Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Hey, Cobb County, Check This Out!

In honor of their latest failed attempt to remove evolution from the realm of scientific fact, I give you this smackdown by John Derbyshire. I never thought I would link to anything in the National Review, much less by Derbyshire, for any reason other than to eviscerate, ridicule, or otherwise berate it, but I suppose there's a first (only) time for anything.

The thing is, he's exactly right. I've been hearing these same dimwitted arguments since I was in high school (a time that is receding uncomfortably quickly into the past these days). Intelligent Design "Theory" is just creationism expressed in less biblical terms. A design infers a designer, etc. It was refuted handily then (more times than you can shake a stick at), but they don't even bother to change their arguments because, for them, their ideas are received a priori rather than perceived a posteriori.

The funny thing is, the last time this theory was in vogue it was used for quite different purposes. If my education doesn't let me down here, the idea of design was prominent in the Enlightenment, before any real modern science had been done in the fields of geology and paleontology. And at that time, the idea of design was a way of deists like Thomas Jefferson to sidestep the puritans and the whole biblical version of events by glossing over them by taking the easy way out without getting into trouble.

So, here's what we're left with concerning modern Intelligent Design "Theory": ideas that not only leaves out everything accomplished by Charles Darwin, Stephen Jay Gould, and many, many other prominent biologists, but also ignores such bedrock scientific principles as Uniformitarianism as pioneered by James Hutton. I may be mixing apples and oranges a bit here, but what the heck. "Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, /(I am large, I contain multitudes.)". Apologies to Uncle Walt.

In any case, it just goes to show that these folks are serving an agenda, not a genuine search for understanding.

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