Join Date: 11-17-05
Location: Romulus, MI
Purely as counterpoint for the article (which seems to be based upon creationism, though I could be mistaken), I'll post this, which was orginally posted in a forum I forgot the name of a long time ago.
So, I get home Friday night from getting the crap pounded out of me in Kung Fu. I'm tired, I'm hungry, I'm just about to start making dinner, and there's a knock at my door. I open it.
On the opposite side of said door stands a young woman in her mid-to-late 30's, blonde hair, wearing a long, dark trenchcoat; along with a young man in roughtly the same age bracket. He was wearing a toque, so I don't know what colour his hair was. They were both standing there looking awfully self-righteous, and I immediately thought: "aw, crap. Not again."
"Excuse me, sir, we were wondering if we could borrow a few minutes of your time."
"That depends; how are you planning on giving them back?"
"Never mind. What can I do for you?" I replied, deciding on the spot that they apparently had no sense of humour.
This was gonna be fun.
"As I'm sure you're aware, the Dover area School Board has made Intelligent Design a part of its science curriculum as an alternative evolutionary theory. We were wondering if you would support a motion to make similar changes to Calgary's public school curriculum."
"Well, public schools do not generally have religion classes..."
"No, we would like to include it in the science curriculum."
"Absolutely, sir. Evolution is a theory (and you could actually hear him stress the word) whose time has passed. It is time to consider alternatives." The man told me.
I glanced down at my watch. I decided that I could spare a few minutes, so I said: "very well, I'll hear you out. Please explain to me the scientific theory of Intelligent Design."
"Intelligent Design suggests that as opposed to a Big Bang..."
"Wait a minute," I held up my hand, "back up a second. I thought you were talking about Intelligent Design as an alternative to Evolution. Why are you discussing the Big Bang?"
"Well, Evolutionary theory (and yes, he stressed it again) states that the universe began with the Big Bang and..."
"No it doesn't."
"Evolution is a biological concept; the idea that we developed and became more complex organisms over a process of mutation and propagation of beneficial genes. The Big Bang is a cosmological concept; the idea that all energy of the universe once occupied a single point in space. Two very different concepts. So, are you suggesting that Intelligent Design is an alternative to Evolution, or an alternative to the Big Bang?"
"But you just said that you wanted to teach it in the science curriculum as an alternative to Evolution. Since I have never read any textbook on evolution which claims to have all the steps between the Big Bang and an Otter, I think it's somewhat silly to be talking about the Big Bang in terms of Evolution. To the best of my knowledge, there is no cosmological theory of Evolution, and I've yet to read a textbook on evolution which even mentions the Big Bang."
"But sir, don't you think that students should..."
"Tell you what, how about we start somewhere where Evolution and Intelligent Design actually have a common ground: say, the first appearance of life on earth."
He seemed a little flustered now, and I couldn't help but note that the blonde hadn't spoken since she asked if she could borrow a few minutes of my time, she was just standing there looking pious. "Well, Intelligent Design theory suggests that a supreme being (for some reason, throughout this conversation, he avoided actually mentioning God) created all life on earth approximately 6000 years ago and that life has been unchanged since that time."
"Okay, explain the scientific approach you used to develop this theory," I told him, "start with your falsifiable hypothesis, and move on from there."
"Well, we merely suggested an alternative explanation to the existing data..."
"Oh, so what predictions does Intelligent Design make about future observations?"
"Well, the whole point of a scientific theory is to make reasonable and evidence-supported predictions about what we will observe in the future. That's what makes science a continuous process. Each question we answer raises more questions. So what unanswered questions does Intelligent Design leave?"
"None. It's a complete system which explains everything."
"Then it's not a scientific theory."
"The whole point of a scientific theory is that it doesn't have all the answers; it's a jumping off point for people to add to or modify that theory. As such, the theory of evolution has been tested quite possibly more than any theory in scientific history."
"Well the Intelligent Design theory (and notably, he didn't stress the word this time) doesn't have that problem."
I shrugged, "it's not a problem. This is how science is done. We make observations about the world around us, we provide an hypothesis which explains those observations, then we perform experiments to determine if our hypothesis is supported by further data. So, by your own admission, you don't have a scientific theory here; the absolute best that you can claim is that you have a hypothesis, and considering that it requires the action of a Supreme Being, it may well not be falsifiable; which, by your own words, makes Intelligent Design theory unscientific; ergo, it has no place in a science course. When you have performed some kind of experimentation which supports that hypothesis, then I'll most definitely support a motion to permit the teaching of intelligent design in science class. Until then, I'm sorry, but no. If you want to have it taught in some kind of comparative religion class, on the other hand, that's a different matter."
"But sir," he held up a hand before I closed the door, "do you really want our children to be taught as fact that we descended from monkeys?"
"Apes. We descended from apes, not monkeys; and if you're going to lecture people on biology, you should at the very least know that distinction."
"But my point stands, sir. Do you want our children to learn that we descended from apes?"
"You prefer the idea that we descended from dirt?" I shrugged.
"So in addition to an ignorance of the scientific process, biology, and the theory of Evolution, you also lack an understanding of the book of Genesis; the very documentation you're offering as an alternative?"
"Thank you for your time. I'm hungry and I need to make dinner." I closed the door.
I stood there for a few minutes to see if they would knock again. They didn't.
I tell you, I was in the absolute best mood for the rest of the evening...
Now, that stated...I can't say I believe in God, but I don't think I can say I'm certain that He doesn't exist. My way of thinking tends towards the likelihood of more than one God, but I can't really define it any better than that. I just don't see how one being, no matter how powerful, intelligent, benevolent, or forgiving, being able to watch over things as much as the original article seems to state.
...Please don't flame me...