Intelligent Design?

Did anyone read Doonesbury last Sunday? You know, Doonsebury used to be one of my favorite cartoons, back when it was actually funny. (Yeah, I know, that was about 2 decades ago.) I especially loved the Vietnam-era Doonesbury, with Phred the peace-loving North Vietnamese guy. But, those days are long gone. Gary Trudeau lost his sense of humor, and his sense of reality, a long, long time ago.

Anyway, Sunday’s comic was very timely, dealing with Intelligent Design. The cartoon demonstrated one very important fact: most people don’t have a flippin’ clue about the issues, including Gary Trudeau.

This week, District Judge John Jones III added his voice to the issue, issuing a 139-page (double-spaced) opinion ruling that ID is Creationism under a false label. I’ve started reading the opinion (I’m on page 40), and have several thoughts; however, I am reserving final judgment on the decision until I read the whole stinkin’ ruling. I’ve probably read hundreds of court opinions over the last 19 years, and so far, this is not one of the easiest to read, and definitely one of the longest.

My first thought was that the good judge was just as ignorant as Gary Trudeau, and he might be; however, if (and this is a very big “if”) the opinion states the testimony correctly, he probably ruled correctly on the evidence. This could be one of the worst defended cases I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a few bad ones). I think I would have had to have ruled against the School Board, just based on the defense witnesses.

But here are some of the glaring issues that makes this case, and others like it, completely inane:

  • Who decides what is Science? As far as I know, there is no constitutional amendment defining what is, or what is not, science. “Junk science” is all over the place, including courtrooms all over the country, and I wouldn’t doubt that it’s also in our schools. These self-proclaimed “scientists” and teachers of “science” who are so concerned about keeping God out of the laboratories have conned the country into believing that there is a bright line that distinguishes science from anything else. It’s a farce.
  • We’ve lost the original intent of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. If the founding fathers had truly intended for a “separation of church and state” as interpreted today, why does our money say “In God We Trust?” Obviously, the intent was not to ban any mention of a higher power.
  • Divorcing science from philosophy is bad. Many classic sci-fi and horror stories make this point, and it’s a good one. Just as a legal system is inexorably tied to someone’s morality, science – the study of why things are and how things work – is undoubtedly tied to philosophy, which is also the study of why things are and how things work. There are different methodologies, but to pretend to study “science” without consideration of the other questions is downright stupid.
  • No court can decide the issue. All the court can do is (supposedly) rule on evidence it is presented, based on existing laws. If, for example, the Creationists (or ID-ers) are poor litigators or are just plain stupid, they will lose. Losing proves only that they lost.
  • The Court’s ruling should only apply to these set of facts. The court was ruling on specific language mandated by the School Board. If that language is the official language of everyong who believes in Intelligent Design, that is one thing; however, in this case it seems the language was pretty poor.
  • Some of the Judge’s conclusions seem to be based on flawed information, not presented in the case itself. He discusses the history of Creationism and Intelligent Design, claiming it is based on “fundamentalism” and lumping all creationists as fundamentalists. I take offense at that … I don’t even know if this analysis would apply to all of the creationist school board members involved in the case. It seems absurd for the judge to be discussing church history and theology, wheh it is obvious he really hasn’t a clue about these issues.

There are many more issues to consider, based on sound logic and common sense. I’ll finish reading the case sometime over the Christmas holiday, and continue this rant …

2 thoughts on “Intelligent Design?”

  1. If you want to make a meaningful contribution to the subject of evolution, go get a masters in genetic biology.

    Masters? You set the bar for experts that low?

    Science is a matter of truth not political opinion.

    Truth is a matter for philosophy. Science is a methodology for studying observable phenomena.

    SO you want to ditch courts.

    I didn’t say that. I merely pointed out the limitation of court decisions. The Dover court did not rule that ID was Creationism for all times, in all places. It has a very limited scope. By the way, many of the IDists do not support the mandatory teaching of ID as science. They merely want all of evolutionary science – including the data that disagrees with the prevailing theories – to be taught.

  2. Who decides what is Science?
    Experts decide what is science. If you want to make a meaningful contribution to the subject of evolution, go get a masters in genetic biology.
    As far as I know, there is no constitutional amendment defining what is, or what is not, science.
    And nor should there be. Science is a matter of truth not political opinion. See above.
    Divorcing science from philosophy is bad.
    No-one is divorcing science from philosophy. The nature of what is and is not science is in fact a topic of philosophy and is defined (once again) by experts on the subject on the basis of what works and makes sense not on personal prejudices.
    If, for example, the Creationists (or ID-ers) are poor litigators or are just plain stupid, they will lose. Losing proves only that they lost.
    That applies to any case under any situation. SO you want to ditch courts. What do you suggest we replace them with? Nevertheless, I should bloody hope they lost! Defending a logically inconsistent position with (by definition) no evidence, the real indictment of the courts would have been if they had won.
    lumping all creationists as fundamentalists Defending a contradictory belief which flies in the face of the evidence? Sounds pretty fundamentalist to me.

    So, in summary, a judge and someone you used to respect disagree with you and suddenly they’re both fools. I guess you’re the only one in step?

    The science that agrees with Trudeau and the judge.

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