animals, graft and hybridize plants, and make other advances in agriculture and horticulture. Intelligent Design certainly could explain how animals develop distinct breeds or even distinct species by an arbitrary exercise of divine will, but it cannot be used by people to breed improved farm animals, hybridize plants, or for any other purposes. God, after all, is not beholden to man's desire. So, while Intelligent Design is certainly internally consistent, it doesn't lend itself to any scientific understanding of the world, or to an engineered approach to changing it.

When the rubber meets the road, the test of science is "can it be used to produce something?" This is the engineering test.

Can you engineer something with God, the force behind Intelligent Design? I don't think you can. I don't see why most people would want to. Religious people would think of it as blasphemous; atheists would think of it as futile; people who believe in witchcraft and magical spells would think it possible, but I don't think Cobb County is full of wiccans and practicing sorcerors.

Summing up, here's my question for ID proponents.
Q: Why would you want to change your religion into a science? Is that a satisfying prospect?

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